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Norma

Vincenzo Bellini - Spring 2009

ETO is presenting this concert performance of Norma, Bellini’s monumental bel canto classic. Yvonne Howard and Alwyn Mellor head an outstanding cast as Norma and Adalgisa, the close friends who become rivals in love.

As part of the celebrations marking ETO’s 30th anniversary, the company presents a series of concert performances of the pinnacle of bel canto, Bellini’s magnificent Norma. It is a story of strong emotions, in which a druid priestess is nearly driven to kill her own children in order to avenge the infidelity of their father, a Roman general. Though best known for the wonderful aria “Casta diva”, the score includes many other equally thrilling arias and duets, and one of the most rousing choruses in 19th century opera.

ETO’s concert version features three outstanding British singers in their prime – Yvonne Howard, Alwyn Mellor and Justin Lavender – together with Polish bass Piotr Lempa. Unusually, the voices have been chosen to match Bellini’s original casting as closely as possible. Music Director Michael Rosewell conducts an augmented ETO Orchestra for this special occasion.

“Yvonne Howard magnificent” (as Norma) “a performer of dignity and grace” “Her voice was flexible powerful and impressive”

Fiona Maddocks, The Observer

Showing At

  1. Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham
    18th Mar 2009 - 7:30 pm
  2. Lighthouse, Poole
    26th Mar 2009 - 7:30 pm
  3. Exeter Northcott Theatre
    1st Apr 2009 - 7:30 pm
  4. Cadogan Hall
    27th Apr 2009 - 7:30 pm
  5. West Road Concert Hall, Cambridge
    11th May 2009 - 7:30 pm
  6. Coronation Hall, Ulverston
    19th May 2009 - 7:30 pm
  1. Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham — 18th Mar 2009 - 7:30 pm

    Regent Street, Cheltenham, GL50 1HQ

  2. Lighthouse, Poole — 26th Mar 2009 - 7:30 pm

    Kingland Road, Poole, BH15 1UG

  3. Exeter Northcott Theatre — 1st Apr 2009 - 7:30 pm

    Exeter Northcott, Stocker Road, Exeter, EX4 4QB

  4. Cadogan Hall — 27th Apr 2009 - 7:30 pm

    5 Sloan Terrace, London, SW1X 9DQ

  5. West Road Concert Hall, Cambridge — 11th May 2009 - 7:30 pm

    11 West Road, Cambridge, CB3 9DP

  6. Coronation Hall, Ulverston — 19th May 2009 - 7:30 pm

    County Square, Ulverston, LA12 7LZ

Cast

Alwyn Mellor

Alwyn Mellor

Soprano

Alwyn studied at RNCM.  Operatic roles include Fiordiligi/Così fan tutte, Donna Elvira/Don Giovanni, Liù/Turandot and Senta/Der fliegende Holländer (WNO); La Wally, Santuzza/Cavalleria Rusticana and Elettra/Idomeneo(Chelsea Opera Group); Mimì/La bohème and Agathe/Der Freischütz (ENO); Donna Elvira/Don Giovanni (GTO) Marenka/The Bartered Bride, Chrysothemis/Elektra and Tatyana/Eugene Onegin (ON); Gerhilde/Die Walküre (Edinburgh Festival), Euridice/Orfeo ed Euridice (Palacio de Festivales de Cantabria); Hanna Glawari/The Merry Widow, Ariadne/Ariadne auf Naxos (Opera Ireland); Donna Elvira/Don Giovanni and Chrysothemis/Elektra (Canadian Opera Company); Countess Almaviva/Le nozze di Figaro, Fiordiligi/Così fan tutte and Alice Ford/Falstaff (Santa Fe Opera).  Concert appearances include performances with the BBC Orchestras, the CBSO, the Hallé, the LPO and the RLPO, as well as  with the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra di Padova e del Veneto, the Orchestre National de Lyon, the Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg, the Orchestre Symphonique et Lyrique de Nancy, the Orquesta Simfonica de Barcelona, the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra and the Orquesta Sinfónica de Galicia. Future includes title role in Tosca (WNO).

Robert Davies

Robert Davies

Bass

Robert studied at the University of Sheffield and GSMD. He received the 2003 Erich Vietheer Memorial Award at Glyndebourne and appeared as Mr. Gedge/Albert Herring, Marcello/La Boheme, Count Almaviva/Le Nozze di Figaro and Doctor Falke/Die Fledermaus on the Festival Tour. Other notable roles at Glyndebourne include Curo/Julio Cesare, Indian/The Bartered Bride, Guccio/Gianni Schicchi, Shepherd/Pelleas et Melisande and Guide/Carmen. He was Greek Captain in the Gramophone Award-winning production of Les Troyens at (Châtelet Theatre). Other roles include Lalo’s premiere of Verrina/Fiesque (UCL); Belcore/L’Elisir d’Amore and Sharpless/Madame Butterfly (Opera Box); Dancaïre/Carmen and Jailer/Tosca (Diva Opera). Concert performances include Monteverdi Vespers (St. Mark’s, Venice), Handel Messiah (St. David’s Hall, Cardiff), Elgar The Kingdom and Caractacus, Mendelssohn Elijah and Orff Carmina Burana.

Richard Roberts

Richard Roberts

Tenor

Richard studied at the University of Kansas. Operatic engagements include Matteo/Arabella (Opera Australia); Truffaldino/The Love of Three Oranges and Witch/Hansel and Gretel (Staatstheatre Kassell); Rinuccio/Gianni Schicchi, Platon Karataeyev/War and Peace and Goro/Madame Butterfly (ENO); Pinkerton/Madame Butterfly (OHP). Concert appearances include Salome (LSO at the Barbican); Beethoven Choral Symphony (Brighton Dome); Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg (Stadhalle Kassel); Mozart Requiem (RFH); Steuermann/Flying Dutchman (RPO at the Barbican). He recorded the role of Bardolf in Falstaff for Chandos Records and is the voice of the Cockerel on the BBC Films animated version of Janacek’s Cunning Little Vixen. He has recently performed Prince/Rusalka, Rudolfo/La Boheme and Steva/Jenufa with the ETO.

Piotr Lempa

Piotr Lempa

Bass

Piotr Lempa is a native of Poland and graduate of RAM, Cardiff International Academy of Voice and the Vocal and Acting Faculty at the Music Academy in Gdansk, Poland. He made his opera debut singing Oroveso Norma for ETO. He has since appeared in productions of La bohème, Die Zauberflöte, Ariadne auf Naxos, Kátya Kabanová, Halka, Don Giovanni, Rigoletto, Le nozze di Figaro, Bastien und Bastienne, and Salome, in Wales, England, Germany and Poland. Future plans include Sarastro (Die Zauberflöte), Patroclus (King Priam) and Publius (La Clemenza di Tito). www.piotrlempa.com

Patricia Orr

Patricia Orr

Chorus

Patricia trained at RCM and the National Opera Studio.  She was the 2006 winner of the Alfred Alexander Prize, finalist in the 2006 Royal Overseas League Competition and a 2008 finalist in the Bruce Millar Competition.  She has received an Independent Opera Voice Fellowship, a Donald Dewar Arts Award, a Madeline Finden Award and Sir Richard Stapley Award. Operatic roles include Laura/Iolanta (OHP); Enfant/L’Enfant et les Sortilèges, Bianca/The Rape of Lucretia, Prince Orlovsky/Die Fledermaus (RCM); Tolomeo/Tolomeo (London Handel Society); Yolande/The Sofa (Independent Opera), in addition to covering Conception/L’Heure Espagnole (RCM); Flora/La Traviata and Tisbe/Cenerentola (SO); Rosina/Il Barbiere di Siviglia (ENO) and Julia/The Departed (Independent Opera). In concert, Patricia has worked with the London Mozart Players, the English Chamber Orchestra, the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and the Edinburgh Quartet. She has recently performed the Sorceress/Dido and Aeneas and Orimeno/Erismene with ETO. Future plans include Varvara/Katya Kabanova (OHP).

Niamh Kelly

Niamh Kelly

Mezzo-soprano

From Moville, Co Donegal, Niamh is an hons graduate of NUI Maynooth and University of Limerick. Supported by the Arts Council of Ireland she then attended RNCM graduating with a Postgraduate Diploma in Performance with Distinction. She continues her studies with Anne Mason.

The first recipient of ETO’s Young Artist Bursary Niamh’s operatic performances include Cherubino, The Marriage of Figaro, Hermia, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, 3rd lady, The Magic Flute, Smeton, Anna Bolena, Mrs Ott, Susannah and Olga, Eugene Onegin (all ETO), Dorabella, Cosi fan tutte (Mananan Opera Festival), Maurya, Riders to the Sea (Opera Fringe Northern Ireland); Cherubino, Le Nozze di Figaro, Mercedes, Carmen (Opera Brava); Eurynome, Penelope (Wexford Festival Opera).

Recent performances include 1st Norn and Grimgerde in concert performances of Götterdämmerung and Die Walkure with The Wagner Society and David Syrus, and Hansel in NI Opera’s production of Hansel and Gretel.

Helen Johnson

Helen Johnson

Mezzo Soprano

Helen studied her PG Diploma at TCM and is represented by Steven Swales.
Opera roles include Azucena Trovatore, Annina Traviata (Dorset Opera); Larina Onegin (Stanley Hall); Bianca Lucretia, Marcellina Figaro (Opera East); Jezibaba Rusalka (Iford); Marguerite Faust (Pigotts); Mrs Goodbody Parson’s Pirates (Opera Della Luna).
For ETO Helen has sung Kolusina Jenůfa, Filipyevna Onegin, Feklusha Katya Kabanova, Clotilde Norma; covered Larina Onegin, Giovanna Seymour Anna Bolena, Kabanicha Katya Kabanova, Frugola Tabarro and Agnes Fantastic Mr Fox.
In 2008 Helen was a Wagner Society Bayreuth Bursary Competition Finalist.
Future engagements include Mozart Requiem, Coventry Philharmonic Choir, Mezzo Soloist, June 2014.

Christopher Diffey

Christopher Diffey

Tenor

Christopher Diffey was born in Melbourne and graduated with Honours from Monash University. He also trained at the Royal Academy of Music in London. Awards include the Alan McArthur Memorial Award, Norman McCann Scholarship, Picker Trust Award, Rhoda Jones Roberts Scholarship, finalist in the Jackdaws Great Elm Vocal Awards at Wigmore Hall and Josephine Baker Trust. Operatic roles include Cyril/Princess Ida (Buxton International Gilbert & Sullivan Festival); Second Priest/The Magic Flute (OHP); Pane/La Calisto and Dardanus/Dardanus(RAO); Count Almaviva/Il Barbiere di Siviglia (Dartington International Summer School); Lensky/Eugene Onegin (Opera by Definition); Captain Macheath/The Beggar’s Opera (Surrey Opera). Concert experience includes tenor solos of Bach’s Mass in A Major.

Charne Rochford

Charne Rochford

Tenor

Flavio

Charne was born in London and trained at RAM. Roles include Eisenstein (RPO), Cavaradossi (Bermuda Festival), 1st Armed Man/ 2nd Priest (Glyndebourne/ON), Rodolpho (Lyric Opera, Dublin), Bacchus (Strauss Festival, London), Il Duca di Mantua (Neumunster Abbey, Luxembourg) Previously for ETO he has sung both Luigi Il tabarro and Adorno Simon Boccanegra. Recent concert work includes Glass’ Satyagraha for the Blickfelder Festival, Switzerland and a series of Verdi’s Requiem at Victoria Hall, Geneva and at Lausanne Cathedral. He made his cinematic debut as 2nd Officer in The Magic Flute, directed by Kenneth Branagh. Future engagements Rossini Stabat Mater at Exeter Cathedral, Canio I Pagliacci for Opera de Baugé and Lyonel Martha for the Volksoper Zürich.

Yvonne Howard

Yvonne Howard

Soprano

A graduate of the Royal Northern College of Music, Yvonne’s early operatic roles include the title role La Cenerentola (ETO); Marcellina/The Marriage of Figaro (Glyndebourne); Fricka/Waltraute/Ring Saga (CBTO). Other operatic roles include Ludmilla/The Barted Bride, Mercedes/Carmen, Karolka/Jenufa‚ 2nd/3rd Lady/Die Zauberflöte, Suzuki/Madama Butterfly and title role Fidelio (ROH); Maddalena/Rigoletto‚ Eboli/Don Carlos‚ Evadne/Troilus and Cressida, Hippolyta/A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Verdi’s Lady Macbeth/Macbeth (ON); Eduige/Rodelinda (OTC); Marcellina/The Marriage of Figaro, Meg Page/Falstaff, 3rd Lady/The Magic Flute (ENO); title role Fidelio and Laura/La Gioconda (OHP). Yvonne also played Marilyn Klinghoffer in the film The Death of Klinghoffer. Recital and oratorio work includes Strauss Four Last Songs, Elgar Sea Pictures and Dream of Gerontius as well as song cycles of Mahler, Wagner and Berlioz.

Justin Lavender

Justin Lavender

Tenor

Operatic engagements include Nadir/The Pearl Fishers (Sydney Opera House); Arnold/William Tell (ROH); Tamino/The Magic Flute (Vienna State Opera); Count Ory/Count Ory (La Scala); Faust/Faust (ROH); Don José/Carmen (WNO); Florestan/Lenore (Chelsea Opera Group); Loge/Das Rheingold (Latvian National Opera and Norway’s Bergen Festival); Duke/Rigoletto (Florida Grand Opera); Don Ottavio/Don Giovanni (Teatro La Fenice); Belmonte/Il Seraglio (Vienna and Berlin State Operas); Ferrando/Cosi fan tutte (Teatro la Fenice); Almaviva/The Barber of Seville (Pittsburgh Opera House and ROH); Faust/Damnation de Faust (Helsinki, Paris, Bordeaux). Having worked with conductors such as Solti, Haitink, Giulini, Runnicles, Hickox, Dutoit, Sinopoli, Elder and Abbado, Mr. Lavender is well-known on the concert platform, especially for performances of Edgar Gerontius, Verdi Requiem, Mahler 8th Symphony and Schmidt Das Buch mit sieben Siegeln. He has made many commercial recordings and is a Professor of Vocal Studies at the Royal College of Music.

Cara McHardy

Cara McHardy

Soprano

Cara studied at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique, GSMD and Napier University. She was a 2007/8 Finalist at the Beyreuth Bursary Competition, Sir John Leng Trust Gold Medallist and winner of a Harold Gray Memorial Prize for singing at Napier University. Operatic engagements include Leonora/Leonora (Bampton Opera); Tosca/Tosca and Abigaille/Nabucco (Kentish Opera); Clorinda/La Cenorntola (Opera Omnibus). She also recently covered Turandot/Turandot for Dorset Opera. Concert engagements include Berio Sequenza III (Guildhall); George Crumb Ancient Voices of Children; Bach Magnificat and Cantata No. 12. Cara was recently featured in an Antahkarana DVD Handel’s Nine German Arias, an urban Baroque film.

Crew

Michael Rosewell

Michael Rosewell

Conductor

Michael began his career at the Vienna State Opera as a member of the music staff and assistant to Claudio Abbado. Having worked closely with many of the world’s greatest singers including Pavarotti, Domingo, Gruberova, Freni, Carreras, Alfredo Kraus, and Cappuccilli, he went on to conduct extensively throughout Germany; notably the opera houses in Kassel, Wiesbaden and the Nationaltheater, Mannheim, where he held the position of Kapellmeister. He has also conducted at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, for Kent Opera, ENO, and regularly at the International Festivals in Aldeburgh, Bath, Perth, Buxton and Montepulciano.

In concert Michael has conducted amongst others, the Staatsorchester, Rheinische Philharmonie, the Nationalorchester, Mannheim, the Staatsorchester, Wiesbaden, the Pforztheimer Kammerorchester, the Orchestra of Scottish Opera, the RTE Symphony Orchestra, the London Mozart Players, the BT Scottish Ensemble and the Aurora Orchestra. He has also worked extensively with leading period instrument ensemble ‘The London Handel Orchestra’ with which, as ‘Associate Conductor’, he introduced many rarely performed Handel operas to the London stage. He has broadcast for Radio France Musique, RTE Dublin and Süddeutsche Rundfunk. His recording of Lehar arias, with Grammy award winning tenor Alfie Boe and the Orchestra of Scottish Opera was recently re-released under the Decca record label.

Recent projects include mentoring Craig Revel Horwood through to winning the BBC Maestro at the Opera, filmed in association with the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, to conducting a Bach’s St John Passion with the RTE Symphony Orchestra, Dublin. His most recent performances with ETO included Michael Tippett’s King Priam at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; a production which won the Olivier Award for ‘Outstanding Achievement in Opera’, 2014.

4 out of 5 stars “Michael Rosewell’s taut, well-paced conducting of a responsive orchestra was another of the evening’s pleasure” “well worth catching this fine concert performance”

Rupert Christiansen, Daily Telegraph

“Yvonne Howard magnificent” (as Norma) “a performer of dignity and grace” “Her voice was flexible powerful and impressive”

Fiona Maddocks, The Observer

Showing At

  1. Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham
    18th Mar 2009 - 7:30 pm
  2. Lighthouse, Poole
    26th Mar 2009 - 7:30 pm
  3. Exeter Northcott Theatre
    1st Apr 2009 - 7:30 pm
  4. Cadogan Hall
    27th Apr 2009 - 7:30 pm
  5. West Road Concert Hall, Cambridge
    11th May 2009 - 7:30 pm
  6. Coronation Hall, Ulverston
    19th May 2009 - 7:30 pm

Your Comments

  1. will the ETO be performing 'Norma' during 2010?

    Said Helmdon at 16:09pm on 1st Jan 2010

  2. would like tour dates for 2010 please.

    Said Rita Maddock-Lyon at 00:38am on 23rd Jan 2010

  3. We won't be performing Norma in 2010; at present we haven't made plans to revive this. For 2010 tour dates, please click "tour dates" in the top menu.

    Said Thalia (ETO) at 11:37am on 25th Jan 2010

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