We are delighted to share the exciting news that 2017 sees our first foray into Opera and a production of The Marriage of Figaro by Felici, an experienced company of singers and musicians, bringing classical, opera and musical theatre to audiences.
Felici are based in the Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire regions and are returning to Elmslie with a specially adapted version of Figaro after their fantastic debut here last April, which saw them perform a Gala Opera Night from which all profits from were donated to the National Kidney Federation and Macmillan.
This time round their charitable endeavours will be going to support Parkinson UK.
Tickets are £25.00 and include a glass of bubbly. Doors will open at 6.30pm for the performance to commence at 7.00pm.
To buy tickets, please scroll down to the bottom of the page, or tickets can also be purchased via Eventbrite.
Here’s a quick low-down on the performers, and for those of you who don’t know the plot of Figaro, a short summary to set the scene.
Zoe adores singing Mozart. It was as a teenager in an all-girls production of “The Magic Flute” in the role of Papageno that her parents realised she “could sing” and enrolled her for singing lessons at the Watford School of Music. Since then she has sung more-or-less constantly and most recently has trained privately using the methods of David Jones taught by her friend and teacher Liz Harley.
Zoe has worked professionally as a soprano soloist and has played roles in many amateur theatrical shows – favourites include Mabel Pirates of Penzance, Tzietel Fiddler on the Roof and Baker’s Wife Into the Woods. She has spent many years producing shows and events in the areas of entertainment and education. As a founding director of Felici, she takes great pleasure in working with the talented Felici performers to deliver creative and high-quality musical entertainment, excellently performed and beautifully presented in an environment of fun and friendship.
and Margaret Johnson
Margaret is co-founder and Musical Director of Felici. She trained at the Royal College of Music and has worked with operatic societies, music groups, choirs and soloists, as conductor, Musical Director and accompanist – primarily in the North Herts/Beds area. She especially enjoys working with the voice, being equally at home in opera, operetta, art song and musical theatre. A retired primary headteacher and Lay Minister, Margaret teaches singing and works as vocal coach and repetiteur. With her co-founder, Zoe Jasko, she has been involved in organising and devising a wide range of Felici events since the group’s inception – from classical concerts and tea afternoons to themed evenings such as Fairies in the Garden. As a lover of Mozart, she is especially delighted to be musically directing one of her favourite operas!
James Gower (Bass) was born in Newport, South Wales and was a music scholar at Monmouth School before gaining scholarships to both St John’s College, Cambridge and the Royal Academy of Music. As a young singer, James had a burgeoning operatic career, having performed roles with WNO, ENO and Glyndebourne as well as appearing at the Proms and on TV and Radio. His debut at English National Opera was performing Lord Krishna/Parsi Rustomji in Satyagraha by Philip Glass. He subsequently joined the ENO Young Singers Programme and performed many more roles at ENO including Ormonte in Partenope which won an Olivier award and featured a cast of world renowned Handelian singers.
After his third child was born, James had a vocal injury and had to step back from performing for a short time. His recovery was masterminded by the world renowned singer teacher, David Jones, and after discovering that he could sing better than ever he became passionate about sharing his knowledge through teaching. James has performed many of the major roles in the bass repertoire such as Raimondo Lucia di Lammermoor; Seneca L’Incoronazione di Poppea; Colline La Bohème; Bartolo/Antonio Le Nozze di Figaro; Leporello Don Giovanni; Alidoro Cenerentola; Prince Gremin, Eugene Onegin. However, he is very excited to be performing the role of Figaro in The Marriage of Figaro for the first time with such a wonderful company of friends.
Richard Perry was a chorister in St John’s College Choir, Cambridge, a Choral Scholar in Christ Church Cathedral Choir in Oxford and a member of Trinity College Choir Cambridge. With these choirs he has performed in venues all over the world including USA, Australia, Japan and Europe.
He studied with Liane Keegan, Janice Chapman and Raymond Connell.
He has performed alongside many choirs including Phoenix Singers (Suffolk), Elysian Singers and De Beauvoir Singers (London), performing baritone solos in works including Messiah (Handel), Magnificat and Christmas Oratorio (Bach), Mass in C minor (Mozart) and German Requiem (Brahms).
As a recitalist he has performed in many venues in Central London including The Bloomsbury Theatre and he has regularly contributed to Friends Music at the Meeting House in Welwyn Garden City.
He appeared as ‘The Reverend’ in Kurt Weill’s ‘Happy End’ for Oxford Dance Theatre, and he has frequently performed at ‘Spaghetti Opera’ on Fleet Street.
Suzanna studied with Valerie Masterson at the Royal Academy of Music. After graduating, she studied with Liane Keegan, Janice Chapman and Sue Anderson.
Oratorio repertoire includes Dyson Hierusalem, Mozart Exsultate Jubilate and Rutter Requiem, (London Choral Society/Ronald Corp). In Honneger’s dramatic oratorio, ‘Joan of Arc at the Stake’, she sang the Virgin Mary,(Crouch End Festival Chorus/David Temple). Operatic roles include Ludmilla in Smetena’s Bartered Bride (Almaviva Opera) and Belinda in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, on tour in Catalonia, directed by Nigel Rogers
Suzanna gives regular recitals for the‘Friends Music’ Series in Welwyn Garden City. She sings with the Ensemble of St Luke’s Quartet in Merseyside, and with Occasional Strings in London and Hertfordshire.
She has sung in masterclasses for Nicolai Gedda, Robert Tear, Jill Gomez, Valerie Masterson, Nigel Rogers and Denis Stevens and has been the featured artist with the North London Philharmonia.
Suzanna balances her oratorio, opera and recital career with singing teaching, in Hertfordshire, where she lives with her husband and two daughters.
Gordon started singing when he was very young in his local church choir. He has also trained in many styles of dance. He attended the Royal Northern College of Music under the tutelage of Peter Wilson. Gordon has performed in many genres of shows, including opera, operetta, Gilbert and Sullivan, musical and pantomime. He especially loves Mozart and previous roles have included Basillio (Marriage of Figaro), Tamino (The Magic Flute) and Remendado (Carmen). He is thrilled to be Felici’s production of The Marriage of Figaro .
and last but by no means least
Mary Anstey – Pianist
Mary learned piano from the age of 4 with Dorothy Hess in Welwyn Garden City. She obtained a Pianoforte Performer Diploma from the Royal Academy of Music in 1990 and a Certificate in Piano Pedagogy from the European Piano Teachers Association in 2004. She enjoys playing chamber music in a variety of piano, wind and string ensembles and is a member of the Gamay ensemble who perform regularly at venues in and around Hertfordshire. She is the accompanist for the Welwyn Garden City Male Voice Choir.
Here’s a Quick Plot Summary . . .
It is summer 1910, the setting a large country house, much like the fictional Downton Abbey. It is the wedding day of Figaro and Susanna, servants of Count and Countess Almaviva. While social change is imminent, the days of aristocratic philandering are not yet over and Susanna is the Count’s current interest. Using the singing teacher Basilio as his mouthpiece the Count attempts to make his intentions plain to the soon-to-be-bride. When Figaro learns of this, he vows to foil the Count’s intentions: Susanna will write to the Count agreeing to a rendezvous, but they will send the adolescent, love-sick page, Cherubino, dressed in women’s clothes in Susanna’s place. The Countess, sad that her husband no longer loves her and tired of his unfaithfulness, gives her consent to the plan.
Cherubino has a happy knack of being in the wrong place at the wrong time and has been officially banished to the army by the Count. However he is still here, with his adored Countess.. At the very moment that she and Susana disguise him, the Count arrives unexpectedly. Figaro’s plan is duly scuppered. Cherubino is forced to flea by jumping from the Countess’ bedroom window, observed by the gardener Antonio who adds fuel to fire by reporting to the Count that an unknown man has been in the Countess’ chambers. In the meantime, Marcellina, the housekeeper, has appeared with her lawyer, Bartolo, to remind Figaro that she has lent him money. If he fails to repay the loan, he has to marry Marcellina. It certainly looks as if Figaro and Susanna’s wedding plans are doomed.
But, in a new turn of events, it seems that Figaro is the long-lost son of Bartolo and Marcellina! Figaro and Susanna’s plans to marry may now go ahead at last. Indeed a double wedding is planned, with Bartolo and Marcellina also finally tying the knot.
Meanwhile the Count continues to pursue Susanna… To repay and trick her philandering husband, the Countess decides that she herself will disguise herself as Susanna to meet him in the garden that evening. The Count goes to goes to woo the woman he thinks is Susanna. But they are not alone. Figaro, hearing that his wife has an assignation with Count, has decided to observe. Susanna, in her disguise, decides that her new untrusting husband also needs a lesson. Finally the Countess reveals herself to her husband and he receives her gracious forgiveness. For today, at least, all is well and it is finally a day of gladness!
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