21 Oct 2017
Merry Opera returns to St Clement's in Sandwich and St Peter's in Broadstairs with a staged production of Verdi's Requiem.
After touring its staged version of Handel's Messiah to St Clement's in Sandwich and St Peter's in Broadstairs, Merry Opera is returning with a staged production of Verdi’s Requiem on October 1st at Sandwich and October 21st at St. Peters.
This production follows the Company’s staged version of Handel’s Messiah that has been touring to churches since 2011 and has been seen by over 7,000 people.
The production is created and directed by John Ramster, who also staged the Messiah. He has directed for the Royal Northern College and the Handel Festival in the UK and in Portugal, Spain, France, Norway, Finland and Serbia. A recipient of the Glyndebourne Festival/Keith Showering Memorial Award, he has taught drama and stagecraft specifically for opera singers for 22 years at the Guildhall and the Royal Academy.
Verdi composed his Latin Requiem Mass as a gripping drama that has enthralled audiences ever since its premiere in 1874. This staged version brings the audience deep into the music, with twelve powerful classical voices whispering prayers for salvation and triumphantly praising God.
The performance this autumn is part of the inaugural tour of the Requiem, which goes across the UK and is booked for more tours throughout 2018.
Although the Requiem is a religious piece, you don’t have to be religious to see this production. It is staged as a meditation on the nature of the human spirit and its need for faith – perhaps in God or perhaps in oneself. The characters are instantly recognizable as people you might see everyday, and they come into the church because they turn to a building that bears witness to the collective memory, rituals and traditions of the generations who came before us.
Even when faced in the Requiem with the moment of death, the characters are not alone, for the way in which they get to know each other through the music and the words of the oratorio gives each one of them a sense of belonging and the strength to go forward.
As you take your seat for the performance, you’ll find that the church looks pretty much as it does every day: no special lighting, no lines of chairs for a choir, no music stands for an orchestra. The person sitting next to you may turn out to be one of the 12 professional opera singers.
The conductor is Mark Austin, who is artistic director of the Faust Chamber Orchestra, and whose contracts include work with the BBC & Bournemouth Symphony Orchestras and the Hangzhou Philarmonic in China.
The costumes are designed by Michelle Bradbury, whose credits include work at The Globe, the Chichester Festival Theatre, The Barbican, the Theatre Royal (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) and the Manchester Opera House
The organist is Richard Leach, whose work includes performances in the Wigmore Hall, Charlton House, and live on Radio 3 and with the English Baroque Choir. He is also the organist at Ealing Abbey.
Merry Opera has been touring the UK and occasionally abroad since 2009. Its shows have been seen by about 50,000 people in theatres, churches, the open air, among ruins, in public streets and in a Wetherspoon pub.
Box Office: Sarah Thorne Theatre on 01843 863701 (No booking fees)