Saturday, 21 October 2017

Staircase Opera present "A Night at the Opera" Topsham: St Margaret's Church Friday 13 October Chagford: St Michael's Church Friday 17 November 2017

Staircase Opera
Paul McClure & Carolyn Harries

A year on from their very successful tour with Gian Carlo Menotti's "The Medium" in October and November last year, Staircase Opera now present "A Night at the Opera", an evening of arias to suit all tastes.

At Topsham, Paul McClure and Roger Stephenson brought their pianistic genius - along with Paul's impressive skills as master of ceremonies, and raconteur. The warm alto tones of Staircase founder and mezzosoprano Carolyn Harries opened the evening - as King Xerxes professing his affection for his beloved plane tree - the affecting opening to the opera of the same name.

During an evening of delights, we were entertained by other operatic stars. Gemma Santiago sang soprano with impressive passion in tragic opera duets with Carolyn Harries. Another soprano, Héloïse West, was also scheduled to join us, but was unable to make the Topsham performance. We can look forward to her singing when Staircase Opera return to the stage in Chagford in November.

Héloïse will also share the bill with Michael Graham in Elgar's "Enigma Variations" at Exeter Cathedral at the EMG Symphony Orchestra Golden Jubilee Concert on Friday 3 November.

In addition to Carolyn Harries, mezzosoprano Rebecca Smith sang beautiful character pieces ranging from the flirtatious 'Carmen' to the distraught 'Dido'. A new tenor joined the ranks - Stuart Norman, who delighted us with Handel and joined the ensemble for some rousing Gilbert and Sullivan numbers, and baritone Tim Hunt who has specialised in Gilbert and Sullivan for many years. After a long tenure as leading actor with the St David's Players in their regular G&S productions at the Exeter Barnfield Theatre, Tim will take over as Chairman in 2018.

Tim introduced a classical note with his humorous portrayals of Mozart's Papageno and Don Ferrando. He also took part in an ensemble piece, and reprised his spectacularly entertaining performance as Jack Point which so impressed audiences at the St David's Players production of Yeomen of the Guard in 2011. Tim, like Paul, puts as much energy into his introductions as his performance, making for a very lively evening's entertainment.

One last singer still has to be mentioned, the awe-inspiring bass-baritone Roderick Hunt. His speaking voice is deep, and his singing voice is arrestingly bathyscaphic. One can only watch and listen in amazement at the effortless depth, resonance and stunning emotiveness of his delivery, which would easily reach the balcony of any opera house - and has!

Roderick, whose regular employment is as Professor of Biology at Exeter Univeristy, has performed with many professional opera companies in the South West, and beyond. Recently he fulfilled his ambition to play Modest Mussorgsky's "Boris Godunov", and will soon be preparing for the part of the giant Fafner in "Das Reingold" by Richard Wagner with the newly formed 'Tarnhelm' opera company.

Tim, the G&S expert, surprised us all by introducing Roderick's performance of "When the Night Wind Howls" from "Ruddigore". This extraordinary exposition of an eerie moonlit scene by the ghost of Roderick's namesake, Sir Roderic Murgatroyd, has landed him first prize at the International Gilbert and Sullivan Festival not once, but twice! A very special addition to the programme.

We mustn't forget our accompanists. Paul played flawlessly, and with great feeling and style, throughout the evening, occasionally relinquishing the keys to the equally talented Staircase stalwart Roger Stephenson. They also amused us hugely with their very clever four hand piano duet medleys (with some vocal accompaniment!) from Gilbert & Sullivan's "Mikado" and Jacques Offenbach's "Tales of Hoffman".

The final ensemble work was a prayer from "Nabucco", Verdi's story of the Hebrew exile under King Nebuchadnezzar, "Va, pensiero, sull'ali dorate" (Go, prayer, on wings of gold), which was the perfect close to a very enjoyable evening of music. All this and more can be enjoyed, all over again, at Chagford on Friday 17 November (details below). Many thanks to everyone for a lovely evening.

Staircase Opera sing "Va Pansiero":
Timothy HuntStuart NormanRoderick HuntRoger Stephenson
Carolyn HarriesRebecca Smith
Gemma Santiago

Topsham Programme:

Carolyn Harries......G F Handel..............."Xerxes"........................."Ombra mai fu" (Xerxes)
Stuart Norman........G F Handel..............."Semele"........................."Where e'er you walk" (Jupiter)
Rebecca Smith........Georges Bizet.........."Carmen"........................"Habanera" (with ensemble)
Rebecca Smith........Georges Bizet.........."Carmen"..........................The Card Scene (solo)
Roderick Hunt........Giuseppe Verdi........"Simon Boccanegra"....."Il lacerato spirito"
Gemma Santiago....Vincenzo Bellini......"Norma".........................."Mira o Norma"
......................................................................(Gemma Santiago is Adalgisa, Carolyn Harries is Norma)
Timothy Hunt.........W A Mozart............."The Magic Flute"...........The Bird-Catcher's Song (Papageno)
Roderick Hunt.......W A Mozart............."The Magic Flute".........."O hear us, Isis & Osiris" (Sarastro)
Paul McClure & Roger Stephenson.......Gilbert & Sullivan.........."Mikado" medley

Carolyn/Rebecca/Stuart/Tim...................Gilbert & Sullivan.........."The Mikado"..........Madrigal
Timothy Hunt........Gilbert & Sullivan...."The Mikado".................."There is beauty in the bellow of the blast"
Carolyn/Gemma....Vincenzo Bellini......."Norma"............................"Casta Diva" (with ensemble being Druids)
Tim/Carolyn/Gemma...W A Mozart......."Cosi fan Tutte".............."Soave si il vento"
.................................................................................................................(Don Ferrando, Fiordiligi & Dorabella)
Roderick Hunt.......Gilbert & Sullivan..."Ruddigore"....................."When the night wind howls"
Tim/Carolyn/Rebecca/Stuart.................. Gilbert & Sullivan..........."Yoemen of the Guard"....."Strange Adventure"
Timothy Hunt.........Gilbert & Sullivan.."Yeomen of the Guard"..."A private buffoon" (Jack Point)
Paul McClure & Roger Stephenson.......Jacques Offenbach........"Tales of Hoffman".....Barcarole
Rebecca Smith..Camille Saint-Saëns....."Samson & Delilah"........"Mon coeur s'ouvre a ta voix"
Roderick Hunt......Giuseppe Verdi........"Nabucco"........................"Tu sul labbro" (Nebuchadnezzar)
Ensemble................Giuseppe Verdi........"Nabucco"........................"Va pensiero" (as captive Israelites)

Carolyn Harries

Staircase Opera
St Michael's Church Chagford
Friday 17 November 7.30pm
Piano: Paul McClure
..........Roger Stephonson
Soprano: Héloïse West
..............Gemma Santiago
Mezzo: Rebecca Smith
.............Carolyn Harries
Tenor: Stuart Noble

Bobby Jeffrey
Baritone: Timothy Hunt
Bass-Baritone: Roderick Hunt

with additional songs sung by
Chagford tenor Bobby Jeffrey

George Gershwin: "Porgy & Bess"
with drinks & canapés
Tickets: £12 (advance £10)
Sallys Newsagents
01647 432215

Thursday, 19 October 2017

EMG Symphony Orchestra Rehearsal for Golden Anniversary Concert (Fri 3 Nov) St Peter's School Thursday 19 October 2017 Coversations with the Conductors - Phonic FM 2pm Friday 20 October

Leo Geyer
conducts EMG Symphony Orchestra - "Preciso"
Leader: Clare Smith
Leo Geyer
conducts Elgar
"The Enigma Variations"
Alfie Pugh
an extensive percussion set-up
for "Exeter Cityscapes"
Alfie Pugh, Laura Hobbs, Tom Clemo
Ali Board
Tympani - "Enigma Variations"
John Bowden, Myles Taylor, Brian Moore (Principal)
The comical pink attire has a serious intent
- solidarity with Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Isobelle Woolcott 
Double Basses
French Horns
Mary Saunders, Trevor Ives,
Beth Osment, Sally Maya
Second Violins
Ellen Stratton, Anna Davis
A couple of 'Exeters'
(see Douglas Adams "The Meaning of Liff")
Tom Clemo


Susan Sherratt
Robert Stevenson - Alto Flute
Double Basses
Sarah Dean
Saxophone Solo - "Cityscapes"
Peter Dawson

Glenorchy Lunchtime Concerts Autumn Series 12.30pm Wednesdays 4 October to 6 December 2017

United Reformed Church
Exeter Road, Exmouth
David Davies

Glenorchy Lunchtime Concerts
Glenorchy Church Exmouth
Wednesday 4 October 12.30pm
Organ & Piano: David Davies
Admission FREE . Retiring Collection
Wood Farm Wind Quintet
Glenorchy Lunchtime Concerts
Glenorchy Church Exmouth
Wednesday 11 October 12.30pm
Flute: Robert Stevenson
Oboe: Andrew Marlies
Clarinet: Chris Gradwell
French Horn: Trevor Ives
Bassoon: Peter Dawson
Admission FREE . Retiring Collection
Glenorchy Lunchtime Concerts
Jilly Cooper, Nicholas Brown
& Iain McDonald

Glenorchy Church Exmouth
Wednesday 18 October 12.30pm
Piano: Nicholas Brown
Baritone: Iain McDonald
Poetry: Jilly Cooper
Admission FREE . Retiring Collection
Le Jazz Duo
Glenorchy Lunchtime Concerts
Glenorchy Church Exmouth
Wednesday 25 October 12.30pm
Clarinets/Saxophones: Chris Gradwell
Guitar: Andrew Barrett
Admission FREE . Retiring Collection
Annabel Rooney
Glenorchy Lunchtime Concerts
Glenorchy Church Exmouth
Wednesday 1 November 12.30pm
'Cello: Annabel Rooney
Piano: Josephine Pickering
Admission FREE . Retiring Collection
Beacon Piano Trio
Glenorchy Lunchtime Concerts
Glenorchy Church Exmouth
Wednesday 8 November 12.30pm
Piano: Joyce Clarke
Violin: Anna Cockroft
'Cello: Ruth Lass
Admission FREE . Retiring Collection
Josephine Pickering
& David Lee
Glenorchy Lunchtime Concerts
Glenorchy Church Exmouth
Wednesday 15 November 12.30pm
Piano: David Lee, Josephine Pickering
Baritone: Mark Hansford
Admission FREE . Retiring Collection
Phil Bonser
Glenorchy Lunchtime Concerts
Glenorchy Church Exmouth
Wednesday 22 November 12.30pm
Clarinet: Phil Bonser
Piano: Dorothy Raven
Admission FREE . Retiring Collection
Joyce Clarke
Glenorchy Lunchtime Concerts
Glenorchy Church Exmouth
Wednesday 29 November 12.30pm
Piano: Joyce Clarke
Admission FREE . Retiring Collection
Josephing Pickering
& David Lee
Glenorchy Lunchtime Concerts
Glenorchy Church Exmouth
Wednesday 6 December 12.30pm
Piano: David Lee & Josephine Pickering
Admission FREE . Retiring Collection

Thursday, 12 October 2017

EMG Symphony Orchestra 50th Anniversary Concert Exeter Cathedral Friday 3 November 2017 Press Release from Ellen Stratton

EMG Symphony Orchestra
Exeter Cathedral
Friday 3 November 7.30pm
(Photography: Nigel Cheffers-Heard)

On Friday 3rd November join EMG SymphonyOrchestra and Music Director Leo Geyer at Exeter Cathedral for the orchestra’s 50th anniversary celebratory concert, generously supported by Exeter City Council and Exeter Business Improvement District.  This promises to be a fabulous evening which is not to be missed!

This concert of English music opens with Sir Arnold Bax’s stormy tone poem "Tintagel", followed by the premiere of "Exeter Cityscapes", a symphonic suite by local composer Alfie Pugh, which has been specially commissioned to celebrate EMG’s 50th anniversary

Alfie Pugh, an Exeter-based freelance musician, has won multiple awards for composition including the Charities Philharmonia Young Composers Competition 2011, and the Symphonic Wind Orchestra of North London’s Composition Competition 2014.  He has enjoyed success working on the preservation of the music of Barry Gray, whose soundtrack to Thunderbirds was recently rerecorded from scores partly prepared by Alfie, and went to number one in the Japanese classical charts.

For the second half of the concert the orchestra is joined by the EMG Singers under the baton of Associate Conductor Tony Hindley for Sir Hubert Parry’s "I Was Glad". 

The concert concludes with Sir Edward Elgar’s "Enigma Variations", re-imagined for chorus and orchestra by EMG Musical Director Leo Geyer, and featuring soloists Heloise West and Michael Graham

Leo Geyer
Nigel Cheffers-Heard)
After completing the initially titled "Variations on an Original Theme", Elgar resolved to add the title ‘Enigma’, suggesting that there is an enigmatic secret hidden in the piece. During his lifetime he hinted at some clues to solve the implied puzzle, and though various solutions were proposed, Elgar accepted none and took the secret to the grave. Drawing on the commonly held belief that the opening phrase of the theme mirrors the rhythm of Elgar’s name, Leo’s re-imagining presents Elgar himself as the ‘Enigma’, an ideal artistic genius, personified in the text of Arthur OShaughnessy’s "Ode", (the text Elgar used in his choral work "The Music Makers"). To complete the Enigma Variations puzzle, the chorus act as the missing piece, singing the Ode to represent Elgar himself.

There will be a retiring collection in aid of Exeter Dementia Action Alliance, part of the national Dementia Action Alliance network, which seeks to empower people living with dementia and their families, raise awareness of dementia and is working towards making Exeter a dementia-friendly city.

Tickets: £16, £13, £11 and £9 (student/U16 £5 for non-premium seats)
Available at the Cathedral Reception Desk (Main Entrance) on the night
Advance Booking: Exeter Tourist Information, Dix’s Field, Exeter, 01392 665885
                                                               (9.30am – 4.30pm, Monday – Saturday)
Online Booking: TicketSource 

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Substance & Shadow Theatre Company Present "Howie the Rookie" Exeter Barnfield Theatre Tuesday 10 October, Wednesday 11 October, & Friday 13 October 2017

The Howie & The Rookie
(Midge Mullin & Si Cook)
Two Dublin namesakes
with a shocking tale to tell

Rosie and Midge Mullin's "Substance & Shadow" Theatre Company move in a new direction this week. Following on from the slapstick humour and political intrigues of "Brexit Club" earlier this year, they now move on to something decidedly darker.

"Howie the Rookie" (Mark O'Rowe, for his mother Patricia, 1999), in the hands of Rosie and Midge, with new collaborator Si Cook, is a masterpiece of minimalism. The stage is devoid of all props, save a box to sit on. The music (composed by Si and Finn Cook) is a simple and ominous pulse, commanding attention without fanfare. The sound and lighting are controlled by Samantha Taylor with deft discretion, barely disturbing the action on stage. Over all, Rosie Mullin's direction insists on a single track of thought without deviation or distraction.

Our two main protagonists, Howie Lee and Rookie Lee (unrelated), never meet on stage (except for their curtain call - see above). Instead, each describes how the other features in their own life, in remarkably intense soliloquy. At first their lives seem hardly to intersect, but an apparently trivial act of revenge leads to a much closer relationship resulting from two other, quite separate tragedies.

Midge, as The Howie Lee, begins the tale, building the catalogue of memories deliberately like the laying of so many bricks. No observation is omitted, however sordid. Every bodily function is recalled in vivid detail. The events he relates seem almost inconsequential, concentrating mainly on his unsatisfactory relationships with women (including the unforgettable 'Avalanche', who we meet only in his descriptions). The odd revenge exacted on his namesake, The Rookie Lee, seems almost coincidental, as do the cameo appearances of Flan Dingle & 'Ginger Boy' cruising the streets in their green van.

Despite their apparent simplicity, Howie's recollections suddenly take a shocking and grievous turn, leaving the audience stunned. As Midge leaves the stage you could hear a pin drop. Sundry extraneous sounds from the foyer fail to register. The interval passes in a daze.

Now Si, as The Rookie Lee, takes up the tale. The vengeance of Howie and his gang is dismissed lightly. Rookie seems unsure what prompted it, and equally unconcerned. He has much more serious worries on his mind. Almost comically accrued debts put him in mortal danger from another, so far unmentioned character. Suddenly Howie reappears in a new rôle, along with Avalanche and her brother 'Peaches', not to mention Flan & Ginger Boy. All draw together to participate in gruelling final act of this daemonic drama.

If Howie's closing revelations were stunning, the culmination of Rookie's tale is devastating. This is a play not to be taken lightly. Both actors are totally focussed and are the focus of attention for a full ninety minutes. Their revelations hit the audience like a series of storm surges, leaving no time for recovery before each successive assault on the senses.

"Brace for impact."

"Howie the Rookie" will be showing in the Clifford Room at the Barnfield Theatre on two more nights this week - Wednesday & Friday at 8pm. More performances at other venues must surely follow.

'Substance & Shadow' Theatre Company
Clifford Room, Exeter Barnfield Theatre
Tues/Weds/Fri 10/11/13 October 8pm
(NO performance on Thursday!)
A Play by Mark O'Rowe
Howie Lee: Midge Mullin
Rookie Lee: Si Cook
Warning: contains extremely graphic language!
Tickets: £10.00
Box Office: 01392 271808
(Mon-Fri 10am-4pm ~ Sat 10am-2pm)
Online BookingTicketSolve

Saturday, 30 September 2017

Two Moors Festival Tiverton Dulverton Simonsbath Exeter Widdecombe Chagford Ashburton Okehampton Torrington Bideford Dunster Tiverton Friday 13 October - Saturday 21 October 2017

John & Penny Adie
Founders of the Two Moors Festival

Many thanks to Penny Adie for joining the "Classical Journey" programme on Phonic FM last Friday (22 September) to discuss the Two Moors Festival and the artists who are coming to Dartmoor and Exmoor to entertain us from Friday 13 October to Saturday 21 October.

On this week's programme (Friday 6 October 2-4pm) Penny's Public Relations Officer, Fleur Chaffé, will join the programme at 2.10pm or so - to discuss the festival schedule in more detail.

An overview of the concerts in the line-up is shown below. In each case there is a link to a page on the Festival Website which gives further details on performers, programme and prices - and provides a means to book tickets online.

Tickets also from: 'Exeter Visitor Information & Tickets' (EVIT) in Dix's Field.
Telephone: 01392 665885  Mon-Wed & Fri 9-4.30 Thu & Sat 9-4 (closed 12.30-1.15)

The Two Moors Festival continues the work started by Penny and John Adie in 2001. John Adie is remembered through the John Adie Memorial Appeal (The Imagine Appeal) which supports young musicians in education and professional development, encourages community participation in music, commissions new compositions, and promotes live music for new audiences.

Tiverton & Dulverton

St Paul's Church Tiverton
Friday 13 October 9.30pm
Casanova's Conquest
Handel/Mozart/Bellini in English
Tiverton Parkway Ticket Office
Saturday 14 October 11.45am
Saxophone Quartet Concert
All Saints Church Dulverton
Saturday 14 October 7.30pm
Piano Recital

Culbone & Dulverton

St Beuno's Church Culbone
Sunday 15 October 11am
Matins - with Classical Guitar
(V Rev Dr Jonathan Draper)
Brushford Church Dulverton
Sunday 15 October 11am-3.30pm
Strauss 4 Last Songs Workshop
(plus Artist Benedict Rubbra)
All Saints' Church Dulverton
Sunday 15 October 7.30pm
Haydn, Beethoven, & Brahms
(Piano: Barry Douglas)

Simonsbath & Exeter

Iosef Purits & Andrey Lebedev
St Luke's Church Simonsbath
Monday 16 October 11am
Accordion/Guitar Rectial
(Bach/Piazzolla/de Falla/de Lucia)
Rachel Thomas
St Luke's Church Simonsbath
Monday 16 October
Exmoor Society Talk
(Exmoor Society Chairman)
City of Birmingham Symphony
Exeter Cathedral
Monday 16 October 7pm
Mozart/Beethoven IV/Brahms I
(Michael Seal/Pavel Kolesnikov)

Widdecombe & Chagford

Owen Gunnell & Oliver Cox
St Pancras Church Widdecombe
Tuesday 17 October 11am
O Duo Percussion
(Marimba Duets)
Sally Sedgman
St Pancras Church Widdecombe
Tuesday 17 October 2.30pm
Image & Improvisation
(Danny Holmes-Adams/O Duo)
Heath String Quartet
St Michael's Church Chagford
Tuesday 17 October 7.30pm
(plus Bach Cantatas)


Nick Pritchard & Jâms Coleman
St Lawrence Chapel Ashburton
Wednesday 18 October 11am
("Die Schöne Müllerin")
Henry Neill & Jâms Coleman
St Lawrence Chapel Ashburton
Wednesday 18 October 2pm
Schubert Song Cycle II
Nicholas MoggJâms Coleman
St Lawrence Chapel Ashburton
Wednesday 18 October 4.30pm
Schubert Song Cycle III

Society of Strange & Ancient Instruments
St Andrew's Church Ashburton
Wednesday 18 October 7.30pm


Helen & Harvey Davies
All Saints Church Okehampton
Thursday 19 October 11am
The Davies Duo I
("Classically Formed")
Helen & Harvey Davies
All Saints Church Okehampton
Thursday 19 October 1pm
The Davies Duo II
("Romantic Arrangements")
Helen & Harvey Davies
All Saints Church Okehampton
Thursday 19 October 3pm
The Davies Duo III
("20th & 21st Centuries")

Tasmin Little & Andrey Gugnin
All Saints Church Okehampton
Thursday 19 October 7.30pm
Violin & Piano Recital
Supper to Follow: £10

Torrington & Bideford

Tasmin Little
(Piano: Andrey Gugnin
'Cello: Michael Petrov
Clarinet: Jordan Black)
Plough Arts Centre Torrington
Friday 20 October 11am-5pm
Debussy: Sonatas & Rhapsody
Messiaen: "Quartet for the End of Time"
Alec & Emily Baldwin
(Dance: Jesus Olmedo)
Sax: Mark Lockheart  Violin: Chris Garrick
Guitar: Phil Robson  Percussion: Demi Garcia-Sabat
Bideford College Hall
Friday 20 October 7.30pm
Dizzy Gillespie / Paco de Lucia
Chick Corea / Vicente Amigo

Dunster & Tiverton

Soprano: Matilda Wale
French Horn: Ellen O'Brian
'Cello: Joseph Pritchard
Violin: Poppy Freya McGhee

St George's Church Dunster
Saturday 21 October 11am
Soprano: Matilda Wale
French Horn: Ellen O'Brian
'Cello: Joseph Pritchard
Violin: Poppy Freya McGhee

Piano Accompanist: Alison Farr

Violin: Joel Munday
'Cello: Hannah McFarlane

St George's Church Dunster
Saturday 21 October 2.30pm
Violin: Joel Munday
'Cello: Hannah McFarlane

Piano: Alison Farr

Devon Wildlife Trust
St George's Church Hall
Saturday 21 October 5pm
(Harry Barton CEO)
St Paul's Church Tiverton
Saturday 21 October 7.30pm
North Devon Sinfonia
Director: Emma Kent
Two Moors Festival Chorus
Chorus Master: Colin Howard
Soprano: Gemma Summerfield
Tenor: John Porter Baritone: Tim Nelson