Latest Event Updates
Conductor sings in his own concert
John Hobbs has been conducting South Devon Choir since 2007 and during that time the choir hears his rich baritone voice on a very regular basis. There is nothing like hearing a difficult piece of music sung correctly for cementing it into the brain.
At this concert our audience will have the opportunity to hear John’s wonderful voice as he sings a tenor and baritone duet with Arthur Swan. You can look forward to hearing the wonderful Au Fond du Temple Saint from The Pearl Fishers by Bizet.
John Hobbs has enjoyed a wide and varied singing career but most recently he has sung the role of Germont in Verdi’s La Traviata, in 2017, with both Cheryl Brendish and Arthur Swan; and Falstaff in Nicolai’s Merry Wives of Windsor, in 2018, with Arthur. Both performances were with the Duchy Opera Company.
John is understudying the roles of Macbeth and Banquo in the same Company’s current production of Verdi’s Macbeth. On Palm Sunday 2019, he sang the Bass arias and supporting characters (Judas, Peter, High Priest and Pilate) in the Plymouth Philharmonic Choir’s performance of Bach’s St Matthew Passion.
Future performances include an operatic recital, with Arthur, for the Friends of Duchy Opera, in Newquay; and an open-air programme of operatic scenes, with Cheryl and her new company, Intimate Opera, at Trevince; both in June; and also the bass solos in Mozart’s Requiem, in Buckfast Abbey, in September. All this in addition to being Musical Director of the Bude Choral Society, North Devon Choral Society and the South Devon Choir.
Tickets for the concert are available online, from choir members and on the door, priced at £12 (Students 19 and under are free of charge). The concert takes place on Saturday 6 July 2019, doors open at 7.00pm and the concert starts at 7.30pm.
International Tenor sings Opera Classics
South African tenor Arthur Swan joins South Devon Choir once again for their summer concert on Saturday 6 July at Central Church, Tor Hill Road, Torquay.
You can expect to hear some real operatic treats including Lensky’s aria from Eugene Onedin by Tchaikovsky, Au Fond du Temple Saint, from The Pearl Fishers by Bizet, the famous tenor and baritone duet, where Arthur is joined by John Hobbs; and partnering soprano Cheryl Brendish, Brindisi from La Traviata by Verdi.
Arthur Swan studied opera at the South African College of Music and was a member of Cape Town Opera’s Young Artists’ Programme. After completing his undergraduate studies in 2004, he performed in theatres throughout Southern Africa before moving to London in 2008.
Arthur’s lyric tenor is in demand on both the concert and opera stage, in repertoire ranging from the baroque to late romantic, thanks to what critics have described as a “nobility” and “warmth” of tone, as well as his natural vocal flexibility and versatility.
His opera repertoire includes works by Mozart (Ferrando in Cosi fan tutte, Tamino in Die Zauberflöte, and Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni), Rossini (Almaviva in The Barber of Seville, Ramiro in La Cenerentola, and Osiride in Mosé in Egitto), Donizetti (Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoor, and Ernesto in Don Pasquale), Janáček (Steva in Jenůfa), Bizet (Don José in Carmen) and Puccini (Prunier in La Rondine, Rodolfo in La Bohème, and Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly). Arthur also recently made his first foray into operetta, performing the roles of Alfred in Die Fledermaus (J. Strauss II) and Marco in The Gondoliers (Gilbert and Sullivan) for North West Opera in Ireland.
In addition to his regular performances with regional and touring opera companies in the United Kingdom, Arthur’s association with Cape Town Opera has continued, with engagements including Hoffmann (Offenbach’s Les Contes d’Hoffmann) and, more recently, the principal part of Whiteman in extended tours to the UK, Dubai and Hong Kong of The Mandela Trilogy, a musical tribute to the life of Nelson Mandela.
Tickets for the concert are available online as well as from choir members or on the door. Doors open at 7pm on Saturday 6 July and the concert starts at 7.30pm. #sdcopera
The Ups and Downs of Committee Life
|Ups and downs are inevitable in life. No sooner do we enjoy basking in another successful concert than it is time to start arranging the next one.
Despite our extensive forward plans sometimes things go adrift and our Spring 2019 concert has been one such occasion.
Sally Says Thank You
Our Chairlady says: I am a very happy Chairlady! Our concert on Saturday was wonderful and so enjoyable. Lots of very favourable comments from audience and Choir alike. Thank you so much everybody-you put your all into it!
And as for my team of committee members – how impressed and grateful I am for your commitment and hard work. I have to make a special mention of Mark Saxelby who is now our concert manager – so efficient and organised.
The orchestra was great and our little band of young chorus singers added so much to the very moving Tsunami Requiem. What variety we had with our excellent soloists in the Haydn. And finishing with the beautiful peaceful Lauridsen.
I’m delighted to say we collected £185 for the disaster relief funds. As always John Hobbs led us strongly from the front – and Simon Dunbavand worked his magic on the organ.
Singing at that level is unbelievably life enhancing. So thank you once again everybody. Onwards and upwards – Brahms Requiem next!
And So Does John Hobbs
John Hobbs says:
Dear SDC members
Thank you very much for a delightful concert last Saturday. The Haydn sparkled, with excellent soloists and orchestra, together with your own splendid singing, employing different dynamic levels and rhythmic accuracy – what a joy!
The second half was, in contrast, more powerful in its emotional impact, yet that came together so well in the evening, and I really believe you had not sung either work better.
The Requiem worked well with its brass ensemble, percussion and Simon on the organ, and the children’s chorus rose to the challenge of the concert, ably assisted by Pauline in the background, which added that extra volume. Moreover, you achieved the correct rhythms in the Dies Irae, which is a case of ‘peaking on the night’ and is always a good thing to do! The Agnus Dei was truly beautiful, as was the Lauridsen. The audience was indeed loath to break the spell at the end of both works, which is a sure sign of success. Congratulations on a job well done!
I hope to see many of you at the social event on 17th December, but if not, have a good Christmas and I look forward to our return on 3rd January when we begin rehearsing Brahms’ glorious ‘Requiem’.
Many thanks and all good wishes, John
Choir marks Armistice Centenary
Members of South Devon Choir helped commemorate the centenary of Armistice Day at Churston Parish Church on Remembrance Sunday.
About 20 members of the large choir assisted the church choristers in the Remembrance service, to help lead the congregation in singing and to perform an anthem.
“It was a wonderful way to mark the peace that eventually came to Europe exactly 100 years ago, after nearly five years of appalling warfare,” said Lisa Prager, Secretary of South Devon Choir.
“It was particularly apt, as our concert – ‘Calm after Chaos’ – is only a few weeks away, on 1 December. The concert was planned ages ago, and it includes Haydn’s Nelson Mass, written during another European war, and Chris Williams’ Tsunami Requiem, which is also particularly relevant given recent tsunamis and other natural disasters. At the concert, we’ll be inviting the audience to make donations for the Disasters Emergency Committee to help a number of UK charities.”
The concert, at Central Church, Torquay, starts at 7.30pm on Saturday 1 December; tickets are £12 (free for students under 19), and can be obtained by calling 01803 846058; on-line at http://www.southdevonchoir.org/tickets; or on the door. #sdcnelsonmass
Tim Mirfin – Bass
We are very happy to welcome Tim Mirfin back to sing with us once more in our Rossini and Puccini concert on 21 April at Central Church, Torquay #sdevonchoirconcert
As a full time opera singer, Tim has sung in all major European countries, Australia, the US, Russia and the Middle East. He has performed major roles by Mozart, Handel, Britten, Puccini, Verdi and many others.
Opera companies he has worked with include Hamburg State Opera, Theater an der Wien, Frankfurt Opera, Lyon Opera, Welsh National Opera, Opera North, Scottish Opera, Holland Park Opera and The Bolshoi, Moscow.
He has a wide, varied concert repertoire ranging from the Bach, Handel, Haydn, Mozart and Verdi standards to rarities and premières. He has given concerts in the Vienna Musikverein, Amsterdam’s Conzert-gebouw, Melbourne Town Hall, Royal Albert Hall, Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Wigmore Hall, Usher Hall, Edinburgh (for the Festival) and various cathedrals and churches throughout the UK.
Tim has worked with a range of conductors including Sir Colin Davis, Sir John Elliot Gardiner, Sir Andrew Davis, Sir Donald Runnicles, Martyn Brabbins, Edward Gardner, Robin Ticciati.
He read Law at Cambridge, studying postgraduate singing at the Royal Academy of Music and the National Opera Studio.
Join us and hear Tim sing. Tickets are available online, from choir members and on the door.