Thursday, 21 July 2011

Snapshots from Poltimore

A new face at the Poltimore Opera Gala
Soprano Mary O'Shea

While the 'Classical Journey' was in the capable hands of Musical Director Marion Wood, concerts continued apace in and around Exeter.

Most exciting - and most sadly missed - was this year's Poltimore Opera Gala on Friday 8th July.

Mary prepares in the delightfully dilapidated
entrance hall of Poltimore House
At the piano, Margaret Chave & Jenny Shepley

The extraordinary stately home at Poltimore, with its exciting Civil War history - and more recent incarnation as a surgical hospital during the Second World War, now lies in near ruins.

Through the extraordinary energy of operatic soprano Janet McDonald, the devastated, and ransacked, building is regularly brought back to life by her live opera concerts. Each concert not only breathes life into this historic building, but also raises money towards its total renovation - a fund which is currently very much on target!

Mary performs with the mighty bass voice
of Julian Rippon

Although we all long for the day when Poltimore is fully restored, now is the time to see it and really feel the history in the devastated interior. An Opera Gala is the perfect opportunity to explore the house, and the music charts its illustrious history.

Although there is no doubt that the latest Gala will have matched the wonder of last autumn's performance (and in somewhat balmier temperatures!) there is so far no news about the programme at the event. If you were there, do please let us know.

Julian is joined by Janet McDonald for
what appears to be a Noël Coward number!

Phonic FM and 'Classical Journey' regular, soprano Mary O' Shea, was performing alongside Janet McDonald, along with Tenor Chris Hunt (sorry for forgetting your name on air Chris!) and bass Julian Rippon.

Mary has very kindly sent in some snaps of the event, which convey the atmosphere beautifully. Some other familiar faces appear too. Jenny Shepley, who accompanied the 'Opera Singers in Concert' in the Clifford Room at the Barnfield on Friday 20th May, seems to have been providing the accompaniment again.

Another new voice at the Opera Gala
Mezzo Soprano Anneke Freeland
(Thank you Mary for letting us know about her!)

Anyone wanting to know more about the campaign to preserve and restore this outstanding historic Devon building - or to offer support - log on to

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