By work experience reporter Margo Bewley (Royal Harbour Academy)
‘Pocket-sized’ opera is coming to Thanet and Sandwich as part of a programme of shows from Kent Chamber Opera.
Bizet’s Carmen and Mozart’s The Magic Flute will be performed at St Lawrence College in Ramsgate, Sarah Thorne Theatre in Broadstairs and St Mary’s Art Centre in Sandwich.
Artistic director Terry John Bates founded the east Kent based production company in 2020 to showcase the magic of opera in a pocket-sized and more affordable format. He says opera should be presented as passionate, entertaining, and sometimes funny to give people an experience they’ll never forget.
He said: “We want our audiences to enjoy professional, inspiring and compelling performances in intimate and local surroundings.
“We aim to provide first-class opera at a reasonable cost for the community of East Kent in particular, but, as the reputation grows and the repertoire expands, to reach the whole of Kent, parts of East Sussex and Essex. We aim to work with school-age children in workshops, to encourage engagement with classical music and opera.
“As a small company, we aim to go to many different venues presenting professional pocket-sized productions.”
The chamber performs reduced arrangements of well-known operas, using an 8–10 piece ensemble, with 6-10 singers, without chorus.
Kent Chamber Opera’s first production in October 2021, was a specially commissioned arrangement of Bizet’s Carmen for 6 principal singers, no chorus, and 8 orchestral players.
The new production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute uses 10 principal singers and a 10-piece ensemble.
Carmen is set during the Spanish Civil War and tells the story of the downfall of a naive soldier Don José awaiting execution – reminiscing about his past life and the journey to his imminent demise. His memorises become episodic and develop into scenes played out in his imagination involving the seduction of Carmen.
The Magic Flute opens in the middle of the action and goes on to be a fairytale of darkness, light and finding your way in the world. It’s nighttime and a young girl is swept away by the power of imagination to a world where nothing is as it first appears. Love, dark fantasy and comedy are all set to Mozart’s magical music.
Show for 2022:
30th July Carmen: St Lawrence College, Ramsgate
17th Sept Carmen: Rye Creative Centre
24th Sept Carmen: Sarah Thorne Theatre, Broadstairs
9th Oct Carmen: Kings Hall, Herne Bay
23rd Oct The Magic Flute: Great Hall, Kent College, Canterbury Festival
30th Oct The Magic Flute: St Mary’s Arts Centre, Sandwich
6th Nov The Magic Flute: Astor Theatre, Deal
Find out more at kentchamberopera.com