Choral

John Hobbs sings Opera Classic

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Conductor sings in his own concert

John Hobbs

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.

 

Opera Classics – Arthur Swan

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International Tenor sings Opera Classics

Picture of Arthur Swan
Arthur Swan

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

Committee Life

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The Ups and Downs of Committee Life

Ups and Downs
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.

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Glorious Russian Choral Music

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A Talk by Simon Dunbavand

Simon Dunbavand
Simon Dunbavand

#torquay #music #Russia # choral –  South Devon Choir are adding to their social calendar this spring with a talk by lecturer and musician, Simon Dunbavand.  He has entitled the talk “Glorious Russian Choral Music” and it promises to be gloriously illustrated with music and a fascinating account by Simon which you can be sure will include some interesting personal anecdotes.

Simon describes himself as an organist, pianist, conductor, choral animateur, lecturer, researcher, writer, composer, teacher, and traveller.  Not only that, Simon is also a Cambridge graduate and was an Organ Scholar of Peterhouse, now resident in Torquay he is also organist at Paignton Parish Church and is accompanist to South Devon Choir among his many other roles.

One of Simon’s passions is Russian Choral music and he has directed performances of Russian Orthodox music, which he researches and collects in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Kiev.

Simon is also a frequent lecturer on classical music themed-cruises, as well as inspiring singers in the Choirs-at-Sea programme. Travel is his greatest pleasure, and when combined with music, produces a thrilling anthropological and ethnographical cocktail, from the ghats of Varanasi, to the monasteries of Luang Prabang in Laos. Simon is proud to have played the ceremonial gong at a Hindu watermelon ritual on Moheshkhali Island in Bangladesh, and trekked to the ancient Buddhist Monasteries of Inle Lake, Burma, across the mountains of the forbidden Shan State to the two-thousand stupas of Kakku with their bells tinkling in the breeze. Simon has visited the Mursi tribe of the Lower Omo Valley in Ethiopia and attended the chanting of the St George’s Day rites in the rock-hewn orthodox churches of the holy city of Lalibella. Recently he took the infamous Tazara train from Dar es Salaam to Zambia, and continued onwards into Zimbabwe and South Africa. In 2015 he has particularly enjoyed visiting the Corcovado district of Costa Rica, Bocas del Toro in Panama, and travelling by train across Uzbekistan.

The event will take place in The Rougemont Room, Toorak Hotel, Chestnut Avenue, Torquay, Devon, TQ2 5JS on Tuesday 6 March commencing at 7pm.  There is a bar and tea/coffee are also available.  The cost for the event is £7.00 per person – tickets are available from Prim Wood, Telephone 01803 872296, or on the door.

Find out more about Simon Dunbavand on his website.

St Nicolas-Julian Rippon

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Julian Rippon – Bass

Julian Rippon treats us to the well-known solo ‘Mighty Lord’ by Bach from his famous ‘Christmas Oratorio’  in our forthcoming concert on Saturday 25 November at St Matthias’ Church, Wellswood, Torquay.  In addition, he will perform in the beautiful Bach Cantata, ‘Sleepers, Wake!’ together with Elinor Chapman and Nick Hawker.

Julian is in constant demand as a soloist around the South West, performing in a wide range of choral and operatic works with many of the foremost groups in the region. He is also a full-time member of Exeter Cathedral Choir.

Julian began his singing career as a boy chorister with St Paul’s Cathedral Choir, and continued to sing regularly while an Engineering
undergraduate at Cambridge
University. He moved to Japan in 1990, and later to Shanghai,
returning to the UK in 2007. While in the Far East Julian appeared
frequently as soloist, both on the stage and in the concert hall.

His solo repertoire includes Monteverdi Vespers, Handel Messiah and Judas Maccabeus, J.S. Bach B
Minor Mass
, St John Passion, St Matthew Passion and Christmas Oratorio, Mozart Requiem, Beet-hoven Symphony No. 9, Rossini Petite Messe Solennelle, Mendelssohn Elijah, Verdi Requiem, Brahms German Requiem, Stainer Crucifixion, Fauré Requiem, Mahler
Symphony No. 8, Vaughan Williams Sea Symphony and Fantasia on Christmas Carols, Carl Orff
Carmina Burana, Duruflé
Requiem, Britten War Requiem and Howard Goodall Requiem.

Julian recently performed in Vaughan Williams Sea Symphony and Britten’s War Requiem, and has a busy round of concerts leading up to Christmas, including Handel Messiah, Bach Magnificat, and Durulflé Requiem. He has also been invited to perform
Mahler’s ‘Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen’ (‘Songs of a Wayfarer’) in Sidmouth next spring.

To hear Julian join us on Saturday 25 November at the earlier time of 7pm.

Tickets are available priced £12 for the concert with a separate ticket of £4.00 for the finger buffet.  As usual children and students under 19 are welcome to the concert free of charge but will require a finger buffet ticket at £4.00. Tickets can be obtained from Choir Members and online and of course, on the door.  Please  note that because we have to cater we are asking people to book tickets no later than Saturday 18 November.  There may possibly be extra buffet tickets available on the night but first come, first served as they say.

#sdevonchoirconcert

To buy tickets now please use our secure online booking system


Book now

St Nicolas Concert Soloist

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Elinor Chapman

Our soprano soloist for our concert on 25 November at St Matthias’ Church, Wellswood, Torquay is the sublime singer, Elinor Chapman.

Elinor graduated with a degree in Law with French before taking a post-graduate diploma in performance and vocal studies at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.

Since then she has performed many operatic roles including Despina (Cosi), Oscar (Ballo in Maschera),
Adele (Fledermaus), Mercedes (Carmen) and Blonde (Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail) for
companies including Kentish Opera and Unexpected Opera. For Duchy Opera Elinor has played Malwina in Marschner’s The Vampire and Adina in Donizetti’s The Elixir of Love.

She has twice toured as a soloist with the Kent Sinfonia to China and has given concerts and recitals as far afield as New Zealand.

Oratorio work includes Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater, Mozart’s Requiem, Handel’s Judas Maccabbeus, Haydn’s The Seasons, Vivaldi’s Gloria, Mozart’s Exsultate Jubilate and Faure’s Requiem. Future engagements include Mozart’s Requiem, Haydn’s Little Organ Mass and Handel’s L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato.

To hear Elinor perform in Bach’s ‘Sleepers, Wake!’ and ‘Let the Bright Seraphim’ from Handel’s Samson Oratorio join us on Saturday 25 November at the earlier time of 7pm.

Tickets are available priced £12 for the concert with a separate ticket of £4.00 for the finger buffet.  As usual children and students under 19 are welcome to the concert free of charge but will require a finger buffet ticket at £4.00. Tickets can be obtained from Choir Members, online and of course on the door.  Please  note that because we have to cater we are asking people to book tickets no later than Saturday 18 November.  There may possibly be extra buffet tickets available on the night but first come, first served as they say.

#sdevonchoirconcert

To buy tickets now please use our secure online booking system


Book now

Will the real Father Christmas please stand up

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St Nicolas, the real Father Christmas

Excitement builds in the minds of small children as Christmas Eve approaches and Santa leaves presents for them but what do we know of this magical person?  Who is he? Who was he?

The origin of Father Christmas, or to give him his proper name, St Nicolas, is shrouded in the mists of time.  All we know of him is largely down to a writer from the 9th century giving an account of a figure who lived some 500 years before, one Nicolas of Myra.

Nicolas of Myra was reputed to have performed a number of kindly, indeed saintly, acts including the restoration to life of children whom he raised from the dead, the rescues of three sisters destined for a life of misery and prostitution, three men from an unjust death and three drowning sailors off the coast of Turkey.  You can see the influence of the holy number three in these accounts.

His diverse activities have earned him the patronage of unmarried girls, pawnbrokers, merchants, perfumiers and apothecaries as well as the modern fame in which he is now held.

At our concert on 25 November we will sing of the life of St Nicolas, including the restoration to life of the children.  In the Britten Cantata the children are three small boys, Timothy, Mark and John, whose parents are in anguish at their disappearance.  Nicolas realises that the boys have been pickled in brine by an unscrupulous butcher and supplied as meat to a landlord in the famine stricken land. He restores them to life and you will hear them in the concert as their parts are sung by three choristers from Exeter Cathedral.

Forget Strictly, catch up on iPlayer, and come out for an evening of choral entertainment with us as we sing St Nicolas and the famous Bach Cantata BMV140 Sleepers, Wake!  and if you would like to join us for a finger buffet afterwards then be quick and buy tickets for that too – the deadline is Saturday 18 November (for catering purposes) but concert tickets will be available on the door on the night.

Tickets are available online click here

For more information about the concert click here – do join us.

Christus Natus Est!

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Joyous Christmas Singing

Mobile phone technology being what it is now, a member of our audience has supplied us with this recording of the last part of Cecelia McDowall’s lovely Christmas Cantata, “Christus Natus Est!” We hope it will enjoyed once again by those who attended the concert and for the first time by those who didn’t.

Happy Christmas, to one and all.

 

 

 

The Verdi Soloists – Cheryl Brendish

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Cheryl Brendish
Cheryl Brendish

In the fourth of our soloist introductions the Coast to Coast Choir has pleasure in introducing the soprano singing the mezzo soprano role in the combined choirs performance of Verdi’s famous Messe da Requiem to be performed at 7.30pm on Saturday 2nd July 2016 in the Assembly Rooms, Torquay Town Hall.  Tickets for the Torquay performance can be obtained through this website – for further details click here 

If you are unable to come to Torquay then the performance takes place again in the Pannier Market, Barnstaple on Sunday 3rd July starting at 3pm.

The soprano singing the mezzo soprano role is the effervescent and versatile Cheryl Brendish.  As you will see from her resume below she has had a varied career and we have discovered it started at the very young age of seven when she won her class at the Mansfield Music Festival singing Where the Bee Sucks.  Regrettably there is no recording of that occasion available on the internet, nor indeed have we been able to find a clip of Cheryl singing so you will have to content yourselves with listening to the Liber Scriptus performed by Violeta Urmana and know that you will have the pleasure of hearing Cheryl sing this beautiful solo when you come along to the concert.

We understand that Cheryl enjoys an active career as an operatic and concert performer. She studied voice for many years and her operatic roles include Thirza The Wreckers, a role which had not been performed on stage for 100 years, directed by David Sulkin; Suzuki Madame Butterfly; First Lady Magic Flute; Zerlina Don Giovanni; Dido in Dido & Aeneas and many more.

Cheryl is also a successful concert artist. In 1985 she performed Mozart’s Mass in C Minor with Sir Simon Rattle and the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, and Mendelssohn’s Elijah with Alan Opie in 2005. Other concert repertoire highlights include Verdi Requiem, Mozart Requiem, Handel Messiah, Bach Christmas Oratorio, Bach Magnificat, Elgar The Kingdom and Charpentier’s Te Deum.

Cheryl has been the guest soloist with the Mount Charles Band at the The Minack Theatre for the past 9 years for ‘Last Night of the Proms’.

Cheryl has been invited to attend many masterclasses, including on 1982 with John Carol-Case and most recently with Ingrid Surgenor, Mollie Petrie, Richard Jackson, Russel Smyth, Peter Harrison and Neil and Penny Jenkin.

A member of Cantamus from 1978 to 1983, Cheryl studied in London before joining the Victoria State Opera, Melbourne. Cheryl moved to Cornwall in 1997 and won the title of Cornwall’s Vocal Champion in 2000. Cheryl performs many solo recitals both in and out of the county; along with Kay Deeming and Paul Drayton, Cheryl formed the trio ‘Col Canto’ in 2005.

The past few years have been challenging and exciting for Cheryl as her voice has blossomed into a full lyrical soprano, which has opened up a whole new repertoire of heroines to be portrayed. Cheryl continues to produce and develop her ‘Opera Cabaret’, where she performs a variety of genres from jazz to swing and cabaret classics all mixed with storytelling and torch songs; with invited musicians from across the south west.

 

The Verdi Soloists – Darren Jeffrey

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Darren Jeffery
Darren Jeffery

In the third of our introductions we turn our attention to the bass soloist in the Coast to Coast Choir’s performance of Verdi’s famous Messe da Requiem to be performed at 7.30pm on Saturday 2nd July 2016 in the Assembly Rooms, Torquay Town Hall. Tickets for the Torquay performance can be obtained through this website – for further details click here

If you are unable to come to Torquay then the performance takes place again in the Pannier Market, Barnstaple on Sunday 3rd July starting at 3pm.

Singing the bass soloist’s part for us is Darren Jeffery. If, like most of us, you wish you could attend the BBC Proms but trying to get hold of tickets, travel and somewhere to stay makes such a trip out of reach you will be pleased to know that, not only can you hear a work that is being performed at the Proms this year but also, a performer who has sung a major roles at the Proms including performing in Elijah in 2003.

Here’s a taste of his voice like the finest, darkest chocolate. Listen as Darren sings “Abendlich strahlt der Sonne Auge” from Das Rheingold by Richard Wagner and let it whet your appetite for his performances in the dramatic Messe da Requiem by Giuseppe Verdi.

Darren has had a varied and successful professional career. He was born in Fordham, Cambridgeshire and attended The King’s School, Ely. He then studied as both an undergraduate and graduate student at the Royal Northern College of Music from 1995 to 2001. During that time he won the RNCM’s highest student award, the Curtis Gold Medal. He sang in the chorus of Glyndebourne Festival Opera while still a post-graduate student as well as singing the title role in the college’s 2001 production of Verdi’s Falstaff. On completion of his studies in Manchester, he joined The Royal Opera’s Young Artists Programme in its founding year.

Jeffery made his professional debut as a principal artist as Sciarrone in Puccini’s Tosca at the Royal Opera House in 2002. He subsequently appeared with the company in several more roles, including Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Monterone in Rigoletto, and Masetto in Don Giovanni. He went on to an international career, appearing on the stages of many European opera houses and festivals. In 2008 he was a finalist in the Seattle International Wagner Competition and in 2013 made his US debut as Kothner in Lyric Opera of Chicago’s production of Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg.  His work as a soloist in oratorio and concert includes  ElijahLe RossignolLe TroyensThe Seven Last Words of ChristPeter Grimes, and most recently a concert performance of the Glyndebourne production of Billy Budd.

Among Darren’s several appearances at the BBC Proms was Elijah in 2003.

We look forward to welcoming him to Torquay and Barnstaple and hearing him sing.