Bath Russian Opera and Bath Chamber Opera
Bath Russian Opera was set up to perform Malcolm Hill’s recent Comedy-Opera, The Bear, very loosely based on the play of the same name by Chekhov, and given its U.K. première on Friday 18th November 2011 at the Rondo Theatre, Larkhall, Bath, performed by Bath Russian Opera. The libretto had been enlivened by Gene Tyburn (and Katharine Tylko) but with elements of farce and some humorous plot twists and turns not in other versions.
Bath Chamber Opera is the same group, but without the Russian connection, and in 2016 the two groups merged to keep the name Bath Chamber Opera, which specialized (but not exclusively) in comedy-opera (i.e. unlike comic opera it is sung throughout).
The original members of Bath Russian Opera in The Bear were:
Julia Rushworth (Soprano) as Mrs Popova,
Simon Caldwell (Baritone) as the servant Luka
Paul Feldwick (Bass) as Smirnov
Malcolm Hill (Director)
Also in Bath Chamber Opera’s repertoire is a chamber version of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin. Parts of this were performed on Friday 24th May 2013 at the Friends Meeting House, York Street, Bath, as part of the Bath Festival Party-in-the-City. These parts were repeated and enlarged in Box, Wiltshire, on Saturday 28th September 2013.
Julia Rushworth (Tatiana)
Simon Caldwell (Onegin)
Paul Feldwick (Gremin)
In their 2015 performances, the cast was augmented by
Jane Hunt (Soprano) and Rob Jack (Tenor) in
(based on Aristophanes’ The Assembly Women) –
A Comedy-Opera of Sex and Socialism in Ancient Athens
and another comedy-opera:
The first official performance of Women on Top took place on Wednesday 11th February 2015 at 7.30 at the Rondo Theatre, Bath, preceded by How the Viking got his Horns – a curtain-raiser comedy-opera by Malcolm Hill – with members of the Bath Chandos Singers forming a “Greek Chorus”
Women on Top: in ancient Athens, the women take over the government from the men, and pass new laws establishing common ownership and sexual equality. Based on Aristophanes’ timeless, surreal and politically incorrect satire Assembly Women, with more cross-dressing and toilet humour than any Christmas panto, Malcolm Hill’s music brilliantly evokes operatic styles from Handel to Stravinsky.
How the Viking got his Horns: a tale of medieval shamans and shapeshifting set in a 9th century Novgorod Health Centre where shamans are the established medics and Western medicine is considered “alternative”.
Altogether, an evening full of delicious anachronisms that lived up to Dr Johnson’s definition of opera as ‘exotic and irrational entertainment’.
Preview performances of Women on Top were: one scene on 16th May 2014 at 7.00 at the United Reformed Church in Bath (as part of Bath Festivals’ Party-in-the-City), and all four scenes on 18th May 2014 in Box, Wiltshire.
A shortened version of How the Viking got his Horns was performed on 15th May 2015 at 7.30 at the United Reformed Church in Bath (as part of Bath Festivals’ Party-in-the-City).
A one-act comedy-opera, the first performance was on 19th August 2017. For details please click here.
This one-act comedy-opera by Malcolm Hill had its first full performance in the winter of 2017/18. For details please click here.
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