It sounds a bit gushy, but everyone who watched this opera production – superbly directed and produced by Lianne, and cast entirely from 7-11 students – was simply bowled over by the skill, passion, commitment, musicality, comic timing and sheer bloomin’ professionalism of this young and incredibly talented cast. Not only did the look great; they sounded great, whether in poignant solos, lyrical and comic duets, trios and quartets, and in gutsy, full-blooded choruses. Who will ever be able to see anyone but Emmie Bailey as the wide-eyed, hormone-driven adolescent lad Cherubino, leaping off the stage to sing to the audience? Who could compare with Agnes’s Countess, Will’s Count, with Bea and Theo as Susanna and Figaro, and with Emily, Daisy, Tabby and Nieve as sweet Barbarina, Antonia the gardener, Dr Bartolo and the many-named Marcellina? And that is without even getting to Eliza as the music teacher, and all of our wonderful chorus, to Dom and George on the lighting desk and Cara and Arabella backstage, battling with the wedding arch in near total darkness and generally orgainising everyone. What a team! Just so good.
As I said to some prospective students and parents at Open Morning, when a rehearsal was going full-tilt in the Music Room, this opera production sums up what the Music Department, and in a broader sense d’Overbroeck’s, is all about: providing opportunities for all to excel, being utterly inclusive, stretching our amazingly talented students, creating an atmosphere of mutual support and positivity, and harnessing the enthusiasm of our students to achieve something truly special and memorable. That’s d’Overbroeck’s, right there. We should bottle it.
We were proud to work with such a dedicated and lovely cast, who gave not one but two mighty performances in one evening, and then came in to school the next day! This production, and the people in it, will take quite some bettering. Thanks also go to Sandy Mackenzie and Rose Poyser for playing so wonderfully in the band, to Lianne for directing, producing, writing the script, arranging the music and generally improving on Mozart and Da Ponte’s effort, to Rachel for preparing the singers, and to all who helped set up the stage and turn the hall into a world-class opera hall!
A few quotes from our audience:
“I reckon ‘Dare to Aspire’ should be Lianne’s motto! And what a brilliant way it is to go beyond what may seem possible; and to continue, year after year, opening new horizons for students, enabling them to reach for the best in themselves while also discovering music they may not otherwise have come across or thought remotely of interest. Figaro was a joy – from the vibrant, uplifting overture (was it really only three musicians?!) and all the way through.”
“What a wonderful evening we had at the opera last night! It was hilarious and brilliant, all your performers were superstars and we felt thoroughly spoilt sipping champagne and being so beautifully entertained.”
“That was fantastic! Great casting too. Very good job.
How about Cosi next time?”
Richard Poyser, d’Overbroeck’s Director of Music