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Hilary 2018 Recitals

New College Ante-chapel
1.15pm, £2/£1 concessions

9 Laura Coppinger, Soprano

16 Alexander Gebhard, Tenor

23 Filippo Turkeimer, Baritone

2 Stephanie Franklin, Soprano

9 Lewis Hammond, Countertenor

The Rake’s Progress

New Chamber Opera Studio
Igor Stravinsky
The Rake’s Progress

14 & 15 February 2018
Sheldonian Theatre


or on the door

Conductor – Chloe Rooke
Repetiteur – Anhad Arora
Chorus director - Joseph Beesley
Director – Michael Burden


Anne Trulove – Emily Gibson
Tom Rakewell – Maximilian Lawrie
Nick Shadow – Patrick Keefe
Father Trulove – Tom Lowen
Baba the Turk – Carrie Thomson
Keeper of the Madhouse – Josh Newman

Stravinsky’s neo-classical opera The Rake’s Progress tells the story of Tom Rakewell, who, at the behest of Nick Shadow (the Devil), abandons his intended, Anne Trulove, for the dubious delights of the city. Shadow leads him into a variety of scrapes, including a scheme to turn stones into bread, a visit to a brothel, and marriage to a bearded lady. He ends up in Bedlam, the Devil having stolen his reason. The Moral? ‘For idle hearts and hands and minds the Devil finds work to do.’ The tale, loosely based on William Hogarth’s series of pictures, is by W. H. Auden and Chester Kallman.

Michaelmas 2017 Recitals

New College Ante-chapel
1.15pm, £2/£1 concessions

October 27th
Opening recital
Victoria Armillotta (soprano)
Iryna Ilnytska (mezzo soprano)

November 3rd
James Fairchild (tenor)

November 10th
Wendy Jones (mezzo-soprano)

November 17th
Carrie Thompson (soprano)

November 24th
Frances Bell-Davies (soprano)

December 1
Alexander Gebhard (tenor)

Acis and Galatea

G F Handel
Acis and Galatea
Acis, Galtea, Polyphemus

Conductor: Chloe Rooke

23 & 25 November 2017
New College Ante-Chapel

£15/£7 concessions
on the door and from

One writer on Handel’s Acis and Galatea has commented: ‘It is not clear whether the original performance was staged, semi-staged, or performed as a concert work.’ And therein lies differences in terminology and staging which dogged the work throughout the 18th century. The first term applied to it was ‘masque’, a form in which dance was usually a decisive element. Then it was described as an ‘opera’, implying a filly costume staging of the piece. Next up was the label ‘serenata’, a performance that was advertised as being in costume, but with no movement on the stage. Lastly, it was called an ‘oratorio’, suggesting performances with no costumes and no staging, although it was too short for an evening’s performance and had other works on the theatrical bill to make up a ‘Part III’. New Chamber Opera has performed Acis and Galatea in the past as an oratorio; in November, we will be performing it in a new staging, exploring as aspects of the drama.

The work was written by Handel when he was living at Cannons Park, the home of the Duke of Chandos, during 1717-1718. It traces its origins to the series of pastoral masques set by Johann Pepusch in the second decade of the 18th century, and to the work of the poet John Hughes. The text is attributed to John Gay, and based on Book XIII of Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Acis and Galatea are in love; the monster Polyphemus loves Galatea and kills Acis out of jealousy; Galatea assuages her grief by turning Acis into a river spirit as immortal as herself.

Visiting Professor of Opera 2017-18 – Stephen Langridge

The University’s Visiting Professor of Opera, 2017-18

Admission is free, but please book via

26 October 2017
Stephen Langridge in conversation: “Why play opera at all?”
5:00-6:45pm; T. S. Eliot Lecture Theatre

27 & 30 October 2017
Making Opera

27 October 2017
Singers’ workshop
10.00-1.00pm; Long Room, New College
New creations
2.00-5.00pm: Long Room, New College

30 October 2017
Working with the New
10.00-1.00pm: Long Room, New College
Performing the New
2.00-5.00pm: Long Room, New College

Stephen Langridge is Artistic Director (Opera/Drama) of GöteborgsOperan, the Gothenburg Opera. Having studied Drama at Exeter University, Stephen then spent several years working as assistant director, mostly with the cutting edge company, Opera Factory, but also at Covent Garden, Opera North and Scottish Opera. His own practice developed through a mixture of small-scale tours of cut-down classics with Pimlico Opera, practical laboratories for composers and librettists, and devised music theatre projects, often in unconventional spaces with unconventional people. Underlying all his work is the belief that music theatre is a natural and dynamic form of human expression, to which everybody should have access, both as a creative participant and as an audience.

Stephen is well known for his education, development, and training work (projects in France, Spain, Germany, Finland, Holland, Sweden, Senegal, South Africa, and throughout the UK), and for his theatre work in unusual settings, including West Side Story (Bernstein) and Julius Caesar (Shakespeare) with large casts of prisoners in various British high security prisons, and Ngoma, a multi-racial music and theatre project in South African townships.

Although his directing work is now often on a larger scale – including productions at many of the world’s leading opera houses – Stephen continues to work off piste incorporating smaller scale experimental and developmental projects as an essential part of his working life.

The Choice of Hercules

Poussin, Nicolas; The Choice of Hercules; National Trust, Stourhead;

George Frederick Handel

Conductor: Chloe Rooke

New College Chapel
7 June 2017
Tickets £10/£5 from TicketSource
Or on the door

First performed in 1750, Handel’s The Choice of Hercules deals with a choice offered to the god Hercules, a choice between the paths of pleasure and virtue. The two women offer various arguments to Hercules, which culminates in the trio ‘Where shall I go’? In the end, Hercules chooses Virtue. Similar stories of choice were set in England throughout the 18th century, most notably The Judgement of Paris; Handel’s text, probably by Thomas Morell, comes from Robert Lowth’s 1743 poem of the same title.

Trinity 2017 Recitals

New College Ante-chapel
1.15pm, £2/£1 concessions

April 28
Rory Green (Bass)

May 5
Alistair Walker (Tenor)

May 12
Sofia Kirwan-Baez (Soprano)

May 19
Charlotte Pawley (Soprano)

May 26
Lila Chrisp (Mezzo-Soprano)

June 2
Liam Connery (Tenor)

June 9
Caleb Bester (Bass)

June 16
George Robarts (Baritone)

The Barber of Seville

Giovanni Paisiello

sung in an English translation by Gilly French and Jeremy Grey

Conductor – Steven Devine; Director – Michael Burden

Read a review of the production here.

5 (Preview), 8, 11, 12, 14, 15 July 2017
The Warden’s Garden, New College

The Evening’s Events
6.00pm: Drink in the Cloisters
6.30pm: Opera Part I, The Warden’s Garden
Picnic Interval in the Cloisters (approximately 90 minutes)
9.15pm: Opera Part II, The Warden’s Garden
10.15pm: Curtain


5 & 11
8 & 14 Old Members and Friends of New College (01865) 279509 (open to general public from one week prior)
11 OXPIP (01865) 778 043
12 Friends of Oxford Botanic Gardens (07722) 605 787
15 Friends of WNO (01865) 408 045

The story of The Barber of Seville, best known to modern audiences through Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia, had a number of previous settings, the most popular of which was by Giovanni Paisiello (1740 – 1816). The libretto comes straight from Beaumarchais, and is by the prolific (and capable) poet, Giuseppe Petrosellini. The opera was performed on 26 September 1782 at the Imperial Court in St Petersburg, and had lasting success; even after the premiere of Rossini’s version, Paisiello’s setting continued to be performed for some years afterward. Paisiello studied at the Conservatorio di S. Onoforio in Naples, originally as a singer. His years there were very successful, and he eventually became the composer for the Conservatorio’s theatre. His works there were mainly intermezzos, but they won him operatic commissions for Bologna and Rome, and when he departed the Conservatorio in 1763, he was in a position to launch a successful career. In 1776 Paisiello was invited by Catherine the Great, Empress of Russia, and it was there that The Barber of Seville was conceived.

Cast List

Count Almaviva
Joseph Doody

Kate Semmens

Giles Underwood

Trevor Eliot Bowes

Don Basilio
Tom Kennedy

Alexander Gebhard

George Robarts

Stravinsky’s Renard and Walton’s The Bear

Igor Stravinsky
Renard; an Histoire burlesque

Tenor 1: William Rowland
Tenor 2: Alexander Gebhard
Baritone 1: Eunseog Lee
Baritone 2: Frederick Crowley

William Walton
The Bear; an Extravaganza

Madam Popova: Johanna Harrison
The Bear: Daniel Tate
Luka: Frederick Crowley

Conductor: Chloe Rooke
Director: Michael Burden

9 & 10 March 2017 8.30pm
New College Ante-Chapel
Tickets £12/£7 from
Or on the door

William Walton’s The Bear and Igor Stravinsky’s Renard, have more in common than it might appear for, both are based on Russian tales: Walton’s ‘Extravaganza’ uses Chekhov’s play of the same name as its source, while Stravinsky’s ‘Histoire burlesque’ was based by the composer on Russian folk tales from a collection by Alexander Afanasyev. The full title of Renard can be translated as The fable of the Vixen, the Cock the Cat and the Ram, which is a vicious moralizing tale, satirising both religion and the Church. The Cock is caught twice by the Fox, and is twice rescued by the Cat and the Ram; after the second rescue, the Cat and Ram kill the Fox. The Bear is a more light- hearted piece, and tells the story of Popova, who has been recently widowed. However, her attempts to remain faithful to her husband receive a blow as it emerges that Popov was promiscuous and unfaithful. One of her husband’ creditors, Smirnov, arrives; he is boorish and crass (the Bear), but Popova falls in love with him, and the opera ends with Luka, the servant looking aghast at the turn of events. The Bear, a Koussevitzky commission, premiered at Jubilee Hall, Aldeburgh, on 3 June 1967; Renard was commissioned by Princesse Edmond de Polignac and was first performed in Paris on 18 May 1922, by the Ballets Russes.

Visiting Professor of Opera 2017 – Katie Mitchell

Photo by Lucy Rybin

Friday 27 January @ 5 pm in the T.S Eliot Lecture Theatre, Merton College (to be followed by a drinks reception in the foyer)

Woman. Alone:  Directing opera now.

Katie Mitchell is one of the few senior women working in opera in Britain and mainland Europe today.  She has worked here at English National Opera, The Royal Opera House, Glyndebourne Festival and Welsh National Opera. She is currently opening the revival of George Benjamin’s Written on Skin at the Royal Opera House whilst preparing for George Benjamin’s second commission scheduled for 2018. She has also worked extensively in Germany, France, Austria and Scandinavia at houses like The Staatsoper, Berlin, The Salzburg Festival and Royal Danish Opera.  She is currently a resident artist at The Aix en Provence Festival where she has directed five operas including Pelleas and Melisande and Handel’s Alcina.  IN her first ‘Conversation’, she will describe her background in theatre and how she fell into opera to become one of its leading international lights.

Entry is free, but booking is advised:

Saturday 28 January @ 9.30 am in the Ante-Chapel, New College

Acting Handel:  How to bring the da capo aria to life on stage.

Katie Mitchell will draw on her recent experience of directing Handel’s Alcina at the Aix en Provence Festival to run a workshop giving insights into how to make the da capo aria work dramatically.  These arias are notoriously difficult for opera singers to perform on stage and the workshop will be offer acting ideas and concrete tips to help the young singer navigate this tricky form.  The workshop will take the form of a ‘masterclass’ where young singers are directed live by Katie in front of the audience.  There will also be opportunities for some audience participation.  Footage of the original production of Alcina will also be seen as part of the workshop.

Entry is free, but booking is advised: