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The Opera Gala consists of a variety of well-loved opera arias, duets and ensembles, followed by some musical theatre classics, in a well-established operative prelude to Christmas, and is ideal for anyone who has not been to an opera before, but would like to dip their toe in the water, before committing to a full-blown one. Each item is set into context by the director, so no prior knowledge necessary.

For this year’s Opera Gala, Clonter is delighted to welcome back Alexandra Lowe (Soprano), who took part in the 2017 Masterclasses and Spring Opera Showcase, returning this February as the Guildhall School of Music And Drama nominee for the Opera Prize Concert, winning First prize, as well as the Audience Vote, and performing the role of Donna Elvira in Clonter’s summer production of Don Giovanni. Also returning to Clonter from the cast of Don Giovanni are Andrew Henley (Tenor), who performed the role of Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni,  Alexandra Oomens (Soprano), who performed the role of Zerlina, and Jacobo Ochoa (baritone), who performed the role of Masetto. Joining 4 of the cast is Stephanie Maitland (Mezzo-soprano), who took part in the 2018 Masterclasses and Spring Opera Showcase. Clonter is also delighted to welcome director, Oliver Platt for the first time.

Arias and ensembles from the following operas are planned to be included in the programme: La fille du regiment, L’elisir d’amore, and Poliuto Donizetti, Samson et Delila by Saint-Saëns, Manon and Werther by Massenet, Falstaff by Verdi, Carmen and Les pêcheurs de perles by Bizet, Alcina and Giulio Cesare by Handel,Eugene Onegin by Tchaikovsky, La clemenza di Tito by Mozart, Aleko by Rachmaninov, and La bohème by Puccini. This will be topped with a sprinkling of operetta and musical theatre items to include Tis done! I am a bride! From Gilbert and Sullivan’s Yeomen of the Guard.

For those based in the south, Clonter’s Gala will be transferring to the elegant 18th Century ballroom, originally designed by Robert Adam, at the Lansdowne Club on Tuesday 12th November. https://www.clonter.org/event/opera-gala-london-2/



Richard Shaffrey

Richard Shaffrey (tenor) recently completed his studies with Stephen Robertson on the RCS MMus Opera Course, where he was very grateful to be generously supported by the RCS Trust, the Irish Arts Council and the South Square Trust. At the RCS he performed the roles of Ferrando in Così fan tutte, Lechmere in Owen Wingrave, Tristan in Le Vin Herbé, and Alfred in Die Fledermaus. He sang in the Wexford Festival Opera Chorus (2013/14/16), Grange Park Opera chorus (2015) and the Wide Open Opera Chorus,  performing in Tristan und IsoldeAlma Fetish – Male-Student1 and Nixon in China, understudying Mao.   He also sang the role of Nemorino in L’elisir d’amore in an understudy concert with Opera Theatre Company.  After completing a DipMus Performance at the RIAM, he was accepted onto the Northern Ireland Opera Young Artists’ Programme, where he understudied Macduff in Macbeth and Tamino in The Magic Flute. In 2016, he played the role of Gastone in Clonter Opera’s La traviata, while understudying Alfredo and also performed the role of Il Cancelliere in Wexford Festival Opera’s production of Maria de Rudenz in the same year. In 2017 he performed the role of Rodolfo in La bohème at the Rye Arts Festival and made his debut with Scottish Opera as The Officer in Ariadne auf Naxos in Feb 2018. He has featured at the Wexford Opera Festival for the last two seasons, where he was a PWC Young Artist,  performing the roles of Dick Johnson (Fanciulla del West), Il Messo (Il Bravo), and Prince Charmant (Cendrillon).


Alexandra Lowe

Alexandra is a Spanish/English soprano who recently completed her training at the Guildhall Opera School. She previously graduated with a Bachelor of Music degree and a Masters of Music from the RNCM. Most recent competitions and awards include The Clonter Opera Prize, the Elisabeth Harwood Prize and the Kennedy Award for Singing Strauss. She is a recipient of a Silver Medal from the Worshipful Company of Musicians and of the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation Sarah Brightman Scholarship. In 2018 she became a Samling Artist. Operatic roles performed at the GSMD and/or the RNCM include Fiordiligi, Helena, Lucia I/II, Anna Gomez, Rose Maurrant,Theodora and Métella. Professionally she has played Fiordiligi (Neville Holt Opera) and Barena (Grange Park Opera). Roles at BYO include The Bride/Wife/Mother and Mrs. Coyle. In August Alexandra will be playing Barbarina and covering Contessa at The New Generation Festival in Florence, before joining the National Opera Studio in September 2019.


Stephanie Maitland

Stephanie Maitland is a Scottish mezzo-soprano studying on the Advanced Postgraduate Diploma at the Royal Northern College of Music, under the tuition of Jane Irwin. Over the summer, she was an Alvarez Young Artist with Garsington Opera, covering the role of Mrs Grose in Britten’s The Turn of the Screw, conducted by Richard Farnes and directed by Louisa Muller, and singing in the chorus of The Bartered Bride by Smetana, conducted by Jac van Steen and directed by Paul Curran. Since starting at the RNCM, Stephanie has sang the roles of Mercedes in Bizet’s Carmen in 40minutes, the Sandman in RNCM’s production of Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel, Flora in Verdi’s La Traviata for the John Manduell Commemoration Concert, La Principessa in Suor Angelica and Zita in Gianni Schicchi in RNCM’s Puccini double bill and Madam By-ends and Alto soloist in RNCM’s spring production of Vaughan William’s The Pilgrim’s Progress. She has also sang in a masterclass with Dame Ann Murray and was involved in Clonter Opera’s Spring Opera Showcase. She was also involved in the first recording of Cellier’s Dorothy with Richard Bonynge, released by NAXOS. During the previous summer, she sang with Buxton International Festival, singing chorus and covering the role of Zuma in Verdi’s Alzira and singing chorus in Mozart’s Idomeneo. Future engagements include singing the role of La Prieure in Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmélites at RNCM. Stephanie was also a semi-finalist in By Voice Alone and won a Singer’s Preparation Award from Audition Oracle. Stephanie is generously supported by The Cross Trust and by Help Musicians UK. She is a recipient of the Alice Orrell and A&N Kendall Award and previously held a Sybil Tutton Award from Help Musicians UK.


Alexandra Oomens

Australian soprano Alexandra Oomens recently graduated from Royal Academy Opera, studying with Lillian Watson and Jonathan Papp. In 2017 Alexandra made her European debut as a soloist at the Concertgebouw in the Holland Festival, with Netherlands Radio Symphony Orchestra. Alexandra in an alumna of the Georg Solti Academy, studying under Meastro Alessandro Corbelli, Barbara Frittoli, and Sir Richard Bonynge. Whilst with Royal Academy Opera, Alexandra has performed such roles as Vixen – The Cunning Little Vixen (Janacek), Semele – Semele (Handel), La Princess & La Chauve-Souris – L’enfant et les sortilèges (Ravel), Laurette – Le Docteur Miracle (Bizet), Tina – Flight (Dove), Cupidon – Orphée Aux Enfers (Offenbach), and Damigella – L’Incoronazione di Poppea (Monteverdi). Other roles include Clizia – Teseo (London Handel Festival), Isabelle – L’Amant, Jaloux, Lisel – The Chimney Sweep, Alinda – Giasone (Pinchgut Opera), Childerico – Faramondo, and Belinda and 2nd Lady – Dido & Aeneas (Brisbane Baroque). Alexandra holds an MA and Dip RAM for an outstanding final recital from the Academy, and a BMus (Hons) from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. Alexandra is extremely grateful for the generosity and sponsorship of the Carr-Gregory Trust Scholarship, and John Baker Opera Award.


Fabian Langguth 

Fabian Langguth (baritone) was early introduced to music through piano lessons and as a member of the prestigious „Tölzer Knabenchor“. Currently he is studying at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama with Prof. Rudolf Piernay as part of a scholarship program. In 2015, Fabian took part in the International Bach Academy and sang the baritone solo on the IBAS Italy Tour, won the Mozart Competition in Prague and had his opera debut at the Augsburg opera house. As part of a Pre-LSO concert he performed a song recital at Barbican Hall and took part in the LSO production „Le grand macabre“, working with Sir Simon Rattle and Peter Sellars. Last year he was awarded 1. Prize in Lied, French Song and Oratorio at the 2018 David Clover singing competition and was a finalist at the international Hugo-Wolf-Competition in Stuttgart and the international Schubert-Competition in Dortmund. He also performed in the Prince Consort Side-by-Side Project as well as Schubert songs with Graham Johnson in Wigmore Hall and debuted in Berlin as Dr. Falke in “Die Fledermaus” by Johann Strauss.


Musical Director/CoachClive Timms

Clive Timms studied at Birmingham University and the London Opera Centre. He joined the music staff of ENO after a season with WNO and was subsequently appointed Assistant Music Director of Opera North on the company’s inception in 1978. For these companies he conducted a large number of performances of a varied operatic repertoire. He retired from the Guidhall School of Music & Drama in 2012 after 22 years as Head of Opera Studies, where in 2007 he was awarded a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for his work in the Opera Department. He was responsible for many notable productions, often of unusual and stimulating repertoire, the majority of which he conducted, latterly Nicolai’s  Die lustigen Weiber von Windsor and the European première of Ned Rorem’s Our Town – and  he continues to coach aspiring singers at the Guildhall School. His association with Clonter dates back to 1989 but more  recently he has conducted the productions of La cenerentola, Lucia di Lammermoor, Hansel and Gretel, Die Fledermaus, Faust, Così fan tutteLa traviata, Le nozze di Figaro, La bohème and Don Giovanni.


Director – Oliver Platt

L’arlesiana, Cosi Fan Tutte, Don Giovanni, Le Cenerentola, Suor Angelica, Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Les Pêcheurs de Perles (Opera Holland Park); Iolanta and L’Enfant et les Sortileges Double Bill (Royal Academy of Music), Cosí fan Tutte (Guildhall School of Music and Drama), Der Freischütz (Blackheath Halls Opera), The Elixir of Love  (Scottish Opera), La Cenerentola (Danish National Opera/nominated for a Reumert Prize); Owen Wingrave (The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland); Werther (English Touring Opera) and scenes for the Royal College of Music and Royal Academy of Music. Suor Angelica (and the revival of Gianni Schicchi) as part of Il Trittico (OHP) in 2015, was nominated for awards by the Royal Philharmonic Society and WhatsOnStage for best new production, and was chosen as one of The Telegraph’s best 5 productions of the year. Oliver has also worked extensively as an assistant/staff director, including productions at the Royal Opera House, Scottish Opera, Glyndebourne, Opera Holland Park, English Touring Opera, Tête à Tête and the Royal College of Music for directors including Sir David McVicar, Barrie Kosky, Richard Jones and Kasper Holten.


Accompanist – Robin Humphreys

Robin Humphreys is a graduate of the University of Birmingham and a holder of the prestigious Diploma in Professional Performance from the Royal Northern College of Music, where he studied piano accompaniment with David Lloyd. Appearing in concert both as a soloist and an accompanist for over 35 years, he now pursues a successful career as an accompanist and répétiteur, the breadth of his repertoire being reflected in television and radio broadcasts ranging from BBC Radio 3 to Emmerdale!  At the RNCM, Robin is a senior music coach within the School of Vocal Studies, for whom he was also chief répétiteur on the majority of college opera productions from the late 1990s until 2013. He has appeared with the    Manchester Camerata in the world première of “A Feast of Fables” by Paul Reade, has been Musical Director for Feelgood Theatre Productions and, from 1990-2000, Opera & Concert Productions (Worldwide) Ltd with whom he toured throughout the Gulf, the Indian sub-continent and the Far East. Robin has a particularly close association with Clonter Opera Theatre, where he regularly works as Assistant Musical Director and Accompanist. He is also an accompanist member of the British & International Federation of Festivals


Tickets £31, £42, £52, Students £10

Doors Open 6pm

Performance 7pm

Interval 70 minute supper interval; pre-order supper, hamper or canapé baskets, or bring your own (indoor) picnic


Sponsored by WHIreland