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Faust – 2014

We hope you will enjoy this, and the Where Are They Now?

We have really appreciated the feedback we have received from these posts. If you have enjoyed them, please do send us your feedback as well.

If you dress up to listen to them, do please send us any photographs.
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Faust – The Jewel Song, Le veau d’or, Salut demeure, Avant de quitter, Death of Valentine, Oui c’est toi que j’aime, Church Scene

https://www.clonter.org/faust-videos/

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Reviews

Manchester Theatre Awards – Review by Philip Radcliffe
“… the inventive Clonter take on this mighty work, led by Michael McCaffery and conductor Clive Timms, turns out to be bold, breathtaking and, in the end, brilliant…… The singing overall is first-rate. In the central role of Marguerite, soprano Anna Gillingham is altogether captivating and sings, gloriously ……Mephistopheles, a boo-able figure …. is reminiscent of MC in Cabaret, swaggering woul-be amusing, threatening. Javier Borda, a big man, fills the part splendidly…..”

Manchester Evening News critic Robert Beale
“Music Director Clive Timms and director Michael McCaffery have taken Faust back to its roots as an ‘opéra comique’, with spoken dialogue, and presenting it in English effectively captures its satirical aspect ….with choruses turned into quartets, everyone worked hard, the ‘supporting roles such as Siebel (Katherine Aitken – a young singer with a beautiful tone) and Martha (Heather Ireson – a star in the Royal Northern College of Music opera and a gifted actress) as vital as the main protagonists, as were Thomas Hopkinson, another excellent performer from the RNCM, as Wagner and Dominick Felix as Brander. Paul Curievici (Faust) has the kind of tenor that would fill a much bigger house than Clonter’s and high notes that should take him a long way in the opera world. Javier Borda was excellent as Mephistopheles, with dark, lugubrious tone and a real gift for comedy.”

Opera Magazine’s Margaret Davies
“Clonter’s dedication to furthering the careers of graduates from the leading music academies brought together a well-rehearsed cast. Paul Curievici, who has made his mark in contemporary works, revealed a well-nourished tenor untaxed by the higher reaches of the title role. Anna Gillingham convincingly developed the character of Marguerite from the untroubled transports of her first encounter with Faust to the grief of her desertion ……………… Katherine Aitken was touchingly intense as Siebel. Christopher Cull offered some of the evening’s best singing in Valentine’s final scene, and Thomas Hopkinson and Dominick Felix made characterful Wagner and Brander. Timms presided over a meticulously balanced ensemble.”
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Where Are They Now?

Paul Curievici
Since Faust, Paul has created roles in two world premières at the Royal Opera House’s Linbury Theatre – Titorelli in Philip Glass’ The Trial, and Eames in The Virtues of Things – as well as covering the role of Jack O’Brien in the new Covent Garden production of Kurt Weill’s Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny and singing First Jew for Northern Ireland Opera’s Salome. Further projects have included Jack in The Importance of Being Ernest at the Barbican Theatre and the Lincoln Centre, New York, and the Royal Opera House; and Don Basilio in Scottish Opera’s Le Nozze di Figaro.

Full Bioghttps://www.paulcurievici.co.uk

Gerald Barry’s The Importance of Being Earnest, ROH Finale 2016https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L_-1JxTjnHE
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Thomas Hopkinson
Since performing at Clonter, Thomas went onto perform on the concert platform Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on Christmas Carols and The Sea Symphony, Haydn’s Theresienmesse, The Star Bear in Howard Blake’s The Bear and Handel’s Messiah. In 2015 he went to take part in the Longborough Fesitval Opera, covering Count Ceprano, Rigoletto, and singing chorus in Tristan und Isolde and Rigoletto. Further productions have included Prince Gremin, Eugen Onegin for Opera on Location; Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.

Full Bioghttp://www.tdhopkinson.co.uk

Recordingshttp://www.tdhopkinson.co.uk/audiovisual.html
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Heather Ireson
Since performing the role of Martha in Faust, Heather has since performed the role of 3rd Lady in a touring production of The Magic Flute with Young Opera Venture, and she was selected to be in the chorus for the Glyndebourne Festival. Heather performed in the chorus for Carmen and Polluto, for which she was a part of the UK premiere staging of this little know Donizetti opera.

Full Bioghttp://www.heatherireson.co.uk
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Anna Gillingham
Anna made her international operatic debut at the Opera di Firenze Maggio Musicale playing the role of Governess in Britten’s The Turn of the Screw. Recent concerts have included Der Hirt auf dem Felsen at the Vinterfest in Sweden; Opera arias with the Bilkent Symphony Orchestra in Turkey; and Handel’s Messiah and Mahler’s 4th Symphony in London. Anna went on to sing Pamina in a new production of Die Zauberflöte at Theater Basel the following year.
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Christopher Cull
Bioghttp://www.christophercull.com
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Katherine Aitken
Bioghttps://twitter.com/aitkenkatherine?lang=en
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Testimonials

Anna Gillingham – Marguerite
“It was great to have the opportunity to play a major role in a major piece of operatic repertoire. Having Clive at the helm was a bonus, as was singing with a small orchestra of quality. the experience of living in a beautiful rural place, was a lovely change from city dwelling, where most opera productions are put on, and it was easy to relax in our downtime. Clonter and the surrounding area are magical in the summer! The Locketts made us feel very welcome and well looked after. I found the London Tour to be a useful stepping venture professionally as industry personnel could come.” (The Management Agency, Harrison Parrot signed her up as a result of this)

Paul Curievici – Faust
“The opportunity to learn a major role under the guidance of Clive Timms was a major boon.”

Heather Ireson – Martha
“It was great to work with Clive Timms and Michael McCaffery and the other cast members. I gained a lot from doing an opera production in a working theatre with a live orchestra, with props, set, costume and lighting etc as opposed to scenes or concert opera performance with piano. Having vocal coaching sessions with Clive Timms was an added opportunity – I hugely enjoyed this and gained so much from exploring different opera repertoire with him….. It was a huge challenge to play a role which is meant to be a much older lady. However with Michael’s vision and help, I felt I achieved this and let myself go and really get into the role. It was also a challenge to change roles and portray the ‘Chorus’ characters. Another challenge was to sing with an orchestra – I had to be careful to be heard but not push my voice. With Clive’s help, I feel I rose to the challenge. It was a big decision to come and do the role for a 28 day period in July and 5 day recall in September…… However I am glad I did it as a proper opera production with orchestra is such a good performance experience for a young singer to be offered.

Michael McCaffery – Director
“The occasion offered these young singers a chance to work on material which lay very much in their futures but which, nonetheless, they were able to get to grips with and in some cases negotiate with considerable skill, bringing a condensed and concentrated but not cut down in terms of individual workload and to combine it with an idiomatic dialogue translation of some complexity certainly required a significant and occasionally unexpected move out of several ‘Comfort zones’. This made for an intensive, challenging and demanding rehearsal period and I feel that the majority of them developed as performers across the three months ‘involvement’.

Clive Timms – Music Director
“Faust was an ambitious choice of opera from every point of view. It represented a major vocal and dramatic challenge for all of the cast and in every case extended their experience beyond anything that they had tackled in their earlier training. The size of the principal roles and the vocal demands were daunting and on a scale which the singers concerned were unlikely to have encountered previously, even in the case of those who had some post-conservatoire experience. In addition there was a considerable amount of dialogue – something which singers tend to be nervous about! The role of Faust also gave us the chance to offer an understudy the chance to sing the entire role with orchestra in two separate rehearsals – opportunities which he valued greatly and which considerably helped his development.

Sarah Masters – Orchestral player
“To learn and perform seminal operatic works in this setting is a challenging yet very valuable experience and I can’t think of any such opportunities in the North West”. Learning the repertoire where all parts are essentially solo parts, has been great experience for us, and many of us have gone on to become regular freelancers with Opera North for example – if not permanent members. Both last year’s and this year’s leaders are in the first violin section there!

Elly Andrews – Deputy Stage Manager
“For me this was an experience to try out a new genre of theatre (opera) which I had not worked in before. I took this on as a project, learning to score read before rehearsals began and using the show as a way to grow and expand my professional skills. Being part of a company so dedicated to opera and with a great director and a designer gave me a chance to build contacts and also gave me a chance to experience working with opera singers and an orchestra.” (a past Deputy Stage Manager has gone on to be a DSM for both opera and ballet productions at The Royal Opera House as a result of her time at Clonter)

 

FAUST ALBUM

 

 

Until next week, take care!