Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper

Magic Flute at St Mary in the Castle

On Saturday September 8 at 7:30pm an exhilarating fully-staged performance of Mozart’s masterpiece The Magic Flute is being performed at St Mary in the Castle, writes HOT’s Chris Cormack.

St. Mary in the Castle is being specially opened for this event, which is produced as a joint venture by local resident Jenny Miller’s ‘Complete Singer’ and Longborough Festival Opera.

Queen of the Night by Hannah Whitham

Jenny set up ‘The Complete Singer’ as a way of giving advanced singing students extra tuition to enhance and complement their technical training through summer courses and intensive weekends. It was born ten years ago when the late Clifford Benson asked Jenny Miller to start a vocal summer course in St Leonards on Sea to run alongside his chamber music course. The course fosters a philosophy and approach to voice work that joins response, movement and physical connectivity with voice training.

This production features young singers in serious training for the profession invited as part of a programme which previously cast them as chorus and understudies for the main season at Longborough Festival Opera, allowing them to earn a small fee, and then go on to sing the main roles for themselves in a tour of four venues. After St Mary in the Castle and during the rest of September,  the production will move on to the Steiner theatre in London, Norden Farm Art Centre in Maidenhead and the Wooburn Arts Festival in Bourne End, Buckinghamshire.

The cast includes Alice Privett (brought up in Hastings and currently on the opera course of the Royal Academy) as Pamina, Bradley Smith (also at the Royal Academy of Music) as Tamino,  and Monique Klongtruadroke all the way from Thailand as the infamous Queen of the Night.  In support are other  international young singers from Finland, France and Japan as well as the UK, all of whom having benefited from  the great professional coaching of Lesley Anne Sammons and Philip Voldman. Who knows – any one of these could become a diva superstar of the future?  And you saw them first in Hastings!

Jenny Miller and Philip Voldman with student

The production is directed by Jenny Miller and Sophie Horton, stage managed by Ferne Hudson, and lit by Alan Privett. It is sung in German (with surtitles) but the dialogue is in English. The costumes are by Hannah Whitham also originally from Hastings.  The Music Director is Lesley Anne Sammons, who is  a highly experienced coach, repetiteur and conductor.  She has worked for Scottish Opera, Royal Opera House, Glyndebourne, and abroad with Italian, French and Dutch companies. She is assisted on this production by Philip Voldman, a young up-and-coming conductor who has just received great praise for his produciton of Il Tabarro for the Grimebourne Festival.

The Magic Flute is one of the most popular of operatic works, the fourth most frequently performed opera world wide.  Its enigmatic secular themes and masonic symbolism hark back to the age of enlightenment of the late 18th century but it is blessed with wonderful music, humour and a magic aura.

The whole evening should add up to a great night out,  if the previous years’ productions of Mozart’s Le Nozze Di Figaro,  Don Giovanni, and Cosi Fan Tutte are anything to go by.

Booking : phone Jenny or Alan Privett on 01424 432985 and leave a message and contact number.

Ticket prices: £15, £12 concessions and £10 for students and under 16s

Posted 17:32 Tuesday, Sep 4, 2012 In: Music & Sound

Also in: Music & Sound


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