Articles tagged with: OperaPLUS

OperaPLUS Grand Tour

OperaPLUS Grand Tour

OperaPLUS Stylist of Somerset

Selfie!

News may have reached your ears that something exciting is brewing in the Stylist of Somerset’s salon…

It is true. OperaPLUS 2015 will be bigger and better – we are literally going further than ever before by packing our bags and hitting the road for a Grand Tour of Somerset.

The dates are set; the cast of OperaPLUS will return this April to recreate the highly acclaimed 2014 production of Stylist of Somerset on five dates in four locations across the length and breadth of the county.

The Stylist of Somerset is setting up his salon on the following dates:
20th April – Kingsmead, Wiveliscombe
21st April – Kingsmead, Wiveliscombe
23rd April – King Afred’s, Burnham-on-Sea
30th April – Vallis First School, Frome
1st May – King Arthur’s Community School, Wincanton

All performances take place at 5:30pm and tickets will cost £2/£1 concessions.
For tickets contact Jackdaws on 01373 812383 or music@jackdaws.org

2014 – Year in Review

2014 – Year in Review

The year 2014 at Jackdaws was a continuation and building upon the successes of 2013.

We have grown the OperaPLUS, Year of Guitar, Jack’s Music Club and continued to build on the success of previous years of the Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards, Gifted & Talented sessions, Summer Production and more. Read on…

OperaPLUS

OperaPLUS 2014The first major education project of our year took place between 28 April and 9 May. A team of Young Artists from various music colleges around the country worked with Artistic Director Saffron van Zwanenberg and Music Director Audrey Hyland to put on two semi-staged performances of Rossini’s Barber of Seville. But, we are Jackdaws, and we like to do things a little differently…

Rossini’s reworked Stylist of Somerset was sung in English and involved no less than six schools over the two performances. The first performance, in Bridgwater, saw the Robert Blake Science College, Elmwood SEN and Penrose schools performing the chorus roles to a packed hall. This performance included an exciting depiction of a thunderstorm by the Elmwood pupils – an OperaPLUS first!

The second performance, at the Cheese & Grain in Frome, was to the largest audience ever for our OperaPLUS (we sold out, and then some!) Featuring Critchill SEN, St John’s and Hayesdown First schools, the Stylist of Somerset created a storm of its own, playing to audience who were happy to stand just to see it after the venue had sold out of chairs!

In 2015, The Stylist of Somerset will be hopping on a tour bus and performing a number of shows across region! This is a new adventure for the OperaPLUS project and Jackdaws as a whole. We are already hard at work to make sure it is a success; look out for the dates soon, we’d love you to join us.

Year of Guitar

Year of Guitar with Eden StellThe Year of Guitar followed from the hugely successful Year of the String Quartet with the Carducci in 2013 and precedes 2015’s Year of Percussion with Joby Burgess. Once again, every school in Frome took part with a record number of children participating.

On Friday 6 June, the massed ensemble of children from local schools with whom the Eden Stell Guitar Duo had worked met with the Duo again for a fantastic hour long performance at the Cheese & Grain. This year, Year of… was extended when we took a group of Frome College pupils to perform with Mark & Chris at the Sound Foundation Somerset Music Festival in Taunton on Sunday 13 July, and then again the next week at Later… with Frome College!

The Eden Stell Duo have been coming to Jackdaws to lead their annual Guitar weekend course since Jackdaws’ humble beginnings over 20 years ago. What a pleasure it was to celebrate their 25th anniversary with them in 2014 with this wonderful project. Heading into 2015, their course is an extra day longer than it has been before and has already sold out!

In 2015, the phenomenal Joby Burgess joins us for Year of Percussion and we are delighted to have already filled all the school places. For Year of Percussion, we are extending beyond Frome further into Somerset. More details will be released soon.

Jack’s and Theory Club

Jacks Music Club at JackdawsOur weekly music club has been running for a few years now but for the start of the 2014-15 academic year we added a new twist. Following from the 4:30-6pm music club is a new Theory club, led by Jackdaws team member Joshua Bishop. Each week he has covered a different aspect of music theory with the group using games, drawing and performing. We write music, we play music, we understand music.

If you’re amazed that teenagers would come of their own accord to a music theory club (on a Friday evening no less!), we are happy to reveal this top secret industry tip… provide cake from famous Jackdaws cooks!

Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards

Maureen Lehane Vocal Award Winners 2014The 2014 Maureen Lehane Vocal Award was the most closely contested competition of recent years. Ultimately, 25 year old Counter Tenor Patrick Terry triumphed.

Patrick, originally from Minneapolis, is pursuing his Master’s at the Royal Academy of Music with Michael Chance and is the only Counter Tenor to have won the Maureen Lahane.

We were privileged to have a distinguished judging panel consisting of Dame Felicity Palmer, Andrew Shore and Simon Lepper, chaired by Jackdaws Artistic Director Saffron van Zwanenberg.

Further to these successes, our Summer Production sold out both participants and the final performance, and produced a wonderful show of Animal Farm, with music in the style of Lutoslawski and design inspired by artist Gary Bunt. Our Christmas Concert sold out and was recorded with highlights broadcast on Christmas day by our friends at FromeFM. Gifted and Talented workshops also continued throughout the year, as did Singing Skills and Twilight Sessions.

After a restful holiday, we’re ready to go again. Roll on 2015 – we’ve got so much more to do!

Jackdaws at Somerset Festival

Jackdaws at Somerset Festival

OperaPLUS 2014Next Friday (11th July), Sound Foundation Somerset are staging a Music Festival in Taunton all weekend to Sunday 13th . Jackdaws will be taking highlights of their recent musical projects including The Year of Guitar and OperaPLUS.

The Year of Guitar was led by the Eden Stell Duo who worked with 14 schools across Somerset and performed a finale concert in the Cheese and Grain Frome on June 6th this year. Some of the schools that took part in the Project, Frome Community College and Selwood Academy will be accompanying the Duo to the festival and will be performing at 12:00pm on the Sunday at Somerset Square.

OperaPLUS have been focusing on the style of Gioacchino Rossini, an Italian Opera composer and the group will be performing a piece called ‘The Stylist of Somerset’ a production set in the style of popular television Talent Shows. The performance will be 1:20pm to 2:00pm in the Brewhouse. At 4:00pm there will be a Flash Mob in Goodlands Garden with Saffron and the singers. The Flash Mob will be a new and exciting experience for all who are involved so it would be great to turn up and show your support.

Keep up to date with all that’s happening at the Festival by visiting the Sound Foundation Somerset website and looking out for any updates on our website.

Written by Isaac Mundy, work experience student from Frome College.

The Stylist of Somerset – “Pure magic!”

The Stylist of Somerset – “Pure magic!”

“Sometimes something quite exceptional can happen when you’re least expecting it… Thank you. Encore. Encore.” – Jo Woodward

Thursday 8th and Friday 9th May saw something quite exceptional happen involving children from 6 Somerset schools, 6 Jackdaws Young Artists and a Rossini opera.

Jackdaws annual OperaPLUS project culminated two weeks of intense rehearsals and workshops with performances of “The Stylist of Somerset” (also known as Rossini’s Barber of Seville) at Robert Blake Science College, Bridgwater and the Cheese & Grain, Frome with children singing as part of the opera performance.

Three schools were involved in each performance – Robert Blake, Elmwood and Penrose in Bridgwater and Critchill, Hayesdown and St John’s in Frome.

“All the children were fully engaged both as performers and as onlookers.” – Alan Burgess

OperaPLUS RehearsalsIn the two weeks preceding the shows, six Jackdaws Young Artists – all currently studying at one of the major British Music Conservatoires – led workshops with children at all six schools and Jack’s Music Club, working with the children on the part they would play and teaching the songs they later sang in the production.

The opera selected was Rossini’s opera buffa Barber of Seville, which was given a fresh and exciting spin and renamed “The Stylist of Somerset“. Based on popular TV talent shows, the evil Dr Bartolo was compared with a certain infamous judge with Rosina as his next star talent, Almaviva is a Pop star and, of course, Figaro is the best stylist in all of Somerset! Alan Burgess, headteacher of St John’s School who participated, said “Perhaps the greatest testimony of the production’s success was evidenced in the faces of everyone watching: they were enthralled from start to finish.

The performance was enjoyed by performers, children, parents and teachers alike.

“I am sure that neither of our sons (our 10 year old was in the audience with us) would have chosen to watch an opera with us. But they, like us were gripped from the very start.” – Kelly Newton

2014 is the 5th year that the OperaPLUS project has taken place. Previous years have seen productions of The Magic Flute, La Cenerentola and Semele, each time involving schools as far afield as Dulverton and Bridgwater.
As a parent I am feeling so very fortunate to have been able to share with my child in such an experience; as I felt so very much part of it as he did.” Charlotte Deniz Sanches

Jackdaws Artistic Director Saffron van Zwanenberg addressed the audience immediately after the Frome performance, saying “It’s really very simple… Bring it to them and they love it.

Funder Logos

Read our introduction to the Stylist of Somerset.

Introduction to OperaPLUS 2014

Introduction to OperaPLUS 2014

RossiniOperaPLUS 2014 will be focus on Rossini’s Barber of Seville in a brand new production, with a Jackdaws twist.

Gioacchino Rossini
…was born in Pesaro on the Adriatic coast of Italy. He is Italy’s greatest loved composer of opera buffa (comic opera). Born on 29 February 1792, a leap year. He died 76 years later on 13 November 1868 (aged 18!)

Rossini’s operas earned him fame and money during his lifetime, which was, and is, unusual for a composer. A keen chef, his culinary legacy also lives on in the form of several pasta dishes and a strawberry cocktail made with champagne.

He was known for the speed with which he composed and once boasted that he could set a shopping list to music. Unusually for a composer, he retired from composition in 1829 having written 39 operas, although did write several smaller scale pieces after this. His opera buffa, La Cenerentola (1817), based on the story of Cinderella, was Jackdaws’ focus for OperaPLUS 2012 and was received with great acclaim. The 2014 programme focuses on Rossini’s most famous work, The Barber of Seville, written in 1815 (aged 23).

The Barber of Seville
The two-act libretto by Cesare Sterbini is based on Pierre Beaumarchais’ renowned comedic stage play “Le Barbier de Séville“, the first in his ‘Figaro trilogy’. Mozart famously set the second play in his Le nozze di Figaro.

With a comical libretto, the piece is an Opera buffa and indeed is often considered the best example of the Buffa style – it is certainly the most well known opera from the genre, and contains the famous Patter song ‘Largo al Factotum‘.

Rossini CocktailRossini Key Terms
Bel Canto – literally “beautiful voice”, a style of Italian singing characterised by its grace, virtuosity and agility
Libretto – like the text of a play, these are the words the composer sets to music
Opera buffa – literally “comic opera”, with a humorous libretto as well as visual gags
Overture – an instrumental introduction heard at the start of each Act, which often includes melodies which will be heard
Rossini Crescendo – a passage of music which gets louder over a repeated pattern. Rossini’s frequent employment of this device earned him the nickname ‘Signor Crescendo’

The Barber story follows Rosina, a young heiress, who is being pursued by her guardian, Dr. Bartolo, who wants to keep her fortune by marrying her himself. But Rosina has fallen in love with Count Almaviva and together with Figaro the Barber, they outsmart Dr. Bartolo so Rosina and the Count can marry.

Jackdaws OperaPLUS production, the Stylist of Somerset, takes a slightly different angle. Set in the style of popular television Talent shows, Rosina is a hopeful young contestant auditioning for Bartolo, a judge. She is in love with the already famous superstar Almaviva, who loves her back. Almaviva and Rosina ask their stylist, Figaro, to help them outsmart the evil Bartolo.

Jackdaws’ OperaPLUS production of the Stylist of Somerset will be performed twice:
Robert Blake Science College, Bridgwater on May 8 at 12:30pm
Cheese & Grain, Frome on May 9 at 5:30pm

2013 – A Year in Review

2013 – A Year in Review

The past year has seen our largest range of education projects in Jackdaws’ history. Our small team has facilitated just over 5,000 musical interactions with children over the course of seven unique Education projects. We must give a huge thank you to all the musicians and tutors who have assisted us in this over the past year. Alongside this, we have continued to run our broad range of courses, with 42 courses taking place in a wide variety of disciplines.

New Kitchen and Development

Jackdaws New KitchenWe were delighted to start the year by unveiling a refurbished kitchen and dining area (which has also doubled as a concert space thanks to the Eden Stell guitar duo!)
Since then we have been making steady progress with work towards our new build. Last autumn we began preliminary work on the outside of the building by re-routing power and telephone cables to make way for the new build. We still need to raise further funds to ensure a more sustainable future for Jackdaws, so please donate on our JustGiving if you are able and read more about the 20Jackdaws plans here.

OperaPLUS

In April, the annual OperaPLUS saw Semele by Handel being performed by Young Artists and children from six schools. The course was expanded with help from Sound Foundation Somerset and included not only three schools from Frome – Critchill, Hayesdown and Nunney – but also the three schools of the Exmoor Federation in Dulverton (an early start for the two hour drive to South West Somerset!) Following the two performances with these schools, a one off gala performance in Abingdon was a unique addition to the schedule.

Year of the String Quartet

Our largest project of 2013 was the Year of the String Quartet project. This saw the renowned Carducci String Quartet visit 14 local schools to give an interactive performance for every child, introducing quartet repertoire from Haydn to Webern. Following the performance, the four players led workshops with string players, recorder players, percussion players and guitarists from the schools working on pieces to be performed with all the children en masse at what turned out to be a very moving celebration concert at the Cheese and Grain on 28th June. This wonderful video by Michael Rouse at Tambrisk Pictures follows the story of the performance.
[vimeo id=”78617742″ width=”500″ height=”281″]
2014 is the Year of the Guitar and we are delighted to be working with Eden Stell Guitar duo. We still need to raise funds towards this year’s event so if you would like to make a donation specific to this event please call the office on 01373 812383.

Song Story

As the whole of Britain went Britten crazy to celebrate our favourite composer’s 100th birthday, we devised the Song Story project to bring his music to life with school children in Frome. Working with composer Will Carslake, poet Shaun Jackson and singer Saffron van Zwanenberg, the team helped local children use Britten’s music as inspiration for their own show, which was performed to a large audience at Frome Community College on 21st June.

Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards

Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards 2013 Winners

Left to Right: Chad Vindin (Accomp Prize), Soraya Mafi (joint 3rd), Anna Sideris (joint 3rd), Raphaela Papadakis (Winner), Frazer B. Scott (2nd & Audience Prize)

This year’s Wigmore Hall final of the Maureen Lehane awards took place on Friday 8th November. The deserving winner, Raphaela Papadakis, a soprano studying at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, performed a stunning programme of Schumann and Schoenberg alongside the set composers Peter Wishart and Handel, accompanied by Catherine Norton.

As you can see, a fantastically busy year without even mentioning the Summer Production, Gifted and Talented workshops, Jack’s Music Club, Nature & Nurture and Singing Skills & Twilight Sessions, all of which were either new, expanded or busier than before! We are looking forward to another wonderful year of inspiration, access and inclusion.

OperaPLUS 2013 is a Big Success

OperaPLUS 2013 is a Big Success

We are delighted that our OperaPLUS performances of Handel’s opera Semele were a fantastic success. The performances, in Frome’s Cheese & Grain on Thursday 2nd and at Dulverton Middle School on Friday 3rd May saw Jackdaws Young Artists performing the lead roles supported by a chorus of eager children from local schools.

The OperaPLUS project is an intensive course aimed at Young Artists about to embark on their professional careers. It encompasses a full performance of an opera and gives valuable additional training and opportunity to experience wider music education by collaborating with at least three local schools who feature in the performance and take part in workshops. It runs annually at Jackdaws, to the delight of local parents and audiences, who treasure the unique opportunity to see their children performing in an opera.

My son really enjoyed taking part… a great hit.

OperaPLUS: Handel's Semele

Jassy Husk as Handel’s Semele, Jackdaws OperaPLUS 2013

OperaPLUS 2013 concludes this weekend with the final performance at Abingdon’s Unicorn Theatre on Sunday.

In 2012, the OperaPLUS performance concluded with a sold out production of Cinderella, and the project will return in May 2014 with Rossini’s Barber of Saville.

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