PRESS RELEASE: International Opera Director Comes to Wigton
SoundWave & Rosehill’s Opera Studio hosted international opera director Frederic Wake-Walker on Sunday 28 October. Accompanied by Jane-Eve Straughton from The Opera Group they led an inspiring workshop designed to take acting to new heights.
Hansel & Gretel’s Christmas Feast is a Christmas production that will be performed at Rosehill Theatre on 16 December. It’s a panto-meets-Puccini production with fantastical characters weaving a tale of magic and mystery through three operatic scenes taken from La Boheme, Humperdinck’s Hansel & Gretel and Debussy’s Pelleas and Melisande.
The cast for Hansel & Gretel’s Christmas Feast are a mix of local performers aged 8+ from across Cumbria alongside are a variety of professional and semi-professional singers and is being put together by a team of local professionals including Jilly Jarman from BlueJam, Penrith, Hannah Reid from Giocoso, Wigton and Emma Bayliss who is designing the show.
The Opera Studio is all about creating high quality training opportunities for anyone wanting to discover, explore and refine their opera voice. Frederic’s workshop formed a vital part of the journey towards performing excellence on the 16 December. Many of the cast have no experience of acting and movement and would class themselves as singers only – so there was apprehension as well as excitement leading up to the workshop. On the day, 27 people squeezed into Wigton Methodist Church hall to take part and a hubbub of chatter descended as everyone shared their nervousness and interest about what would happen next. Freddie quickly settled the group into a place of focussed concentration as he led them through a series of exercises that built characterful movement and confidence to improvise around different scenarios in the show. By the end, the performers were all buzzing with ideas to take forward in their roles, brimming with enthusiasm, and providing excellent feedback for the day.
Frederic Wake-Walker says:
“I really enjoyed working with such a diverse and energised group. I’m sure it will be a wonderful show.”
Jane-Eve Straughton, the executive director of The Opera Group, originally hails from Cumbria.
“The North West isn’t an area we currently tour to, and having family still based in Workington, I was naturally pleased and surprised to hear about the Opera Studio. Being able to get involved so directly straight away with people on the ground has been a really useful way of understanding the quality of the work that’s being achieved here in Cumbria and where we might fit in.”
David Wilson Opera Studio participant and performer in the Christmas show says:
“I thought it was excellent. It certainly brought out the creativity in people. It was a relaxed atmosphere and got the group communicating when many of us hadn’t actually met before. Freddie demonstrated how to use different postures and this affected the feeling of what I’m trying to do when I’m on stage. That was really useful and the improvisations we all shared at the end were brilliant – really impressive!”
SoundWave Opera Studio in partnership with Rosehill and BlueJam Arts