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“Outstanding performances from all the singers and Robin Humphries was brilliant, as usual. Some clever staging and the introductory explanations were amusing and useful.”
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“A delight. Passionately committed young singers, and witty, intelligent direction.”
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“We have had many great nights at Clonter and this was up there with the best of them – 5 great performers and brilliantly chosen repertoire.”
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“We were very impressed with the quality of the performers.”
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Audience Feedback 2022
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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 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.

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Hannah O’Brien – Soprano

Irish soprano Hannah O’Brien is currently studying with Elizabeth Ritchie at the RNCM where she will perform the role of Mary Crawford (Mansfield Park/Dove) this Spring. She previously studied at The Royal Irish Academy of Music with Sylvia O’Regan and Dr. Dearbhla Collins. Hannah is a Wexford Festival Opera Factory Artist for the 2022/2023 seasons and will return to the festival this year to perform the roles of Elvira (L’italiana in Algeri/Rossini), Nella (Gianni Schicchi/Puccini), and Tatiana (L’Aube Rouge/Camille Erlanger) and in May will give a recital for the Italian Institute of Culture, Dublin in conjunction with WFO. Hannah’s previous roles include Griselda (Cinderella/Alma Deutscher) at Wexford Festival Opera, and Polly in a film adaptation of Kevin O’Connell’s Dreamcatcher, Il Destino/Linfea (La Calisto/Cavalli) and Nance Farrell (Banished/Stephen McNeff) with RIAM Opera. In competition success, Hannah was awarded the Song Prize at Northern Ireland Opera’s Glenarm Festival of Voice 2022, and placed 2nd in the Dramatic Cup and Lieder Prize at the ESB Feis Ceoil. Hannah was also selected to perform in Drogheda Classical Music’s inaugural Celebration of the Voice featuring world renowned mezzo-soprano Tara Erraught. Earlier this year, Hannah performed the role of Pamina in Clonter’s production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute.
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Jane Burnell – Soprano

Jane is a British Soprano currently studying her Masters at the RNCM under the tutelage of Linda Richardson. In 2021 she won the Coro Nuovo Sussex Young Musician of the Year and in 2022 was a finalist in the RNCM Strauss Award. This summer she joined Buxton International Festival as a Young Artist and member of the ensemble for Bellini’s La Sonnambula. Her opera roles include: Pamina The Magic Flute (Leeds Youth Opera), Due Donne Le Nozze di Figaro (RNCM Opera), Zerlina (scenes) Don Giovanni (RNCM Opera), Guilia (scenes) La Scala di Seta (RNCM Opera), La Novizia Suor Angelica (Random Opera Company), Adele Die Fledermaus (LCSU Opera Society) and Belinda/Second Woman Dido and Aeneas (LUUMS Opera Society. Jane is a prolific concert soloist with orchestras and choirs across the UK, with repertoire including Mozart Exsultate Jubilate (Suffolk Philharmonic Orchestra) and Handel Messiah (National Festival Orchestra). She particularly enjoys performing Baroque repertoire and works regularly with Manchester Baroque. As a recitalist, Jane has performed at the Bridgewater Hall, Leeds Town Hall and the Howard Assembly Rooms. Alongside performing, Jane is a keen conductor and also works closely with Leeds Lieder as a Workshop Leader for their schools education programmes across Leeds.

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Nancy Holt – Mezzo Soprano

Nancy Holt is a 2023 graduate from the Opera Course at Guildhall School of Music and Drama. This summer, Nancy joined Nevill Holt Opera as an Associate Artist playing the role of Tisbe in La Cenerentola and performed the role of Lola in Cavalleria Rusticana (Leoncavallo) in a semi-staged performance with the Cambridge Philharmonic Orchestra. She played Mistress Quickly in Sir John in Love with British Youth Opera at Opera Holland Park in 2022 for which she was awarded the Basil A Turner Award. She is a Help Musicians Sybil Tutton Opera Award Holder and Countess of Munster Trust Award Winner. She was the Winner of the Paul Hamburger Prize for Voice at Graham Johnson’s Song Guild in 2019. During her time on the Guildhall Opera Course she played Jean de Moncerf in Le Portrait de Manon (Massenet), Lisa in I due timidi (Rota) and Mrs Patrick De Rocher in Dead Man Walking (Heggie). She did concerts at Lerici Baroque Festival in Italy with the Vache Baroque Opera Festival in 2022. She studies under John Evans.

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Thomas Chenhall – Baritone

Award-nominated English Baritone Thomas made his international debut as Laquais in Don Quichotte at the Wexford International Opera Festival in 2019. He recently made his Royal Opera House concert debut as part of their lunchtime recital series. Recent engagements include a return to Hurn Court Opera as Schaunard in Puccini’s La bohème, a house and role debut as Maestro Spinelloccio in Nevill Holt’s 2023 summer production of Gianni Schicci as well as covering Dandini in their production of La Cenerentola. Following this, Thomas makes his role and house debut as Silvio in West Greenhouse Opera’s summer production of I Pagliacci. Upcoming engagements include a house and role debut with Glyndebourne Festival Opera as Curio in their 2024 summer production of Giulio Cesare by Handel. Previous engagements included Figaro in Ulster Touring Opera’s new production of The Barber of Seville, Ben in Opera on the Move’s production of Giancarlo Menotti’s The Telephone, a return to Hampstead Garden Opera as Harasta in their winter production of Leoš Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen, a role debut with Clonter as Sid in their production of Benjamin Britten’s Albert Herring, Doctor Malatesta in Hurn Court Opera’s 2022 production of Don Pasquale, Il Conte in Hampstead Garden Opera’s 2021 production of Le Nozze di Figaro and a house and role debut at the Dorset Opera Festival as Masetto in their 2021 summer production of Don Giovanni. Thomas was also a finalist for the IV Eva Marton International Singing Competition in Budapest 2021.

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Innocent Masuku – Tenor

Innocent Masuku is a South African operatic tenor who recently graduated from the Opera Course at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama. He has received various accolades including a Merit award in the 2019 SAMRO competition, a Drake Calleja trust award, sponsorship by The Tillet Trust fund, The Oppenheimer International Scholarship, and The Countess of Munster Musical award. He is a former studio member of the Cape Town opera where he made his first public performance as Crabman in a production of Porgy and Bess set in Argentina. Other recent roles include Borsa in Rigoletto and Tamino in The Magic Flute. In 2021 he performed the role of Conte Alberto in L’occasione fa il Ladro with British Youth Opera. Innocent’s upcoming roles at ENO and Garsington Opera include Brighella Ariadne auf Naxos and Gastone The Dead City. He has performed in masterclasses led by Maestro Kamal Khan and Willard White and performed alongside Eric Owens. Innocent was a member of the Glyndebourne Festival Chorus in 2022 and is also a mentee at Pegasus Opera. He is currently working at Scotland Opera doing the Highlight tour.
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Harriet Taylor – Director

Harriet Taylor is an American director working across theatre, musical theatre, and opera. She completed her BFA in Drama at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and worked in various capacities on/off-Broadway before moving to London for an MA at RADA. Now on the Jette Parker Artist Program at the Royal Opera House, Harriet has directed scenes on the mainstage and assisted on new works including Das Rheingold (dir. Barry Kosky), The Rape of Lucretia (dir. Oli Mears), and Il Trovatore (dir. Adel Thomas). She has also assisted directed revivals of SalomeDon Carlo, and Il Barbiere di Siviglia. Next up, her Linbury directorial debut in April 2024 will be John Harbison’s Full Moon in March. In theatre, Harriet has directed at UK institutions including Battersea Arts Centre, The Pleasance, The Coronet Theatre, Edinburgh Fringe, Theatre 503, and the Rose Theatre in Kingston where her work won the Audience Choice Award at the International Youth Arts Festival.

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Clive Timms – Music Director

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.
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Robin Humphreys – Repetiteur & 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.
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Ticket Pricing & Booking Information

Tickets £42, £48, £55, £60, FREE for 26-year-olds and under (ID may be required)

Group Discount (10% Discount) 10+

U3A Discount (10% Discount)

Doors Open 6pm

Performance Starts 7pm

Interval 70 minute supper interval; pre-order supper, or bring your own picnic
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Priority Booking for Patrons 14 April

Priority Booking for Friends 21 April

General Sale 28 April
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Drink Arrangements – Please note that any drink consumed inside the premises must be purchased from the bar. For Friends and Patrons of Clonter who wish to bring their own drink, a corkage fee of £4 per person will apply (payable in advance on 01260 224514).
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N.B. Table booking facilities close a week before the performance date. Pre-order drinks facilities close at 4pm on the Wednesday before the performance.
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