Thursday, 8 May 2014

A Night At The Opera - Grand Pavilion Matlock Bath

Grand Pavilion Matlock Bath
Oliver and I finally did it and New Georgian Opera had its debut on the 3rd May at the Matlock Grand Pavilion. We were so happy to be raising funds and awareness for the Grand Pavilion and the Derbyshire Historic Buildings Trust. The Grand Pavilion is an Edwardian pleasure place which the locals are saving but for the momnet have named "a little bit scruffy" We were honoured to be joined by many county folk as well as locals, opera enthusiasts and many of our friends and family. After oodles of planning,  promoting, organising and learning the music both Oliver and I were  thrilled at what we together with others including our secretary Zuleika Parkin, Andi Brazewell, Lynn Alison, Mike Susko and Lizzy Stoppard had achieved. I think the highlight of the day was 8 strapping men carrying the 6 foot Yamaha Grand piano that I had hired from Swan Music for the evening up three flights of stairs and up onto the stage which stands at my shoulders! Incredible. Obviously the Edwardians didn't think to install a lift! Well I know that the lifts and many other 'little things' are definitely on the to do list.

John Pierce and myself singing Boheme Act One duet
The night before this concert I had a wonderful recital at the Watts Gallery with the accompanist Tessa Marchington. So as soon as the recital finished in Surrey  at 10:30 both myself and Shira got into the car and drove to Derbyshire. I reached at 1:30 AM - so made really good time, although I think I was snapped by a speed camera on the M1 as the speed dropped to 50 from national seed limit and I was a little over but i'm hoping I just imagined the flash. Anyhow i'll find out in a few weeks when or if I receive 'one of those letters' in the post.
Amita with two foxes at the Hodgekinson Hotel

The next morning Shira and I were up and about, all be it quite tired on all accounts. So breakfast was followed my a 15 minute steam. I tend to steam not only when I have a cold but also when I have late nights, hours of  travel and back to back concerts - its important to keep hydrated. The quickest way of moistening the vocal cords is by steam inhalations but caution must be taken to make sure that the water is not too hot - I have on occasion burnt my throat from really hot steam!

We all met up for rehearsal at 2pm in the Pavilion including Shira who was either stretched out on one of the chairs or trotting around the stage listening to all these phenomenal sounds. Kelvin Lim NGO Music Director at the piano, John Pierce - Tenor, Oliver Gerrish - Counter Tenor and myself.
Shira and Oliver watch me rehearse
Zuleika prepares High Tea on Sunday

Shira takes a seat

Shira on stage.

After rehearsal we drove back to Olivers's where Henry Conway had pots of tea waiting for the boys. I however was rushed off to the main bathroom where Zuleika Parkin did wonders to my hair. One hour later I was transformed into a Diva ready to take the stage. This is quite apt as my first piece was Casta Diva.

Henry Conway at home by the Aga

Proscenium arched Stage 
Kelvin and John rehearsing
The last hour before leaving fro the concert was pretty manic. I think I could say one of the most manic in the history of all the concerts I've ever done. There was Kelvin taping up his music, me running around trying to find extra copies of music for everyone, packing my bag with shoes, make-up and the dress to be worn after the concert as well as getting Shira fed and pooped so that her next 3 hours in her crate would be comfortable. Shira was a dear during the concert despite a little wee in her crate. After she slept for almost 3 hours in my Barbour bag (now designated as Shira's) underneath my table at the Matlock Balti where we all went for dinner and celebrations.
Lizzy on her horse at the house just hours before getting into her Georgian dress
John Pierce sings from the Paul Potts edition of Nessun Dorma!!!
Oliver and I thank say our thanks and explain about NGO
Me singing Summertime
Shira and I at the Barley Mow

Kelvin and the Scotch tape!

On arriving at the pavilion half an hour before the start we all quickly realised that it was already filling up pretty quickly. According to my guests the organisers were having to put out more rows of seating due to the huge amount of public who were buying tickets at the door. Lizzy and Mike were already place outside the Pavilion to greet the guests dressed in full Georgian regalia, donned by two buckets of torches, red carpet and armed with a glass of bubbly.

Soon the hall looked like this:

And then we were all off performing all the famous Opera aria jewels and well known songs.

Oliver Singing Che Faro Senza Euridice

The concert was a total success and for us opera singers and fellow pianist it was fun. I am so thankful to both John and Oliver who both sang on wretched colds. They were both heroic. Also a huge thank you to Kelvin and John for driving up from London just for the day.

The next day was filled with activity including walks around the hills of Bonsall, high tea at Oliver's and to finish off live music and dinner at the Barley Mow - the Bonsall local. Bank holiday Monday was spent with my friends and family as we all took to the cable cars in 
Matlock Bath to see the heights of Abraham.

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