News items

Jonathan Butcher talks about George Hooper and his paintings on Croydon Radio!

Listen to a podcast

  • See photographs from Camelot taken at the Stag, Sevenoaks by Peter Marr.
  • Anyone interested in becoming a member of the Surrey Opera Chorus should contact the Company’s Chorus Administrator, Mark Edwards. If possible please include details of your singing/musical/stage experience.
  • We have added a page for reviews of Tosca, one of which said: "Give this Tosca an opera Oscar", to add to the photographs from Redhill taken by the wonderful Peter Marr.
  • All the "Past Productions" pages include a wonderful gallery of photographs.
  • There is now a Iernin reviews page.
  • Surrey Opera acknowledges with sadness the passing of our Patron Sir Colin Davis, but we are very proud to announce that Sir John Tomlinson, CBE, has agreed to become our new Patron. Sir John was, of course, Patron of the Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Festival last year, and we were honoured that he came to a performance of Thelma with his wife and friends.
  • Read Jonathan Butcher's speech at the unveiling of a new plaque commemorating Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (last December 30th).
  • We have now added a little gallery of photos (taken by Peter Marr) from our production of Thelma
  • See some photographs from the Minack theatre and a review of our recent production of Die Fledermaus in "The Cornishman".

New web site

Welcome to the new Surrey Opera web site. It isn't complete yet but, if you are looking for older information, you may well find it on our previous web site, built by Alan Vickers, or even on the one before.
See if you like the navigation, look at the Bartered Bride photo gallery. And come and see our performance of Iernin in October.
Please send comments to mailto:webmaster@surreyopera.org

Camelot

Music by Frederick Loewe   Libretto and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner
Based on "The Once and Future King" by T H White   Original first-class production staged by Moss Hart
Surrey Opera brings a brand new production of Lerner and Loewe's Camelot, their spectacular Tony award-winning take on the legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. Chivalry, romance, pageantry and treachery combine with one of the most glorious and memorable scores in the history of musical theatre – "If ever I would leave you", "Camelot" and "How to handle a woman". Surrey Opera's formidable forces bring high-class principals, chorus, orchestra and a production full of spectacle, passion and drama to make this an event not to be missed!
An amateur production by arrangement with Warner/Chappell Music Limited, administered by Boosey & Hawkes.
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Tosca reviews

Jenni Balow wrote: "This Tosca deserves an opera Oscar" in The Cornishman
Rob Barnett, in a review in the "Seen and heard" blog said: "All in all this was a success made the more so by the Atlantic backdrop and wheeling gulls".

Tosca

Puccini’s TOSCA was first performed at the Teatro Costanzi in Rome on 14th January 1890 and is arguably one of the top ten most popular operas of all time. Its drama and sheer musical lyricism are compelling – so much so that it has inspired countless leading opera singers to give thrilling and unforgettable performances, Maria Callas and Tito Gobbi to name just two.

Tosca, premiered at a time of unrest in Rome, had its first performance delayed for a day for fear of disturbances. But, despite this and indifferent reviews from the critics, the opera was an immediate success with the public and has remained so ever since. Its numerous popular arias are often heard outside of the opera house.

The power of Puccini’s score and the inventiveness of his orchestration are astonishing and the dramatic force of Tosca and its characters continues to fascinate both performers and audiences alike.

Surrey Opera, who have recently received much praise for their production of Cornish composer George Lloyd’s opera Iernin, will bring a new production of Tosca (sung in English) to Minack – possibly a perfect setting for this dramatic and gripping work! Jonathan Butcher directs and conducts.

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Opera Soiree 2014

Surrey Opera’s annual Opera Soirée will take place on Sunday 14th December 2014 at 7.30pm at Whitgift School's Concert Hall, entrance in Nottingham Road, South Croydon, CR2 6YT

JONATHAN BUTCHER’S SPEECH AT PLAQUE UNVEILING

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor lived here – at 6 St. Leonards Road, formally known as Aldwick, for the last few years of his all too short life. He and his family had apparently moved here from their previous home, Hillcrest, on the London Road in Norbury, because it was too noisy for his composing. Incidentally – it was at Hillcrest, now demolished, that SC-T composed Thelma, his only large-scale opera of which we, Surrey Opera, gave the World Première at the start of this, the Centenary year of his death.
It is said that Aldwick was C-T’s favourite house as it was quiet and, more or less, in the country. It’s hard to believe this now, but back then there was a good number of fields about including I suspect one immediately behind the house, where the Parish Church Junior School now stands.
There were no extra houses squeezed in here and there, in fact you were in the country. SC-T would take walks into the lanes around here, reading poetry and visiting the villages of Beddington and the like. Yes – rural Croydon.

Iernin

…and gradually one of the stones became a woman!

An Opera in Three Acts

Music by George Lloyd 1913–1998

Libretto by William A. C. Lloyd

Not staged since its première in 1934 and short London run in 1935, George Lloyd's Iernin tells the story of a maiden turned to stone by puritanical priests, only to reawaken hundreds of years later and ensnare the heart of a betrothed Cornish nobleman. This is set against the backdrop of a soon to be occupied Cornwall and the struggle of its leader and people to retain their independence from the Saxon overlords. It is a story about the defence of the weak and society's fear of change, but above all our fear of and fascination with the unknown. Written during the rise of German National Socialism and alongside the abdication of Edward VIII, the story also strikes some fortuitous chords with one of the most dramatic periods in British history, a period which would change George Lloyd's life forever.
Surrey Opera now brings a fully staged Centenary production of Iernin to Croydon, and then home to Cornwall, where it was conceived and first performed. Written when the Cornish composer was still in his teens, Iernin is based on a Celtic legend inspired by the Nine Maidens stone circle near Penzance. Lloyd’s music dramatically evokes the mystical world of Iernin as well as the very human struggle of love and loyalty versus desire. This new production will be performed using Lloyd’s original scoring.

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Die Fledermaus

Surrey Opera presented a brand new production of Johann Strauss’s famous operetta Die Fledermaus, with a contemporary twist devised by Director Alexander Hargreaves and English National Opera translation by Leonard Hancock and David Pountney.
Having enjoyed a hilarious round of mistaken identities, flirtations at a masked ball amidst a superbly decorative set designed by Jill Wilson, plus Strauss’s brilliant melodies performed by professional soloists and instrumental ensemble with the Surrey Opera Chorus conducted by Jonathan Butcher. You would have been sure of an evening/afternoon of pure entertainment, bubbling with sparkling comedy like the ever-flowing champagne!

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