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A Rich Variety of Semi Staged Opera Scenes & Arias

Spring is here and with it the heralds the annual ‘Masterclasses’, and the subsequent Spring Opera Showcase, which offers a rich variety of semi staged opera scenes and arias, set into context and presented by a compére, to entertain opera novices, of all ages, and seasoned opera lovers, in equal measure.

Visitors to the Opera Masterclass (Thurs 17th May 2 – 5pm) are able to follow a performance’s journey from rehearsal to production, offering a detailed insight into the workings behind a performance.

My enjoyment (of the Spring Opera Showcase) was greatly enhanced by attendance at the Masterclasses in the days before, where we watched the being trained into dramatic ensembles by some of the best teachers in the world“. Clonter’s former Chairman, Patrick Furlong.

Clonter is delighted to welcome back Michael McCaffery, who directed Clonter’s 2014 production of Faust, and many previous year’Masterclasses’. Michael will accompanied by Anthony Legge.



Michael McCaffery has directed in opera houses and theatres across the world for more than thirty years. His productions have been seen in major theatres in this country and abroad, including Glyndebourne, Bayreuth, Opera Comique, Paris, Volksoper, Vienna, Garsington, Wexford Festival, the National Theatre Tokyo, the Halle Handel Festival, in North and South America and the Middle East.  He also writes and has produced a series of acclaimed features and documentaries for RTE Radio and BBC Radio 4 where his adaptation of the Matchmaker was nominated for a Sony Comedy Award. His association with Clonter also goes back many years, which includes his production of Faust 2014.



Anthony Legge, apart from having formerly been Clonter’s Music Director, he is  ‘Sought after as a conductor and director for opera companies in the UK, Europe and Australia Former Director of Opera at the Royal Academy of Music; now returns as a Visiting Professor.’







This year’s singers 


Rhys Alun Thomas (Bass-Baritone) is currently enrolled on his first year at the Alexander Gibson Opera School at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland under the tutelage of Julian Tovey. Rhys is a grateful recipient of a scholarship from the Conservatoire. Rhys began his studies at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama and studied for 4 years under the tutelage of Janet Price. This is where Rhys began to develop and nurture his stamina, passion and vocal abilities. In July 2015, Rhys graduated from the RWCMD and went onto spend the next two years freelancing across the UK; from the Highlands of Scotland, to the south coast of England in various Operas, Musicals and Concerts. Operatic Roles include: Dottore Grenvil, Clonter Opera, July 2016. Comte Des Grieux, Opera Coast, July 2015. Superintendent Budd, RWCMD Opera, March 2015. Don Basilio, Magnetic Opera, August 2014. Sarastro, RWCMD Opera, March 2014. Swede/Crony, Paul Bunyan, Welsh National Youth Opera, August 2013.


Michael Gibson is a Glasgow born tenor, currently undertaking his second year of postgraduate studies under the guidance of Peter Alexander Wilson at the RNCM. He graduated from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in 2015, completing a Bachelor of Education in Music. Upon graduating, he continued pursuing his passion for both music and education and worked as a secondary school teacher in Glasgow, before moving to the RNCM. Michael’s recent operatic roles include Le Prince Charmant in Massenet’s Cendrillon (RNCM Opera) and Tom Rakewell (The Rake’s Progress), Fenton (Falstaff) and Fritz (L’amico Fritz) in RNCM opera scenes. Recent concert engagements include Rossini Petite Messe Solennelle with Lytham St Anne’s Choral Society, Handel Messiah with Chesterfield Philharmonic Choir and Ivor Gurney’s song cycle Ludlow and Teme as part of the RNCM Chamber Music Festival. This summer, Michael will be a member of the Buxton Young Artists Programme, performing as a member of the chorus in Idomeneo and Alzira.


Stephanie Maitland (mezzo-soprano) is in her first year of Masters, studying under the tutelage of Susan Roper. Having started at the Royal Northern College of Music, she has sang Mercedes in Carmen in 40minutes, participated in a weekend residency at Opera North and sang in a masterclass with Andrew Shore. Upcoming engagements include singing Phyllis in the first recording of Cellier’s Dorothy with Richard Bonynge and Victorian Opera Northwest, portraying the Sandman in RNCM’s production of Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel and singing cover and chorus in Buxton International Festival summer season. Stephanie is very grateful to be supported by The D’Oyly Carte Charitable Trust, The Cross Trust, The Sir James Caird’s Travelling Scholarship Trust, The John Leishman Memorial Trust, The Mario Lanza Educational Foundation and The Split Infinitive Trust.


Chrisni Mendis (soprano) is currently studying on the Master of Music course at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland under the tutelage of Wilma MacDougall. Chrisni is looking forward to covering Rose Marrant in the upcoming production of Street Scene at the Alexander Gibson Opera School and performing the role of Leila and Arabella in the RCS Opera Scenes. She has also recently been accepted to the Clonter Opera Studio and the Berlin Opera Academy to perform in their upcoming operas this coming year. While studying at the RCS, Chrisni performed Micaela from Bizet’s Carmen, Alice from Verdi’s Falstaff in scenes productions and had performed Zerlina (Don Giovanni), Susanna (Le nozze di Figaro) and  Ännchen (Der Freischütz) in Munich at the Bel Canto Voice Program. In 2017, she was highly commended in the Elgar/Spedding Memorial Lieder Prize. Chrisni earned her Bachelor of Music, Performance from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, graduating First Class with Honors. Additionally, Chrisni is very grateful to have been awarded an RCS scholarship grant to further her postgraduate studies. Chrisni is also experienced in opera chorus work and have performed Prokofiev’s The Fiery Angel (Scottish Opera) and Bizet’s Pearl Fishers (Opera Bohemia).


Caroline Taylor (soprano) studies at the Royal Northern College of Music under Louise Winter. Prior to this, she read for an MA (Hons) in French, Italian and Spanish at the University of St Andrews.Caroline’s studies are generously supported by the Richard Newitt Fund and Help Musicians UK,with whom she holds a Postgraduate Award. At the RNCM, Caroline has performed the title role in Massenet Cendrillon and scenes as Tina in Dove Flight and Suzel in Mascagni L’amico Fritz. She was a finalist in the 2018 Concerto Competition and the 2017 Joyce and Michael Kennedy Award for Singing of Strauss; and she won the 2017 Brodsky Cross-School Prize with her chamber ensemble, the Lucrezia Trio. She is also an RNCM Songster and a 2018 Leeds Lieder Young Artist. This June, she will create the role of Sara in the world premiere of Adam Gorb’s opera The Path to Heaven.





Thurs 17 May

Tickets £5, FREE for Friends & Students
Masterclass 2-5pm


BOX OFFICE 01260 224514  email: boxoffice@clonter.org


Spring Opera Showcase
Sat 19 May

Tickets £20, Students £10, Children (Under 16) £8+ Group Discount (10%) available 10+ Early Bird Ticket (20%) available until 31st March

Doors Open 6pm
Performance Starts 7pm
Interval 70 minute supper interval; pre-order supper, hamper or canapé baskets, or bring your own (indoor) picnic.

There is a fully Licensed bar.

FREE parking, and you are welcome to leave your car overnight