Opera Gala Evening – Cranleigh Arts Centre

Left to right: Simon Haynes (piano) Stephen Dennison (volunteer) Claire Pendleton (Soprano) Bob Wild (Chairman CAC) Adam Sullivan (Tenor) Karen Foster (Mezzo) Paul Sheehan (Baritone)

Four soloists from English National Opera raised funds sustain live chamber music in Cranleigh

The stars from ENO brought an eclectic mix of solo, duets, trios and chorus from the range of opera including Gilbert and Sullivan, Mozart, Strauss, Tchaikovsky, Bernstein and more. Although a hot evening in this summer’s heat wave the auditorium was suitably cooled by the air conditioning at Cranleigh Arts, but switched off while singing to preserve the professional voices!

The evening started with a lively rendition of the Champagne chorus from Die Fledermaus, followed by the delicate Flower Duet from Lakme. While the Cranleigh audience is well used to the satellite streamed Royal Opera performances on cinema screen, the engagement with the live performers close up in the intimate auditorium was a magical experience. All the singers introduced their songs with humour. After delicate solos of Song to the Moon, from Rusalka and Kuda, Kuda from Eugene Onegin, the first half ended with the well-loved Papageno/Papagena from Magic Flute.

The second half was very light hearted including the use of expendable props like a child’s dinosaur skeleton; and the policeman’s hat in When a foeman bares his Steel. The audience much enjoyed the rivalry of tenor and baritone in the parody by HJ Wilson. Love and passion was restored with a beautiful full voiced rendering of Vilja from The Merry Widow.

After rapturous applause from the closing Regular Royal Queen from The Gondoliers, the singers came back for an encore of Somewhere by Bernstein.

One elderly resident of Ewhurst congratulated the singers after the show saying “It was just like being at Covent Garden. Thank you so much”

A great time was had by all and in excess of £1500 was raised to support the sustainability of live classical chamber music at Cranleigh Arts Centre, a registered charity.

The classical music season restarts on 28th September with an evening of English songs, including Elgar’s much loved Sea pictures, performed by mezzo Anna Harvey with Ian Tindale on piano. Note box office re-opens Tuesday 4th September after summer maintenance closure.

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