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2001

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Carmen Hansel and Gretel    

Carmen

   
Cast Heather Shipp (Carmen); David Barrell (Don Jose); Marcelle Clemens (Micaela); Simon Thorpe (Escamillo); Ron Campbell (Morales/Dancairo); Robert Burt (Remendado); Sarah Fox (Frasquita); Heather Fryer (Mercedes) Orlando Schenk (Zuniga); Richard Fell (Lillas Pastia).
Artistic Team Mark Tinkler (Director); Mark W. Dorrell (Conductor); Annabel Lee (Set and Costume Design); Nigel Morgan (Lighting Design); Barbara Frith (Movement Director).
Partner/s Bermuda Festival; Gilbert and Sullivan Society of Bermuda.
Orchestra Bermuda Festival Orchestra.
Venue Ruth Seaton Theatre, Bermuda.

6 performances and residency with education workshops at the Bermuda Festival. EPOC principals and production with local chorus and orchestra.

"Spectacular Carmen is a real show stopper
It is a sight as has never been seen before in Bermuda.  Four Matadors in full gilded regalia parading under the spotlights, waving to the cheering crowds, being showered with red confetti like rose petals. There were gasps of delight as the men, chests out, skintight trousers, heads held high, walked down the aisles of the Ruth Seaton James Centre and on to the stage. This was the last act – and the most spectacular - of Carmen at its premiere on Monday. And the showmanship of the most ostentatious of Operas was used to it’s full.
The costumes were spectacular, all swirling hips and swaggering layers of cloth adding to the fan fare. But the most outstanding thing of the whole show was, as it should be, Carmen herself. Played by Heather Shipp, Carmen was sultry, sexy, bad tempered and hot-headed …… You could feel the steam rise from the stage … sending tingles down your spine. The standing ovation was well-deserved.  More than one person wiped a tear from their eye as Carmen lay dead in the arms of Don Jose.  And if it were not sold out I would go back again tonight."

Mairi Mallon The Royal Gazette 14 Feb 2001

"Triumphant ‘Carmen’ hits a high note
As the curtain fell on Don Jose sobbing over the prone body of Carmen lying in a tangle of blood red flowers, there were cheers and a standing ovation for the cast that had brought one of the world’s most popular operas so brilliantly to life.
This ambitious production represents a milestone in the island’s cultural history.
There were some thrilling accounts of the principal roles, led by Heather Shipp as Carmen …. sensuous, graceful, and possessor of a lyric mezzo soprano voice of great beauty, she is also a consummate actress.  Tenor David Barrell … made a sensational Don Jose.  His voice, one of unstrained ease, warmth and colour, is a sheer joy and, again, he matched technique with an intensity of feeling that was profoundly moving …… Simon Thorpe as Escamillo … clad in an authentic gold-sequinned “suit of lights” …..  boomed over all as he led Carmen and the dramatic procession of picadors and banderilleros in the climactic Cuadrilla.  This was without doubt, the visual triumph of the production.
Both Tinkler and Dorrell have created a memorable production that does justice to this brilliant score and scintillating drama.  There were apparently a few tickets left for the remaining three performances.  Try to grab one – you will love every minute of it."

Patricia Calnan Mid-Ocean News 16 Feb 2001

"A night to remember
There’s probably no better way to describe the production of Carmen that closed last night at the Ruth Seaton James Centre than the way it’s described in the Bermuda Festival souvenir programme  - “a thrilling combined professional and community collaboration.” It was thrilling, it was professional and community theatre combined, and it was a true collaboration.
Members of the UK-based English Pocket Opera Company collaborated to present Bizet’s opera Carmen during the 2001 Festival and, you’ve probably already heard that this production turned out to be everything that everyone involved with it hoped it would be. From the moment the curtain rose, on a stage full from wing to wing with a bustling chorus, to the last scene where Don Jose collapses on the inert body of his beloved Carmen, this production was indeed thrilling.
This truly was a night to remember"

Wendy Davis Johnson Bermuda Radio 19 Feb 2001

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Hansel and Gretel

Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel. Orchestral reduction by David Seaman. English Translation by David Poutney.
21-date national tour half with piano and with 5-piece orchestra; Education project with Lambeth LEA schools.

   
Participating Schools Woodmansterne Primary School St Judes Primary School Immanuel & St Andrews Primary School Charles Edward Brooke Secondary School Elm Wood Primary School Loughborough Primary School Johanna Primary School, Lambeth Henry Fawcett Primary School Rosendale Primary School St. Stephens Primary School SW8 Richard Atkins Primary School
Cast Jessica Walker, Arlene Rolph (Hansel); Felicity Hammond, Charlotte Kinder, Anne Bourne (Gretel); Sarah Rhodes (Mother, Witch, Dew Fairy); Richard Morrison, Simon Thorpe (Father, Sandman), Nicola Howard (Dew Fairy, Sandman).
Artistic Team Richard Peirson, Kevin Thraves (Music Director); Mark Tinkler (Director); Annabel Lee (Designer); Rachel Shipp (Lighting Design); Matt Bernstein (Sound Design); Phillipa Luce (Movement).
Orchestra Orchestral members of the Brandenburg Sinfonia
Supporters The Foyle Foundation; Friends of EPOC; The National Lottery “Awards for All” programme; Lambeth Education Business Partnership; Sir Walter St. John’s Educational Charity; The Paul Hamlyn Foundation; The Walcot Educational Foundation; Esmée Fairbairn Foundation; Xchanging.
Venues Cochrane Theatre, London: Leighton Buzzard Theatre; The Old Town Hall, Hemel Hempstead; Merlin Theatre, Froome; Vera Fletcher Hall, Thames Ditton; King’s Lynn Arts Centre; Kenton Theatre, Henley; Cholmondeley Castle; ADC Theatre, Cambridge; Wiltshire Music Centre; North Westminster Studio Theatre; Ryan Theatre, Harrow School; Edward Alleyn Theatre, Dulwich College

 

"…'pocket opera' signified a small-scale production …… which combined to distil the essence of Humperdinck's opera. ………a splendidly OTT Witch, straight out of pantomime, flamboyant in scarlet.. ………the children in the audience delighted in her antics."

Margaret Davies. Opera

"Jessica Walker’s Hansel is the best I have ever seen.  Her integration of the musical and the dramatic is extraordinary, like watching a real boy caught between the imperatives of fear and bravado."

David Blewitt. The Stage

"From this performance in February, it was clear that though this company is small scale, the magic they bring is industrial sized. The cast were perfect in their roles…… it leaves the audience with more than a sense of their money's worth."

Rosalynd Payne. The Artery

"Pocket-sized they may be, but in terms of quality of performance, the English Pocket Opera Company were much larger. A tuneful score was realised with outstanding singing …… This was a most satisfying performance of a work that makes a good introduction to opera for those of all ages with its underlying theme of good triumphant over evil."

David Johnson.  Eastern Daily Press

‘Zappo! Wot an experience!’…… ‘Excellent again’ …… ‘Brilliant’ ……… ‘Just superb’ (Andy) ………… ‘Very Enjoyable – thank you – an excellent performance.  Come back again!’ (Eileen) ……… ‘I thort it was very good - from Laura added 3½’ ……… Wow what an experience! Well done 2 all, especially the kids!’

Audience members comment book.  Old Town Hall, Hemel Hempstead

"Thank you for a most enjoyable performance of Hansel and Gretel … Our party consisted of 3 families and friends: 24 people covering a wide age range, and it was a good experience for all. Thank you for doing it with so much wellie. The small forces made it as intense an experience as chamber music, and your obvious love for the work (not to mention its own brilliant qualities) ensured its success."

Mr. Davies.  Audience member from Bradford-upon -Avon

"This week English Pocket Opera Company came into the school to give an hour's presentation. You might have expected the kids to be bored or alienated, but it went down a storm. The singers performed a variety of arias that had been used in adverts and the kids realised they knew a great deal more opera than they had imagined. It was one of the most popular events the school has ever arranged"

Paul Jenkins (Lambeth teacher) quoted in The Guardian

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