The Kennet Opera web site is at www.kennetopera.co.uk. Twitter: @KennetOpera
The Marriage of Figaro, 2nd to 4th November
Kennet Opera return to the Arlington Arts stage in another wonderful comedy, following last year’s hilarious Cinderella. In this production of Mozart’s upstairs/downstairs classic, Downton Abbey meets Aldwych farce, as Figaro, the butler, attempts to get married to his sweetheart Suzanna before the count can get his lascivious hands on her. His increasingly desperate stratagems to preserve his fiancée’s honour lead to multiple mistaken identities, cross-dressing, long-lost parents, secret assignations, locked doors, and much hiding in cupboards and jumping out of windows, before the situation is, of course, resolved to the satisfaction of all parties. And all sung (in English), with the Kennet Opera orchestra, to Mozart’s scintillating score.
Arlington Arts, Newbury.
Review of 1791: Mozart's last year
5th April 2017 and other dates on tour
Review from the Newbury Weekly News.
Cream tea with Mozart
An entertaining afternoon in the company of Kennet Opera
Kennet Opera: 1791 Mozart's Last Year, at the United Reformed Church, Hungerford, on Saturday, July 15
Some 50 of us gathered in the United Reformed Church last Saturday tea-time for a "celebration in song and words" of Mozart's final year. Compere for the evening was East End resident Don Crerar, who, in the guise of Emanuel Schikaneder 20 years after Mozart's death, offered reminiscences about his late friend and collaborator. Actor, singer, playwright, impresario and pivotal character in Vienna's stage life, Schikaneder had known Mozart for some 15 years before commissioning him to write the Magic Flute, in which he himself was the first Papageno.
Decked in housecoat and breeches, with wig and make-up at the ready 'Schikaneder' was just preparing to go on stage, when his discovery of us all in his dressing room, unleashed a series of highly-informative, at times almost Proustian apercus, which quite by chance included just about every important event of the composer's last year.
Crerar devised his own text for the show and both the writing and performance were a veritable tour de force, worthy of any front-rank festival or venue – and this on Hungerford High Street.
As part of his warm-up, Schikaneder amused us by gargling with a glass of port, taking some snuff (atchooo!) and with some hilarious pre-show stretching exercises. Crerar deftly wove his compelling collection of anecdotes into a seamless, engaging narrative, the craft of the master raconteur hovering invisibly nearby by at all times.
And every time a piece of music was mentioned, the choir of Kennet Opera, under their energetic music director Benjamin Hamilton swung into action with excerpts from the Requiem and Magic Flute, La Clemenza di Tito and Don Giovanni. Soloists from the choir acquitted themselves well in this music, whose simple lines are notoriously difficult to sing.
The 'orchestra' was provided with great sensitivity by the ever-attentive Christine Evans at the piano. A delicious cream tea in the interval was, please forgive a dreadful pun, the icing on the cake.
Those of you unfortunate enough to miss this entertaining afternoon can catch it at StockFest on August 17, and the company will present their fully-staged The Marriage of Figaro with orchestra at Arlington Arts in November.
1791: Mozart's last year, summer 2017
La Cenerentola, 9th to 12th November 2016. See the review in the archive.
Summer Concert, 25th August 2016 at Sutton Hall, Church Road, Stockcross
Summer Concert, 2nd July 2016 at St Lawrence's Church, Hungerford
Opera Gala, 18th June 2016
La Traviata, 5th to 7th November 2015
An Evening with Kennet Opera, 26th August 2015 at St John's Church, Stockcross
The Wonderful World of Opera, 4th July 2015
A Night at the Opera, 23rd May 2015
Nabucco, 13th to 15th November 2014. See the review in the archive.
Delight in Singing, 5th July 2014 at St Lawrence's Church, Hungerford
La Bohème, 14th to 16th November 2013. See the review in the archive.
Spring Sing, 5th July and 10th August 2013
Macbeth, 15th to 17th November 2012. See the review in the archive.
Die Fledermaus, 17th to 19th November 2011. See the review in the Archive.
Open Air Concert, 23rd July 2010 at Hungerford Rugby Club
The Elixir of Love, 24th to 26th June 2010. See the review in the Archive.
Carmen, 5th to 7th November 2009.
The Magic Flute, 13th to 15th November 2008. See the review in the Archive.
Faust, 8th to 10th November 2007.
Sweeney Todd, 8th to 11th November 2006. See the review in the Archive.
Eugene Onegin, 10th to 12th November 2005. See the review in the Archive.
The Pearl Fishers, 11th to 13th November 2004. See the review in the Archive.
The Elixir of Love, 11th to 15th November 2003. See the review in the Archive.
La Traviata, 12th, 13th, 15th and 16th November 2002.
Cavalleria Rusticana & I Pagliacci, 13th and 15th to 17th November 2001. See the review in the Archive.
The Marriage of Figaro, 2000
A Masked Ball, 1998
La Boheme, 1997
La Traviata, 1996
Carmen (abridged version), 1995
Cosi fan Tutte, 1994