About Opera in Oborne
Each year in August, St Cuthberts Church is transformed into a theatre for a weekend of sublime music. Whilst everything ‘back of house’ is carried out by an enthusiastic crew of villagers, the cast are all international soloists in their own right.
Opera in Oborne aims to make opera accessible to all and encourages first time opera-goers. Operas are cleverly abridged by the Director, Stephen Anthony Brown and usually last 2 hours including the interval. Televisions are used to show the audience plot prompts throughout the performances.
As circumstances allow, additional events are put on over the weekend, or at other times of the year. Proceeds from the event go to the upkeep of the church.
"What a wonderful evening. We could not have enjoyed the Opera more. It was magnificent. Please pass on our thanks to all those who worked so hard in making the evening special. With our best wishes"
"We have just come back from Oborne where we heard Opera in Oborne sing Figaro and give a gala concert. We had forgotten how brilliant this group can be. The setting, the environment and proximity of opera in a small church is truly special. There is nothing like it in an opera house or concert hall. We marvelled at how this group of young stars acted out their story with such drama and emotion in a constricted venue; but that is the joy of top artists playing for you just where you can almost touch them. Not to be missed!"
“Something to sing about”. We saw Don Giovanni, sung to a breath-taking piano accompaniment, by a seven strong company of young and amazingly talented international artists. The Grange sponsored the event, incidentally, providing apparently endless top-class wine before, during and after the evening.”
"As someone who has studied opera singing seriously and taken part in performances over the years, I would like to say how impressed I was with the abridged version of Don Giovanni put on by the Intermezzo Soloists in Oborne Church on 7th and 8th August this year. The quality of both singing and acting by all members of the cast was of a very high order. The diction was excellent throughout. Some of the areas in this opera are notoriously difficult and to achieve such a high standard with only one day for rehearsal is a very remarkable achievement indeed. A special word of praise is due to the excellent pianist/redacteur who played the very challenging accompaniment without a break throughout the entire performance. I was only sorry not to have been able to attend the Concert the group gave on 9th August but I understand that this was also splendidly done and most enjoyable".
How is all started
Opera in Oborne began out of a chance meeting between Oborne residents, Sir Robert and Lady Susan Corbett, and the musical director of a group of opera singers. Some years later, when St Cuthbert's was looking for a fund-raiser, the singers were asked to perform a concert. On a very cold January evening in 2012, four singers and a pianist gave a breath-taking performance of popular arias to Oborne’s residents. Such was the success of the evening that they were immediately press-ganged into returning. 2013 saw another wonderful performance, but the unreliable church heating and the icicles on the pulpit persuaded the villagers that this should be a summer event.
In 2014, to refresh the format, it was decided to produce an abridged opera. With the help of the musical director Gill Ford and the singers, Mozart’s The Magic Flute was decided upon, and a version was arranged by Stephen Brown. On a balmy August weekend, the inaugural Oborne Opera Weekend took place. The Magic Flute was a triumph, and the Sunday concert was as good as ever. All three evenings were sell-out performances.