Opera For All 2011

Rain and Hail Could Not Dampen the Spirits After Another Successful Opera For All Weekend

Despite the weather trying to hardest to scupper the seventh Opera for All event on Saturday, around 800 people arrived with their picnics, chairs and tables determined to enjoy a fantastic performance of La Boheme.

The cast of professional opera company Opera Brava, including artists who have performed all over the world, more than did justices to Puccini’s finest score La Boheme.

The weather aptly gave a rather too accurate portrayal of the opera’s setting, a cold garret in Paris on Christmas Eve.

But judging by the rapturous applause from the audience, the performance was far from cool.

Rodolfo (Daniel Meades) and Mimi (Gillian Webster) gave a compelling performance of their love affair with tender poignancy, providing the perfect balance to Musetta (Amanda Buckland’s) Flamboyancy.

Arlington Arts Officer Sophie Crookson, who attended, said: “Just wanted to say how much I enjoyed La Boheme at the weekend. It was the third time my partner and I have been to the Opera For All and Saturday’s performance was the best yet. We thought twice about going – with the rain and hail – but we were both very pleased we made the effort! Looking forward to next year’s opera already.”

La Boheme was the culmination of a ‘Weekend of Culture’ at Newbury Racecourse which began on Friday with a brilliant adaptation of C S Lewis’ classic fairytale Prince Caspian, performed by the pupils of the Willows School, Greenham, with the assistance of Opera Brava. After a week of preparing costumes and props and learning lines, proud parents braved the rain to the watch the open air performance in front of Newbury Racecourse’s Grandstand.

Founder and artistic director of Opera Brava Bronek Pomorski said: “We bring opera to the people so they get the opportunity to learn and see all the multiple facets of this great art form. We perform all of our operas in English so the humour and the subtlety of character translates across the ‘footlights’. We like to perform in intimate surroundings so that the audience can see our expressions, believe in the characters and become enveloped in the opera themselves.”

Nicole Granville from Newbury was the lucky winner of Greenham Common Trust’s Opera for All picnic hamper competition. A delighted Mrs Granville posed for a photograph with her hamper full of luxury food and Champagne. She also will receive a pair of tickets to next year’s opera.
"Thank you so much. What a wonderful surprise. I can’t wait to go to next year’s opera,” said Mrs Granville.

 Earlier on Saturday crowds poured into the racecourse to watch, listen and taste the experience from the diversity of cultures in West Berkshire at the ME Forum’s Culture Fest, which was supported by Greenham Common Trust. It was a real celebration with the Dhol Drummers had the audience dancing on stage.    

Greenham Common Trust spokesman Julian May added: “A big thank you to the fantastic cast and crew of Opera Brava, the wonderful orchestra, The Willows School, ME Forum and the attentive staff at Newbury Racecourse for making the weekend such a success. We hope to make next year’s Opera for All event even better.”

We want to hear your views about this year’s opera. And if you didn’t come along this year we would like to find out how we can improve things for next year. Just click on the following link http://www.surveyserver.net/?f=5757 to fill out a short questionnaire.

For more information about Opera Brava please visit their website www.operabrava.co.uk

We have lots of photographs of La Boheme if you would like a copy of yourself or want to see more photographs please email julian@greenham-common-trust.co.uk and I will send you some copies. Look out for an edited video of the performance coming soon.   

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