Monday, 27 April 2015

English Touring Opera - This Week!

English Touring Opera
Exeter Northcott Theatre
(and local primary schools)
Tuesday 28 April - Saturday 2 May

"La Bohème"
Mimi: Ilona Domnich
(Italian with English Surtitles)
Exeter Northcott Theatre
Tuesday 28 April 7.30pm
Thursday 30 April 7.30pm
Friday 1 May 7.30pm
Conductor: Michael Rosewell
Director: James Conway
Rodolfo: David Butt Philip (Tenor)
Mimi: Ilona Domnich/Paula Sides (Soprano)
Marcello: Grant Doyle/Nicholas Lester (Baritone)
Musetta: Sky Ingram/Donna Bateman (Soprano)
Schaunard: Njabulo Madlala (Baritone)
Colline: Matthew Stiff (Baritone)
Benoit: Adam Player (Tenor)
Musetta: Sky Ingram
Marcello: Nicholas Lester
Alcindoro: Andrew Glover (Tenor)
Plus ETO are seeking 12 local children for each venue
For further details, apply to Talia Lash
(ETO Education & Community Coordinator)
020 7833 2555
Tickets: £19/£24/£30/£33
Box Office: 01392 493493
Online BookingTuesday/Thursday/Friday
(Italian with English Surtitles)
Exeter Northcott Theatre
"The Seige of Calais"
Aurelio: Helen Sherman
Eustachio: Craig Smith
Eleanora: Paula Sides
Wednesday 29 April 7.30pm
Conductor: Jeremy Silver
Director: James Conway
Eustachio de Saint-Pierre: Craig Smith (Baritone)
Eleanora de Saint-Pierre: Paula Sides (Soprano)
Aurelio: Catherine Carby/Helen Sherman (Mezzosoprano)
Edoardo III: Grant Doyle/Nicholas Merryweather (Baritone)
Pietro de Wisants: Matthew Stiff (Baritone)
Giovanni d'Aire: Andrew Glover/Matt R J Ward (Tenor)
Armando: Jan Capinski (Baritone)
Incognito: Peter Brathwaite (Baritone)
Tickets: £19/£24/£30/£33
Box Office: 01392 493493
Online BookingWednesday
Sally Silver
(Italian with English Surtitles)
Exeter Northcott Theatre
Conductor: Jeremy Silver
Director: Iqbal KhanFernando: Nicholas Sharratt (Tenor)
Eleanora: Sally Silver (Soprano)
Cardenio: Craig Smith (Baritone)
Bartolomeo: Njabulo Madlala (Baritone)
Marcella: Donna Bateman (Soprano)
Kaidama: Peter Brathwaite (Baritone)
Tickets: £19/£24/£30/£33
Box Office: 01392 493493
Online BookingSaturday
Exeter Northcott Theatre (?TBC):
Monday 27 April 12 noon
Tuesday 28 April 12 noon
Barley Lane School Exeter:
Wednesday 29 April 12 noon
Ladysmith School Exeter:
Thursday 30 April 12 noon
Newton Poppleford Primary:
Friday 1 May 12 noon
Exeter Northcott Theatre:
Saturday 2 May 12 noon
For further details, contact Talia Lash
(ETO Education & Community Coordinator)
020 7833 2555
"Icarus and Daedalus" for young people with special needs
Exeter Central Library (?TBC)
Monday 27 April - Saturday 2 May 12.00
Director (& Librettist): Tim Yealland
Musical Composition: Mark & Clive Ives
Singers: Guy ElliottKatie GrossetEmily Blanch
'Cello: Jonathan Kitchen
Animation: Babis Alexiadis
Dance: Ricardo Campos
For further details, contact Talia Lash
(ETO Education & Community Coordinator)
020 7833 2555

Clyst Valley Choral Society Andrew Carter "Benedicite" Felix Mendelssohn "Hymn of Praise" Holy Trinity Church Exmouth Sunday 20 April 2015

Myriam Prual
Janet Macdonald
Christopher Hunt

Holy Trinity Church
A small choir with a big sound - Clyst Valley Choral Society sang two rousing works praising the God of Christianity at Holy Trinity Church on Sunday 19 April. (The concert was a repeat of the previous evening's performance at St Margaret's Church, Topsham.)

The first half of the programme was Andrew Carter's "Benedicite". This choral setting of the words of the Christian Book of Common Prayer presents various elements of the physical world (and some of a hypothetical spirit world) recognising the Christian God as their creator and offering praise.

Plants, planets, placental mammals, precipitation, cetaceans, lepidoptera, anticyclones, disembodied souls, grandparents - and finally the whole Earth - are all exhorted to "Praise the Lord" in turn. The emphasis is clearly on religious instruction, but there is also a very evident sense of fun throughout the piece.

Paul Stock
Director of Music
Paul Stock's direction, and the choir's delivery emphasised the light-hearted frivolity of the piece. In a very effective piece of physical theatre, choir members held up toy animals just as they were named in the chorus. Not only was this highly amusing, it helped greatly in following the words - although this was almost unnecessary in view of the excellent diction of the choir members.

Despite only having twenty four members, the choir filled the large church with delightful sound - accompanied by a generous orchestra of local musicians. Violinist Sally Bull led, from the right hand side of Paul Stock's rostrum, with Chris Gould who also had his trumpet ready to provide its rousing sound as the occasion arose. Angela Blackwell and Nicola Smith provided second violin and viola, while Paul's wife Sue Stock played a very resonant and emotive 'cello part.

Matthew Jackson
South West Music School
St Margaret's Church Topsham
16 October 2013
The woodwind section was small but played a very significant rôle. Young musicians Mandy Fishleigh and Matthew Jackson played flute and oboe.

The clarinettist was none other than Phil Bonser - who had been in concert with Margaret Chave at Glenorchy only a few days before on Wednesday 15 April. (You can hear Mike Gluyas' recording of that concert on Soundart Radio's Classical Journey Redux by using MixCloud catch-up.)

Ben Lund-Conlon
playing percussion in a rare snapshot
Clyst Valley Choral Society
performance of John Rutter's "Requiem"
April 2012
Also essential to the sound, but sadly missing from the programme notes, was Ben Lund-Conlon whose tympani playing was impressive and his bass trombone fanfare - in duet with Sue Stock's 'cello - was utterly thrilling.

finally, from behind a pillar, Mark Perry added the pièce de résistance - a gently harmonious accompaniment on Holy Trinity's grand piano.

Three sensational soloists made up the complement. Tenor Chris Hunt - well known from his appearances with 'Opera Glass' - joined Opera Glass impressario, and soprano, Janet Macdonald, and French soprano Myriam Prual. All three were on top form and projected their voices magnificently whenever their turn came.

Janet Macdonald's home baked cakes
prove hard to resist
The sense of youthful ebullience continued in the interval, when 'drinks and refreshments' on the church mezzanine became a birthday celebration for one of the choirs long-standing supporters and organisers. Beautiful and delicious cup-cakes, decorated in the theme of Carter's "Benedicite", had been lovingly baked for the occasion by Janet Macdonald herself!

All these delights, both musical and culinary, were just the preamble to the big event of the evening.

Felix Mendelssohn: "Hymn of Praise"

This is the "Lobgesang" (Canticle) from Mendelssohn's Second Symphony.

H P Dicker's contribution to the music
The Holy Trinity organ, built in 1868
As the choir and orchestra resumed their places, Mark Perry had disappeared from view - to the upper gallery of the quire, at the organ console. The woodwind section were facing some serious competition from the church organ. (The organ is also the product of a local music-maker - H P Dicker built the organ at his works in James Street in Exeter in 1868. He lived just a stone's throw from the Phonic FM studios - in Gandy Street. The organ was rebuilt by a Leicestershire man, John Compton, in 1953.)

Less is more
Paul Stock weaves his magic with
Clyst Valley Choral Society Orchestra & Choir

With a peremptory blast from Ben Lund-Conlon's bass trombone and Chris Gould's trumpet, the opening fanfare led into the explosive opening chorus. The impressive way in which the choir commanded the audience's attention belied their small numbers.

Janet Macdonald & Myriam Prual
delightful soprano duets
The theme of praise soared to Himalayan heights as the hymn unfolded, giving way eventually to the gentle tones of Janet Macdonald's soprano solo from Psalm 150, "Everything that has breath praise the Lord", which instantly rekindled the spirit of Carter's "Benedicite".

Chris Hunt continued with an insistent exposition of Psalm 107, "Give thanks to him and praise his kindness." His tenor voice, increasing in maturity at each outing, held the audience captive with it's gentle forcefulness.

Chris Hunt &  Janet Macdonald
tenor & soprano sensation
Best of all were the duets. Janet Macdonald first sang Psalm 40 with Myriam Prual as a soprano duet, "Blessed is the man whose hope is the lord." Later Chris Hunt chimed in - "I sing your praises with my song forever!"

The swell and crash of voices swept the audience along in a celebration of devotion and worship through chorus, recitative and aria. Paul Stock had honed the dynamics of the small choir and orchestra to perfection, to get the maximum effect from each section of Mendelssohn's masterpiece, and to form a coherent and engaging whole.

The end was as sensational as the beginning, with a return to Psalm 150, and the exuberant closing chorus, with full orchestra, trombone and trumpet, and Mark Perry's resounding organ playing, completed this perfect musical experience in spectacular fashion:

"Everything that has breath praise the Lord, Hallelujah!"

Choir, orchestra & audience
show their appreciation for the soloists.
Posies for Janet Macdonald & Myriam Prual

Janet Macdonald, and Phil Bonser will be performing Shepherd on the Rock together again on the afternoon of Sunday 14 June at the Temple Methodist Church in Sidmouth, as part of Janet's classical ensemble, "Quorum". Their vocal and woodwind performance will be accompanied by a pianist with one of the safest pairs of hands in the business - Margaret Chave.

Further details to follow

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Phil Bonser & Margaret Chave Clarinet & Piano Duets Glenorchy Church Wednesday 15 April 2015 - Listen again on Sunday 19 April at 4pm

Phil Bonser &
Margaret Chave

Phil Bonser
The ante-penultimate lunchtime concert of this season of lunchtime concerts at Glenorchy United Reformed Church in Exmouth brought together two very talented Devon musicians. It is not often that either Phil Bonser or Margaret Chave are heard in concert, so it was a special occasion when they both played together on Wednesday.

Margaret has been Chairman of the Incorporated Society of Musicians, and regularly provides piano accompaniment for other musicians. Margaret and Phil are both members of Janet Macdonald's "Quorum" ensemble, which combines clarinet and operatic singing with piano accompaniment. Quorum have performed at Glenorchy several times, as well as other venues across Devon. (Their next concert will be at the Temple Methodist Church in Budleigh Salterton on Sunday 14 June this year.)

For Wednesday's concert, Margaret and Phil chose a selection of pieces with a vernal flavour to celebrate the coming of spring. Fortunately, it was a very spring-like day for their concert and the dappled light coming through the stained glass of the church windows matches the sunny mood of the music.

They opened with a "Piece en forme de Habanera" by Maurice Ravel. This was only four days after the orchestral 'Habanera' by Ravel (third movement of his "Rapsodie Espagnole") was played by the EMG Symphony Orchestra in their Organ Fund Concert at Exeter Cathedral. Margaret's introduction matched the sombre mood of the orchestral version, but gave way to an eloquent clarinet cadenza which went far beyond the orchestral version in variety and virtuosity.

Alec Templeton's "Bach goes to Town" straddled Ravel with influences of J S Bach and modern jazz. The piece opened with Phil's solo clarinet, later gently underpinned by Margaret's piano playing in perfect balance. A gentle and amusing dance.

Mozart's Clarinet Quintet required Margaret to do the work of two violinsts, a violist and a 'cellist, while Phil gave the clarinet part his special attention. For Phil this was not just a tour de force of clarinet technique, but also included extended passages of gentle sustained notes drawing the listener deeper and deeper into the musical mood of the piece.

In a sudden change they played music by William Lloyd Webber (father of Andrew and Julian). His "Air and Variations" allowed Phil to experiment with many clarinet styles in quick succession, varying from slow and languid to quick and snappy - with Margaret's accompaniment dancing along with him the whole way.

While we were on the subject of William Lloyd Webber, there was an opportunity to hear Margaret's solo piano playing, while Phil had a well-earned rest. (He was looking quite flushed after all his exertions.) "Gossamer" and "Willow Song" were the first and second of Lloyd Webbers "Three Spring Miniatures". (Time constraints meant we couldn't hear "Tree Tops".) The first was an ethereal evocation of fairies, while Willow Song was more in the style of a lament. Both were equally captivating.

The music composed by Paul Reade for the television programme "Victorian Kitchen Garden" has remained popular with clarinettists and audiences long after the programme itself faded into obscurity. Phil took the opportunity of a warm spring day and the relaxed informal atmosphere of Glenorchy to treat the audience to the whole suite, in four movements. The introduction was started slowly and gently by Phil. As Margaret joined in, the familiar theme took over with exciting runs and trills expertly performed by Phil. The second movement was short - a quickie - and very tricky. The third movement was slower and more deliberate. Finally Margaret took over the rhythm with a relentless tick-tock providing the framework for more clarinet exotica - and a cheeky conclusion.

Just for fun, Phil stayed with the gardening programme theme for another familiar piece. Jim Parker's music for Alan Titchmarsh's 'Ground Force' is exciting and energetic and was even more enjoyable without the distraction of television images. There was another opportunity to hear Margaret's solo piano playing in the interludes between Phil's flights of fancy.

Saving the very best until last, Margaret and Phil finished with a lively "Tarantella" by the romantic composer Heinrich Baermann. Ending the concert with another dance was very fitting, but this was very different from the Habanera. The reeling delerium of arachnid poisoning spirals into the frenzy of inchoate dance steps. The sudden unexpected collapse brought equally delirious applause from the audience - delirious with pleasure at the wonderful exposition they had just enjoyed.

There was just time for a quick encore, a minute's worth of Gershwin - "I got Rhythm"

Who could ask for anything more?

All of the music mentioned above can be heard on this Sunday's "Classical Journey Redux" on Soundart Radio (Sunday 19 April 3-6pm At 4pm we'll be listening to sparkling audio recordings, made at Wednesday's lunchtime performance - by Mike Gluyas.

Don't miss Phil and Margaret with 'Quorum' at Budleigh on 14 June.

Glenorchy Lunchtime Concerts continue for two more weeks. This week (Wednesday 23 April) the incomparable Beacon Piano Trio (Joyce Clarke, Anna Cockroft & Ruth Lass) return for another set of lively trios. At the final concert, we enjoy clarinet again as Betty Shipp (clarinet) and Christine Marsden (soprano) are accompanied on the piano by the one and only Frances Waters.

Although, after that, there are then no further lunchtime concerts at Glenorchy until September, the music continues. Audrey Williams and Rachel Wieck (violinist and violist with the EMG Symphony Orchestra) have organised more Wednesday lunchtime concerts until the the end of June, at St John's Church (Withycombe Raleigh) Exmouth.

All but the first week's performers are booked, and include Héloïse West (soprano), David Davies (piano & organ), Claude Lamon (trumpet) and some new faces - Judith Miller (piano), Jennie Battershill (soprano), John Humphries (baritone) and the Withycombe 14 Plus choir. There will also be a rare chance to hear Rachel Wieck playing solo viola (in a programme of viola and piano with Audrey Williams) on Wednesday 3 June.

As long as the sun shines, the music never ends.

Gypsy Jazz at the Globe Newtown Wednesday 8 April - warming up for the anniversary jazz night Wednesday 12 May and making live recordings for "Classical Journey Redux" Soundart Radio Sunday 19 April 2015

Esprit du Hot Club
Patrick Hughes at the inaugural
Gypsy Jazz Night at the Globe
Tuesday 20 May 2014

David Jones
It is almost a year since Rebecca Willson and David Jones were guests on Phonic FM's "Classical Journey" programme to talk about their new and exciting venture in Exeter. Building on the success of The Hot Club of Stonehouse, David had enlisted Rebecca to help start a series of "Gypsy Jazz Nights" to be held on the second Wednesday of each month. (Relive those heady days by linking to the radio interview, and first night review.)

Jake Slocombe
The large and varied group of musicians who joined the first session, and made it such a success, have continued to meet up at the Globe every second Wednesday. They have also been joined by a growing gang of jazz enthusiasts - all bringing their instruments, of course.

At the April meeting, building works at the Globe reduced the space available, also many musicians were unable to attend for various reasons. Soprano Margaret Aagesen Hughes and her husband Patrick Hughes (see photo above) were not with us this time, and their accordion and violin were sadly not part of the musical mix. Rebecca Willson herself was away on a teaching trip.

Chris Edmunds
However, there were still eight musicians packed into the small remaining space. Led by David Jones they put on a great evening of music for the regulars at the Globe - and recorded six stunning tracks for radio. They included the very appropriate "Anniversary Song" arranged by Al Jolson, and played by the Django Reinhardt's 'Quintette du Hot Club' in 1946.

Laurie Light
The Quintette du Hot Club de France was founded by by Django Reinhardt and Stéphane Grappelli in 1934, and operated until 1948. The other three members of the quintet (in its most memorable form) were Louis Vola (double bass), Roger Chaput and Joseph Reinhardt (rhythm guitars & percussion).

Thomas La Bouboutte
In the spirit of those exciting days, the octet at the Globe played pieces popular at the Hot Club, and even some composed by Django himself. The first few tracks were played by the septet of David Jones (leader & Favino guitar), Jake Slocombe (violin), Chris Edmunds (accordion) Markel (double bass), Thomas La Bouboutte, Julian Isaacs & Laurie Light (guitars). Soon they were joined by Marc Woodward (mandolin) to form an unorthodox octet.

Julian Isaacs
As the instrumentalists developed the rhythms and harmonies of each composition, each player would take a turn to play a scintillating solo interpretation of the song in question, with some startlingly beautiful results.

Marc Woodward
To hear this sensational music, and to gain a sense of the wonders that a jazz night can offer, tune in to 'Soundart Radio' this Sunday between 3pm and 6pm for "Classical Journey Redux". This month's programme will feature a requiem for 40 Commando by Peter Leech and the Collegium Singers ("For the Fallen"), and brand new recordings by clarinettist Phil Bonser and pianist Margaret Chave, plus more exciting classical creations by Devon artists.

The final hour (5-6pm) will be dedicated to the Django-inspired jazzists at the Globe and their glorious music:

"Dinah" by Harry Akst 1923
"The Sheik of Araby" by Ted Snyder & Harry Smith 1921
"Honeysuckle Rose" by Thomas ('Fats') Waller 1929
"Nuages" (Clouds) by Django Reinhardt 1940
"Limehouse Blues" by Philip Braham 1922
"Anniversary Song" arranged by Al Jolson 1946
(based on "Waves of the Danube" by Ion Ivanovici 1880)

The full schedule of Soundart Radio can be found at their website, which also has a link to listen to live streaming of programmes (or follow this link to listen to live streaming direct).

 " I don't care what momma don't allow . . . "
Jazz from the Globe
"Classical Journey Redux"
Soundart Radio
Sunday 19 April 3-6pm

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Substance and Shadow Theatre Company present their new stage production "Tribes & Tribulations" Blackmore Theatre Exmouth (Exmouth Festival) Two performances Saturday 23 and Thursday 28 May Cygnet Theatre (Festival@Cygnet) Monday 1 June Barnfield Theatre Exeter Friday/Saturday 12/13 June 2015

Substance & Shadow Theatre Company
Photography: Matt Austin Images     Make-up: Hannah Marshall

Midge Mullin
is "Crumb"
Substance & Shadow Theatre present:
Tribes & Tribulations

Festival season will be soon be upon us, which can mean only one thing… time to scrape the mud off your wellies and get your waterproofs on! Tribes & Tribulations takes you on a trip back to 1984, to a time before portaloos and pop-up tents when festivals were really free.

With sell out shows at the Exeter Ignite Festival (2013 – 2014) and From Devon With Love Festival (2013 - 2015) Substance and Shadow Theatre return with Tribes & Tribulations, a fast moving original play written by Midge and Rosie Mullin.

Substance & Shadow Theatre are delighted to be part of the forthcoming Exmouth Festival this May, which will be hosting theatre for the first time in its 19 year history! Substance and Shadow Theatre’s Co-Director, Rosie Mullin said,

“We are very excited to be part of such a vibrant and diverse Festival”.

Tribes & Tribulations will also be performed as part of the ‘Festival @ Cygnet’, Cygnet Theatre’s inaugural festival of drama to be held in June. Rosie invites you all to
“ . . . come along and experience a festival within a festival!”

Tribes and Tribulations is set against the bleak political landscape of Thatcher’s Britain and tells the story of four diverse characters, who momentarily escape the tribulations of their everyday lives and descend upon the anarchic, vibrant, multicultural madness of a free festival. In a muddy field in deepest, darkest Wales, the tribes are gathering to exercise their right to party and four individuals embark on a unique journey, each of them searching for personal resolution, with life changing results.

Remote Goat: “Substance & Shadows experimental approach to storytelling really pays off, the end result being a gripping evening which is both entertaining and thought provoking.”

Arts Award Magazine: “Rosie and Midge Mullin, have such a talent for capturing and evoking a sense of history and controversy.”

Blackmore Theatre
7 Bicton Street Exmouth
Venues & Dates:

The Blackmore Theatre
(as part of the 2015 Exmouth Festival)
Saturday 23 May & Thursday 28th May 8pm
Tickets: £5
Box Office: 01395 276681
Book Online: Ticket Source

Cygnet New Theatre
Friars Gate Exeter
Cygnet New Theatre
(as part of the first Cygnet Festival)
Monday 1 June 7pm
Tickets: £8
Box Office: Exeter Tourist Info 01392 665885
Booking Hotline: 01392 277189   
Book Online: WeGotTickets

Barnfield Theatre Barnfield Road Exeter
The Barnfield Theatre
(Clifford Room)
Friday 12 June & Saturday 13 June 8pm
Tickets:  £8
Box Office: 01392 270891
Barnfield Theatre: 01392 271808 (Mon-Fri 10-4)
Book Online: Barnfield Website

Wardrobe Theatre White Bear Hill Bristol
The Wardrobe Theatre
Friday 26 June 8pm
Tickets: £5
Box Office: 01179 020344 
Book Online: Wardrobe Website

Audience:  16+

Twitter: @SShadowTheatre
Facebook: Substance & Shadow Theatre