Some sad news – Surrey Opera’s President, Ted Van Loock, died peacefully in his sleep on Sunday evening, 20th August, after being poorly for some time. He had reached the grand age of 95 and died at home, with his family around him, which is what he wanted.
We extend heartfelt sympathy to his widow, Sheila, and to all the family. Ted and Sheila were great friends of SO’s Founder, Joyce Hooper, and were very active Founder Members of the Company back in the nineteen seventies – Ted played a number of leading roles in the early days and had been our President for the last eleven years.
Ted, along with Ruth Lacey (our previous President), were very much ‘right hand men’ to Joyce in those early days of Surrey Opera and after Joyce stepped down Ted became Chairman for a while and, more latterly, our President. As mentioned he sang a number of Principal roles, most notably the title role in SO’s first Don Giovanni in 1973. This was a tremendous achievement for someone who had not studied at a music conservatoire and I’m sure Joyce and the Company, at the time, were immensely impressed and proud! Ted was First Armed Man in the 1970 inaugural Magic Flute.
Ted then went on to sing other major roles in several other Mozart operas, plus Fidelio, Carmen, etc. He then joined the Chorus on occasions, including Peter Grimes, and I have a very fond memory of my production of Sullivan’s The Zoo in 1986; when Ted told me that he hadn’t enjoyed himself so much in a production for a long time. I was most flattered!
Ted will be much missed, not only by Surrey Opera folk, but by all those with whom he came into contact over his long and productive life. He was a very positive and wise person, who made one smile, with an amusing anecdote or story. His advice, in a difficult situation, was always sound.
There are so many happy memories to treasure of someone of whom one can genuinely say – ‘it was a life well lived.’
Here is a Eulogy by one of his sons from his funeral.
He wrote a precis of his life (link here). And here is a PDF version to download.
Sense & Sensibility by Jeffrey Haddow and Neal Hampton
Our latest production was the UK Première of Sense & Sensibility: the Musical by Jeffrey Haddow and Neal Hampton, based on the book by Jane Austen, at The Harlequin Theatre, Redhill in the week ending Saturday, May 27th 2023. It was directed by our Artistic Director Jonathan Butcher and our Associate Artistic Director Christopher Cowell , who enjoys a worldwide opera directing career and previously directed Surrey Opera productions: The Flying Dutchman, Thelma, Die Fledermaus, Faust and Hansel & Gretel.
Here are a few photos from the production; no doubt we will soon receive more.
Here is a page celebrating our 50th Anniversary in the year 2020, many activities delayed because of Covid-19.
The much-delayed 50th Anniversary Opera Soirée took place on 3rd December 2022 at 7.30pm in Whitgift School Concert Hall.
The programme included music from five glorious decades of Surrey Opera productions, featuring many of our regular professional soloists, plus the Surrey Opera chorus and conducted by Jonathan Butcher – of course!
Our production of Don Giovanni by Mozart (postponed from 2020) took place at the Minack Theatre in Cornwall on 11th-15th July 2022, following performances in Croydon during June.
This dramatic, timeless story, first performed in 1787, is a black comedy for all ages. Ranging from farce to tragedy and set to Mozart’s magnificent music, with an English translation by the late and much missed Amanda Holden.
Mozart retells the Don Juan legend, portraying the Don himself as an anarchic force of nature, respecting nothing and nobody; the archetypical womaniser whose ‘love ’em and leave ’em’ philosophy challenges society’s norms. But, actions have consequences. Everyone’s favourite scoundrel leaves behind a trail of destruction and devastation, until Fate takes a hand and supernatural judgement intervenes.
It was directed by Leon Berger, designed by Jill Wilson and conducted by Jonathan Butcher.
See a gallery of photos from our Croydon production here .
Read a review by Jenni Balow in The Cornishman. .
Take a peek at the programme: download it here .
For further details, see the Don Giovanni web page .