Saturday 12 November 2022 - 7:00 pm
“I thought the whole evening was delightful. The performers were top rate; the introductions were entertaining and, as always, the accompanist was superb. The Gala makes for a lovely evening should there be people less inclined to attend a ‘whole’ opera.”
“It was fabulous – excellent singing, food, service and ambience.”
“Absolutely excellent to see young professionals commencing their careers, and with the majority of the programme opera, but some lighter operetta to allow them to demonstrate their acting skills at the end.”
Audience Feedback 2021
There are some tickets left for this year’s Opera Gala. You also still have until Monday to book for the supper.
Hot foot from Clonter’s debut at the Edinburgh Fringe, with Papageno’s Quest, and this year’s Education workshops, is soprano Naomi Rogers, and 2 members of the cast of Albert Herring – Congleton-born baritone Jordan Harding, who played the part of Mr Gedge, the Vicar, and tenor Jack Roberts, who played the part of Mr Upfold, the Mayor. Making their debut at Clonter are the winner of this year’s Betty Bannerman Award for French Song – Mezzo-Soprano Camilla Seale, and last but not least soprano Rusnė Tušlaitė. All shall be accompanied by the ‘World class’ accompanist, Robin Humphreys.
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 operatic 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, so no prior knowledge is necessary.
To whet your appetite, we have a rich programme planned this year of pieces by (in alphabetical order) Donizetti, Gilbert and Sullivan, Lehar, Leoncavallo, a number of Ms – Massenet, Meyerbeer, Monteverdi and Mozart, Puccini, Strauss (Richard) and Verdi! And the pieces will include operatic favourites such as Batti, batti o bel Masetto from Don Giovanni, Quanto è bella from L’elisir d’amore, O Mimì, tu piu non torni from La bohème, and for those that enjoy the lighter section Three Little Maids from school and Were you not to Koko plighted from The Mikado, Tonight from West Side Story, Why can’t the English and I could’ve danced all night from My Fair Lady.
Clonter is also delighted to welcome Director, Lysanne van Overbeek, and Lighting Designer, Brett Kasza, to Clonter this year.
We are most grateful to Clive Timms for his continued commitment to this annual event as Music Director.
Alexandra Lowe – Soprano
Alexandra, who took part in the 2019 Opera Gala, went on to the prestigious Jette Parker Young Artist Programme, at Covent Garden. In her second and final season on the Jette Parker Young Artist Programme, Alexandra featured in Mozart, Handel and Britten roles among other projects and worked under conductors Hartmut Haenchen, Harry Bicket and Sir Antonio Pappano. In the Linbury Theatre Alexandra sang Anthony Almeida’s staged production of Pierrot Lunaire. Despite the pandemic-related challenges of Alexandra’s first season as a Covent Garden Young Artist, she was able to make a highly acclaimed mainstage debut as “an exquisite, self-assured Dafne” (The Guardian) in Handel’s Apollo e Dafne under Christian Curnyn and participate in a host of online events including an ensemble recital with Antonio Pappano at the piano, and the contemporary 8bit Series presenting newly commissioned works.
“She sang with abundant warmth and generosity, maintaining an elegant poise in Rossini’s ‘Willow Song’ and imbuing Mozart’s ‘Mi tradi’ with full-blooded gusto.”
Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph, March 2020
Clonter Opera Gala Participants 2022
Jordan Harding – Baritone
Having first discovered opera at Clonter, Jordan went on to study Music at the University of Manchester followed by a Master’s in voice at the Royal Northern College of Music under the tutelage of Matthew Best, graduating with distinction in 2021. Career highlights to date include performances with Opera Holland Park, Buxton Festival Opera and Opera Rara. Previous stage roles, including Silvio Pagliacci, Herald The Pilgrim’s Progress and Dr. Falke Die Fledermaus, indicate Jordan’s versatility as a performer, with an affinity for music spanning Italian opera, lieder, English song and classic musical theatre. Jordan performed the role of Mr Gedge in Clonter’s production of Albert Herring this summer, going on to If Opera, to sing the role of Maggiordomo in La Rondine and as am ensemble member in Dido and Aeneas.
Jack Roberts – Tenor
Jack trained at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama under the tutorage of David Pollard. During his second year, Jack won the Joyce Budd Second Prize of the Kathleen Ferrier Bursary for young singers to whom he is very grateful for having supported him through his degree. Since leaving college, Jack has gained a wealth of experience on the operatic stage. Roles include Rodolphe in Gounod’s La Nonne Sanglante (for which he is a finalist in the Off West End Award for best opera performance) for Gothic Opera, Almaviva (Il barbiere di Siviglia) for Barefoot Opera, Nanki-Poo (The Mikado) for Charles Court Opera, Satyavan (Savitri) for Hampstead Garden Opera, Marco (The Gondoliers) for the National Gilbert and Sullivan Tour, Lensky (Eugene Onegin) and Don Ottavio (Don Giovanni) for Opera Loki, Fe-ni-han (Ba-ta-clan) for West Green House Opera. In the summer, Jack mades his debuts with Opera Holland Park, singing Lensky in their production of Eugene Onegin, for which he was described by Opera Magazine as “the epitome of an emerging talent”. He subsequently debuted with Clonter Opera as Mr Upfold in their production of Albert Herring and returned to Charles Court Opera’s touring production of The Mikado. Jack has also worked for Royal Opera, Garsington Opera, Grange Park Opera, London Symphony Orchestral, and Longborough Festival Opera, and is engaged to sing Almaviva in Ulster Touring Opera’s 2023 Production of Il Barbiere di Siviglia. He is delighted to return to Clonter Opera once more.
Naomi Rogers – Soprano
Naomi is a soprano from Suffolk with a Master of Music in Performance degree and a Bachelor of Music degree from the Royal Northern College of Music. She has most recently worked with Opera Holland Park, Clonter Opera, BBC1, Opera North, Buxton Opera, and Northern Opera Group. This season, Naomi has sung for Opera Holland Park in Adamo’s UK premier of ‘Little Women’, and performed the role of Papagena, Gretel, Cinderella and the Queen of the Night, in Conter Opera’s children’s show Papageno’s Quest at the Edinburgh International Fringe Festival. Naomi is currently back working with Clonter Opera for their month of opera outreach. In 2023 she looks forward to premiering a contemporary opera by Gary Lloyd, playing the lead role and taking it on tour around the UK. Past operatic performances include: lead role (Juno) in Oxfordshire Contemporary Opera’s ‘@Emele’ (Simmonds), Northern Opera’s ‘Thomas and Sally’ (Dorcas) by Arne, and Pauline Viardot’s ‘Cinderella’ (ugly step-sister Armelinde) which was the winner of the ‘Classical Music Digital Awards 2020. She sang a role in Poulenc’s ‘Dialogues des carmélites’ (Soeur Martha), Vaughan William’s ‘The Pilgrim’s Progress’ (Madam Bubble), Puccini’s ‘Suor Angelica’ (Maestra della Novizie), Offenbach’s ‘La Vie Parisienne’ (Clara), Kurt Weill’s ‘Street Scene’ and Benjamin Britten’s ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ (Peaseblossom). Furthermore, she performed at the Buxton’s International Opera Festival in the operas ‘Georgiana’ (multiple composers) covering the role of Grey, and in the chorus of both Tchaikovsky’s ‘Eugene Onegin’ and Caldara’s ‘Lucio Papirio Dittatore’. Naomi also premiered the brand new opera ‘Dotter Of Her Father’s Eyes’ by Gary Lloyd, singing the title role at the Dublin 2019 WorldCon, held in the Convention Centre Dublin. As a regular concert performer, Naomi’s highlights are performing as guest opera singer on BBC1’s ‘I Can See Your Voice’ 2021, as guest soloist at the International Opera Awards 2019 which took place at the Saddler’s Wells Theatre in London and singing Mozart repertoire with the Hallé Orchestra at the Bridgewater Hall. In 2020, Naomi made her recording debut as soloist in Sullivan Songs alongside Sir David Owen Norris and in last June featured as an artist for La ScenaMusicale, Canada’s most respected classical music, opera, jazz and world music magazine. Finally, Naomi ended 2021 on a high, winning the Sir David Maddison Opera Prize.
Camilla Seale – Mezzo-Soprano
Praised for her ‘unaffected simplicity’ (Classical Source) and ‘velvety mezzo’ timbres (The Telegraph), Camilla made her debut at Buxton International Festival as Prince Charming in Viardot’s Cendrillon prior to her most recent season at Glyndebourne Festival Opera (Chorus). She graduated with Distinction from her Masters at RNCM in 2022, studying under Jane Irwin and Michael Harper, with the support of Help Musicians. There, she was the First Prize recipient of the Betty Bannerman Award for French Song (2022), the Brigitte Fassbaender Award for Lieder (2021) and the Creative Innovator Award (2021). Her other operatic roles include creating Bella in Smail’s new work, Blue Electric (Tête à Tête; Playground Theatre); Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro (RNCM); Mrs. Nolan in Menotti’s The Medium (RNCM); Mary in Tavener’s Mary of Egypt (King’s College Chapel, Cambridge) and scenes as Fox in Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen (Morley Opera); Jemmy in Rossini’s Guillame Tell (Morley Opera); Tisbe in Rossini’s La Cenerentola (Morley Opera); Don Ettore in Haydn’s La Canterina (RNCM); Hänsel in Humperdinck’s Hänsel und Gretel (NOS Short Course). As a collaborative performer, she founded the devising ensemble, the New Renaissance Collective in 2018 and has co-created and performed in productions including Beaten Gold and an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Venus & Adonis. In concert, she has performed recitals for Manchester Song Festival, Buxton Opera and a rich variety of baroque repertoire with HM Sagbutts and Cornetts, Polyphony, the European Union Baroque Orchestra and Musica Antica. Camilla came to music at an early age, signing with the cross-over group, Angelis, under Sony BMG. She studied English at Girton College, Cambridge and then Social Inequality at LSE where she published articles for Classical Music magazine on freelance music making (here and here). She is also a keen aerial artist and a member of the Salon Collective, where she trains in Meisner’s acting method.
Rusnė Tušlaitė – Soprano
Lithuanian Soprano Rusnė Tuslaite is an alumna of the Royal Academy of Music. She made her Lithuanian National Opera debut at the age of seventeen as a winner of the television song contest ‘Dainu dainele 2016,’ and was the Royal Opera House Emerging Artist at their Youth Council Steering Group in 2021. Her recent operatic engagements include the roles of Chocholka and Woodpecker in Janáček’s ‘The Cunning Little Vixen’ (Hampstead Garden Opera), Lidochka in Shostakovich’s ‘Cheryomushki’ (Welsh National Opera’s Youth Company), Countess Almaviva (Hampstead Garden Opera) and Susanna (RAM opera scenes) in Mozart’s ‘Le Nozze di Figaro’, Tiresias in King’s world premiere of ‘Cantata Superba’ (Audentia Ensemble) and Manola in Massenet’s ‘Cherubin’ (Royal Academy Opera). This year Rusnė was a member of the prestigious Glyndebourne Festival chorus, made her debuts at the Wales Millennium Centre, the BBC Proms, the Edinburgh International Festival and worked with the London City Orchestra and conductor Thomas Payne on Strauss’ ‘Vier letzte lieder’ as a cover soloist for soprano Nadine Benjamin MBE. Rusnė actively performs and takes part in masterclasses and festivals in Lithuania, the United Kingdom, Austria and France. Some of the most well-known include the Welsh International Academy of Voice’s Summer programme (Cardiff, Wales), the Mozarteum University Summer Academy (Salzburg, Austria), the St Denis Festival (Paris, France) and the British Youth Opera Summer festivals (London, England). Rusne has previously worked with many legendary singers including Nuccia Focile, Michèle Crider, Dennis O’Neill, Della Jones, Jack Li Vigni and Anna Netrebko’s singing teacher Tamara Novicenko. Rusne is generously supported by the Mario Lanza Educational Foundation, the Clemence Charitable Trust, the Carr-Ellison Family Charitable Trust and Olgarhythm.
Robin Humphreys – Accompanist
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 productions from the late 1990s until 2013. He has appeared with the Manchester Camerata in the world premiere of “A Feast of Fables” by Paul Reade, has been Musical Director for Feelgood Theatre Productions and, from 1990-2000, Opera and 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 in Cheshire, where he regularly works as Assistant Musical Director and Accompanist. He is also an accompanist member of the British & International Federation of Festivals.
Lysanne van Overbeek – Director
Lysanne is a London based, Dutch born theatre and opera director. Born and raised in the Netherlands, she moved to the UK to study Musical Theatre at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, before deciding to pursue directing. Most recently, Lysanne has directed Donizetti’s ‘Rita’ for IF opera. Having started out life as a performer, Lysanne decided to change direction. She got a job assisting Jenny Miller on Alcina for Longborough Festival Opera and through that discovered a love of directing. Since then, she has worked for English Touring Opera, Opera Holland Park, Koln Oper, The Arcola, Britten Sinfonia and the Greenwich Theatre. As well as this, she began her own company, Over the Pond Productions, which aims to bring people together through theatre whilst sharing and upholding classically European values. Productions include I Capuleti e i Montecchi (Grimeborn), Connections (Online) and Lady of Stavoren (Putney Arches). In 2010, merely weeks before she moved to London, Lysanne’s mother was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. The fight for a cure and wish to create awareness for the disease led to Lysanne creating Limitless PD, a theatrical project to raise money for the Cure Parkinson’s Trust. Dates for the 2023 Opera Gala will be announced soon.
Clive Timms – Music Director/Coach
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 tutte, La traviata, Le nozze di Figaro, La bohème and Don Giovanni.
Brett Kasza – Lighting Designer
Brett Kasza is a Canadian born artist. He has graduated from Sheridan College for Technical Production for Theatre and Live Events with honours in 2020 and has recently graduated Lighting Design at Rose Bruford College with honours in 2022. Brett finds that working collaboratively with other artists is the best way to create the best possible show. His Lighting design credits include theatre, opera, dance and musical theatre. Here is a collection of his most recent shows: Human Nurture (Theatre-Centre/Theatre Peckham), Moon Hares (Orchestra at the Age of Enlightenment), Royal Academy Opera Scenes (Royal Academy of Music), Vocal Faculty Opera Scenes (Royal Academy of Music), New Writing (Rose Bruford College), Ghost Train (The Assembly Project), Traveling Light (Rose Bruford College), Chopped Logic (Action to the Word), Mixed Bill (English National Ballet School), Daylighting (Royal Academy of Music), Epic Love and Pop Songs (Tiny Wife Productions), Katzenmusik (London School of Dramatic Arts), Love is Black (Rose Bruford College), Abigail’s Party (Rose Bruford College), The Returned (Portal Dance Company), Newsies Assistant Lighting Design (Theatre Sheridan), Canadian Music Theatre Project (Theatre Sheridan), Creative Dance Projects (Sheridan College), Creative Acting Projects (Sheridan College), Romeo and Juliet (Notorious Theatre Company), Hamlet (Urban Arts Project), Macbeth (Notorious Theatre Company), Midsummer Night’s Dream (Urban Arts Project), The Tempest (Urban Arts Project).
Ticket Pricing & Booking Information
Tickets £40, £46, £52, £57, Students & Children (Under 16) £15
Group Discount (10% Discount) 10+
Doors Open 6pm
Performance Starts 7pm
Interval 70 minute supper interval; pre-order supper, or bring your own picnic
Dress Code Optional black tie
Priority Booking for Patrons 20 April 2022
Priority Booking for Friends 27 April 2022
General Sale 4 May 2022
Drink Arrangements – All drink consumed inside the premises must be purchased from the bar. These may be ordered in advance.
N.B. Table and catering booking facilities close a week before the performance date. Pre-order drinks facilities close at 4pm the day before a performance.