Try a little ardour
IF YOU saw the excellent touring production of Puccini's Madam Butterfly last summer by New Devon Opera (NDO), you might be interested to know that there have been a number of administrative changes among its officers – perhaps none more crucial than Linda Hughes's decision to stand down as chairman last November.
All of this has made the company rethink its future plans.
Initially, Donizetti's comic opera L'Elisir d'amore had been earmarked for this summer but, according to a recent statement from the new chairman Robert Hough, on behalf of the trustees, alternative options such as concert performances are being considered for this year, with the expectation of returning to a fully-staged opera production in 2014.
Robert, who maintains that NDO is still very much alive and in safe hands, meanwhile puts on a small number of concerts under the umbrella of The Grand Entertainments Company and, last year, presented well-known Cornish mezzo-soprano Suzanne Manuell in recital with Indian lyric-tenor Anando Muckherjee, with Devon Baroque and Dartington Community Choir director Jonathan Watts at the piano.
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Suzanne and Jonathan are, of course, well known to local concert-goers – Anando read Natural Sciences at Cambridge, before concentrating on his vocal studies, where his teachers included legendary Swedish tenor Nicolai Gedda.
The event proved very popular and the trio is repeating the performance, titled Diva-Divo, in Dartington's Great Hall on Sunday, January 27 at 3.00pm.
The programme features music from L'Elisir d'amore, as well as some full-blooded Italian ardour from Verdi's La Traviata, Mascagni's Cavalleria Rusticana, Giordano's Andrea Chenier, and Puccini's La Boheme, and Madam Butterfly.
WEST Devon Chorale opens its 2013 account with a return visit to Buckfast Abbey on Saturday, January 26 at 7.30pm, with a programme which includes three motets by Bach, and Palestrina's Stabat Mater.
The main work in the second half is Ugis Praulins's Missa Rigensis, written in 2002 and premiered by the Riga Dom Boys' Choir in the vast acoustic of the Latvian capital's cathedral, where the composer had also been a member of the choir.
Since then his career has embraced music for film and TV, large-scale crossover pieces, a full-length ballet, and a substantial body of concert music.
The 35-strong West Devon Chorale choir will once again be conducted by Michael Johnson, with organist Christopher Moore contributing solos by Bach and Uzbek composer Georgi Mushel.