This year is Surrey Opera’s 50th Anniversary!
The above photo, of SO’s second ever production (in 1971) of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro shows, from left to right, Andrew Glass as Count Almaviva, Frank Pigeon as Antonio (the Gardener), William Hamilton as Figaro, Rosemary Brown/Camden as Susanna and Janette Holt (now Ives) as the Countess. Rosemary’s husband Leighton Camden directed the production. He went on to direct several more productions for the Company and he also sang several leading roles for us. He was an excellent lyric tenor.
Many years later Leighton returned to Surrey Opera and, graciously, joined the ranks of the Chorus. Most notably in The Yeoman of the Guard. Leighton knew his G & S and was always great value.
This photo was given to us by Frank Pigeon’s daughter, who kindly gave me Frank’s complete album of the productions in which he had performed. His wife, Rosemary, was also a singer and sung the role of 2nd Lady in The Magic Flute – SO’s first opera in 1970. Without Frank’s album we might not have any photographic record of those early years of Surrey Opera.
Russell Smythe – Papageno - and Janette Holt (now Ives) – Pamina - singing the Duet from The Magic Flute. Surrey Opera’s (then called the Surrey Opera Group) first production at the Market Hall, Redhill, June 1970
It’s not too late to get your 50th Anniversary Calendar? Only one month gone but, anyway, it’s much more of a momento than your average Calendar!
They are of a very high quality with a photo from every production over the last 50 years – plus more! “A really special keepsake for anyone who has performed with Surrey Opera." If you have sung in a SO production in the past, the chances are that you are featured somewhere on the Calendar.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org – to order your copy and request payment details. There are still a few left and we’d hate anyone to miss out.
Cost for the first calendar is £8 now and for subsequent copies £6 each.
Postage costs – 2nd Class £3.00 or 1st Class £3.55 – plus the envelope – at 30p.
Anniversary Soirée – looking back over 50 years of productions! Saturday 4th April 2020, 7.30pm at Whitgift School’s Concert Hall, featuring arias and choruses from 5 decades of S.O. productions! Anyone interested in joining the chorus please contact Mark Edwards . Rehearsals will be on Mondays at 7.30pm at Clyde Hall starting on 10th February.
In celebration of this significant milestone we will be performing Don Giovanni at St Mary Magdalene Church , 18 Canning Road, Croydon, CR0 6QD at 7.30pm on Friday, June 12th and Saturday, June 13th, together with a matinée at 2.30pm on the Saturday. We will also be taking the production to the Minack Theatre in Cornwall for the week July 13th to 17th.
Our Anniversary Dinner will be on Thursday 18th June, 2020.
In the last week of November the Company will be staging the World Première of David Hackbridge Johnson’s dramatic new opera Madeleine, based on the true story of Madeleine Hamilton Smith with a libretto sourced and written by Surrey Opera’s Artistic Director Jonathan Butcher.