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Autumn Recital Series

October 16th – Anna Sideris, soprano

23rd – Lucy Matheson, soprano

30th – Genevieve Dawson, jazz alto

November 6th – James Potter, counter-tenor

13th – Elizabeth Burrowes, soprano

20th – Sam Glatman, bass

27th – Sarah Jenks, soprano

December 4th – Matthew Silverman, baritone

Erismena

Francesco Cavalli

7 (Preview), 9, 10, 11, 13, 14, 16, 17, 18 July 2010

Also, 24 and 25 July 2010 at West Green House

For bookings please use the numbers below. For the 7th and 13th please download the forms.

Wednesday 7 – New Chamber Opera – Download form

Fridays 9 & 16 – New College Development Office – (01865) 279 337

Saturday 10 – Friends of the Bodleian Library – (01865) 277 234

Sunday 11 – The Art Fund – (01491) 641 259

Tuesday 13 – New Chamber Opera – Download form

Wednesday 14 – Friends of the Oxford Botanic Garden – (01844) 214 468

Saturday 17 & Sunday 18 – Friends of the Welsh National Opera – (01865) 865 806

Summer Recital Series

May 1st – Nick Daly, Baritone

May 8th – Cathy Bell, Mezzo-Soprano

May 15th – Alexandra Coghlan, Soprano and Rory McCleery, Counter-Tenor

May 22nd – Nick Hewlett, Tenor

May 29th – George Coltart, Bass

June 5th – Paola Cuffolo, Soprano

June 12th – Oxford University Gilbert and Sullivan Society

June 19th – Will Blake, Tenor

Il mondo alla roversa; or the world topsy-turvy with women in charge

New College Warden’s Garden

8, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 17, 18, and 19 July 2009

Cast List

Aurora – Merryn Gamba
Cintia – Rachel Lindop
Ferromonte – Tom Raskin
Giacinto – Giles Davies
Graziosino – Allan Smith
Rinaldino – Rachel Shannon
Tulia – Kate Semmens

Musical Director: Steven Devine
Director: Michael Burden

For tickets for the following dates, please click to download the order form.

Wednesday 8th July (Preview)
Saturday 11th July
Tuesday 14th July

For other dates please contact:

Fridays 10 & 17
New College Development Office
(01865) 279 337

Sunday 12
The Art Fund
(01491) 641 259

Wednesday 15
Friends of the Oxford Botanic Garden
(01844) 214 468

Saturday 18 & Sunday 19
Friends of the Welsh National Opera
(01865) 865 806

Synopsis:
Il mondo alla roversa is set on an island in the Antipodes, which is governed by a Council of Women. The cast divides into naturally into two groups; the three powerful women who sit on the Council, and their three spineless lovers. The women are worried the men, being physically stronger, will over overpower them; unbeknowest to the women, the men are quite happy in their state of subjection! The women begin to have doubts about this method of governance, and indulge in some constitutional fiddling; they decide to move to a more monarchical system, only to retreat in disarray, when it become clear that none of them will agree to be the subject on any of the others. Enter Ferromonte; he is unwilling to subject himself to the chains of love, and spearheads a plot overturn female rule. The result? All the characters agree that ‘women in command make for a topsy-turvy world’. Needless to say, the plot is complicated by the relationship of the women to their lovers, baroque in style as well as in period!

Il mondo alla roversa premiered in Venice in 1750. The story is by the great Venetian playwright, Carlo Goldoni, and the score by Baldassare Galuppi; they have been credited with ‘inventing’ opera buffa. From the late 1730s, Goldoni worked at ‘reforming’ Italian comedy; his first major play was the 1738 L’uomo di mondo. By 1743, he had perfected his own style of playwriting, one that combined commedia dell’arte elements with direct, sincere dialogue, and middle-class realities; his opera texts called for a smaller amount of dialogue, and a correspondingly increase in the size and number of the musical set pieces. He and Galuppi began working together in 1748, and together they produced more than 20 comic operas, including two of the most successful 18th century comedies, Il filosofo di campagna and La buona figliuola. Il mondo alla roversa was among the more successful products of this partnership, and survives in more manuscript copies than any of his other operas.

Orfeo – Gluck

26, 27 and 28 February 2009, 8.30pm
New College Ante-Chapel

Tickets from the Oxford Playhouse 01865 305 305 and on the door

Orfeo: Joe Bolger
Euridice: Anna Sideris
Amor: Robyn Parton

Musical Director: Nicholas Pritchard
Chorus Director: Nicholas Daly
Producer: Michael Burden

New Chamber Opera will be performing the work in the English translation by Walter Ducloux published by G. Schirmer, Inc. The performance will use the Ducloux version, further arranged for Studio performance.

Plot Summary:
Orfeo laments the death of his wife Euridice as he is joined by a group of shepherds and nymphs who mourn her death in a sombre chorus. After sending them away, he fumes about the cruelty of the gods, resolving to bring her back from the underworld. The God of Love Amor appears, revealing that he can reclaim his wife from Hades on the condition that he must neither look at her not explain his bizarre behaviour until they have returned to Earth. Upon his descent to the underworld, Orfeo is stopped by the Furies but appeases them with his singing accompanied by his lyre. Moved, they allow him to enter the enchanting Elysian Fields where he pleads to the Blessed Spirits to bring Euridice to him and they grant his wish. Orfeo leads Euridice away hurriedly without looking at her, instilling fear in Euridice that he no longer loves her as he refuses to explain himself. Unable to bear her sorrowful pleas, Orfeo turns to look at her and she dies immediately. A grief-stricken Orfeo is about to take his life when Amor interrupts and brings Euridice back to life in reward for his unwavering faithfulness. The lovers are reunited, and the power of love is celebrated by all.
Historical Notes:
Orfeo ed Euridice, an opera in three acts composed by Christoph Willibald Gluck, was originally set to an Italian libretto by Ranieri de’ Calzabigi and was first performed in Vienna 1762. Based on a Thracian myth, this opera can be categorised under azionie teatrale – Italian for ‘theatrical action/plot’ – and is the first of Gluck’s three reform operas. Both Gluck and Calzabigi were influenced by the French tragédie en musique and the reformist ideas of Francesco Algarotti, and thus set out to reform the elaborate Italian opera seria with ‘noble simplicity’, and with a stronger emphasis on drama instead of music, dance or setting. This reformist approach is reflected in the absence of the common features of opera seria such as da capo arias, secco recitatives accompanied by the continuo only, the rigid structure of alternating recitatives and arias, and a complex plot with sub-plots. While there is a more varied and flexible use of recitatives coupled with self-contained arias to drive a simplified plot, the chorus and the orchestra assume a much more significant role than before in Italian opera. Orfeo ed Euridice has undergone numerous revisions, including a 1774 French version by Gluck, and a 1859 hybrid version by Berlioz which is perhaps most widely-known and performed today, but NCO will present the original Italian version – the milestone in the history of opera.

Jasmine Chin

Updated: Erismena Appeal

The Bodleian Library has succeeded in its campaign to save Erismena, the earliest surviving score of an opera in the English language.

During recent research, Dr Harry Johnstone, retired Reader in the Music Faculty and Emeritus Fellow of St Anne’s, discovered that Erismena was sold in 1797 at the auction of the library of William and Philip Hayes, who had been successive Heather Professors of Music at the University of Oxford. The acquisition makes it possible for the music manuscript to return home to Oxford.

Written by Pietro Francesco Cavalli (1602-1676), the leading Italian opera composer of the mid-17th century, Erismena dates from the 1670s, 30 years before any other Italian operas were known to have been performed in Britain. The manuscript now enriches the Bodleian Library’s outstanding music collection and is an important addition to the Library’s existing holdings of English 17th- and 18th-century opera and theatre music.

The score has been part of a private collection and has been studied by only a small number of scholars in the past 50 years. It is one of the most significant British 17th-century music manuscripts to have appeared in recent decades.

A public appeal to raise £85,000 needed to acquire this unique manuscript was launched last November. The acquisition has been made possible thanks to the generous donations offered by the members of the general public and grants given by the V & A Purchase Grant Fund, the Friends of the Bodleian, the Friends of the National Libraries, New Chamber Opera and Esmee Fairbairn Foundation.

Richard Ovenden, Keeper of Special Collections and Associate Director, Bodleian Library, said: ‘The Bodleian Library thanks all the members of the general public and the organizations whose donations made it possible for Erismena to be saved for the nation. The acquisition makes it possible for us to conserve this unique and significant manuscript for the benefit of generations to come.’

Winter Recital Series

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

January

23rd – Lauren Bensted – jazz alto
30th – Aileen Thomson – soprano

February

6th – Robyn Allegra Parton – soprano & Charlotte Denham – mezzo
13th – Jonathan Darbourne – counter-tenor
20th – Tom Bennett – bass
27th – Jon Stainsby – baritone

March

6th – Dom Burnham – counter-tenor
13th – Max Jones – baritone

Lunchtime Vocal Recitals

1.15pm

New College Ante-chapel

£2/£1 concessions – All tickets on the door

October

17 Alexander Pullinger – counter-tenor
24 Anna Sideris – soprano
31 Nicholas Pritchard – tenor

November

7 Bronwen Mills – soprano
14 Roya Zia – soprano
21 Richard Poyser – counter-tenor
28 Robyn Parton – soprano

December

5 Henry Jones – counter-tenor

Elephant

14th, 15th November 2008
8:30pm, New College Ante-Chapel
£10/£5 Concessions
Bookings: Oxford Playhouse 01865 305305

Don’t go down the Elephant after midnight
An opera about death and taxis.

Written by Andrew Gant

Cast: Patricia Rozario (soprano)

Patricia Rozario - Credit: Alexandra
Patricia Rozario - Credit: Alexandra

New Chamber Opera
Conductor: John Traill
Director: Michael Burden

Genesis – In 2002 Patricia Rozario sang the soprano solo in “The Vision of Piers plowman”, Andrew’s oratorio, with the Philharmonia Orchestra. Shortly afterwards she was asked by Tom Morris, now at the National Theatre, to nominate a composer to collaborate on a one-woamn show. Six years later the meter’s on, and cab is ready to depart

Synopsis –

Pat is a taxi driver with an obsession: Mozart. The Marriage of Figaro is her constant companion in the cab, and Susanna and the rest of the characters are her friends and familiars. She sings along, shouts at them, joins in with their music, adds her own take on it. She cajoles them, bullies them, argues with them. Their dramas become more and more vivid in her mind, more real than the reality of road-rage on the Embankment. Occasionally she’ll pick up a fare, but only if they like Mozart, and only if their destination fits with the shape of her day, her journey, her destination. The “real” world of bus-lanes and BMWs becomes increasingly blurred with the Mozartian world in her head. This is an opera about how we “use” music. What is it for? Why do we need it to fill the silence? What is left when the music stops? As Pat says, “let’s have a little night-music, Susanna, because if we take away the music, all that’s left is the night.” It’s a drama about journeys, maps, the patterns we make to fill up the blank pages, and about what is left to show we’ve been here at all when the journey ends.

An eclectic sound-world recreates the strange, surreal mixture in Pat’s head. Mozart plays on the stereo. The “real” world is heard in the form of new music, sometimes super-imposed on the recorded Mozart, sometimes free-standing. The sonic paraphernalia of modern life plays a part in this sound-world too: car-horns, ring-tones, sat-navs, police-cars. This is a portrait in sound of an increasingly disturbing drive through contemporary London, with the inevitable result at the lights in St. Martin’s Lane.

Come drive with me. Share my journey. But be careful- Pat might know better than you where you will end up….

The Fall of the House of Usher

30, 31 January, 1 February 2008
8.30pm
New College Ante-chapel

The story of Philip Glass’s opera The Fall of the House of Usher is based on the Poe ghost story of the same name by Arthur Yorinks. It was commissioned by the American Repertory Theater, Cambridge, MA and the Kentucky Opera and premiered in 1988. As with much Gothic fiction, the extent to which the audience should believe what they’re watching and the extent to which the story is in their own immaginations is left vague. The central character, Rodderick has hyperesthesia (extreme hypersensitivity to light, sounds, smells, and tastes); the plot turns on Rodderick’s death from shock at the reappearance of his ‘dead’ (and perhaps murdered) sister. As one commentator has remarked: ‘Poe hints at much, but states hardly anything at all’.

Conductor: Christopher Borrett; Director: Michael Burden

Roderick: Tom Raskin; William: Steffan Jones; Madelaine: Robyn Parton; Servant: Maxim Jones; Physician: Stefan Hargreaves

Tickets: £10 (£5) from Oxford Playhouse
+44 1865 305305
or on the door