Claxton Opera


2001


The Decision


Bertolt Brecht and Hans Eisler


Cast


Number 1 ................................................. Matthew Clark
Number 2 ................................................. Suzanne Chapman
Number 3 ................................................. Robert Morris
Number 4 ................................................. Desmond Holmes

Eisler and Brecht's relationship was a stormy one but a single belief at least united them: that populist political theatre would help further the Marxist Revolution. First preformed in 1930, Brecht's icy presentation of the logical result of the application of Marxist ethics, rebounds in an unexpected way for a 21st century audience.

The music is direct and harmonically open, putting to powerful use the martial brass and timpani.


The Story

Five Marxist agitators sent to the Chinese town of Muckden to prepare the coolies for revolution have killed one of their own comrades who accidently betrayed their presence. They narrate these events in words, action and music, and await the judgement of their peers - the chorus and the audience.


Chorus

Janet Arnett, Sylvia Bailey, Sue Bayliss, Maureen Cope, Lynda Knights, Jenny Snook, Pat Tegerdine, Jill Thompson, Rosemary Walker, Heather Woodcock

Andrew Baker, Trevor Bray, Phillip Chapman, Crispin Clarke, Peter Russ, Trevor Thurston, Mike Wensley, Richard White, Alan Willoughby, Gus Woodcock


Musical Director - John Traill

Stage Director - Richard White




Gallery


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The Cooper


Thomas Arne - ed. Joseph Horovitz


Cast


Cooper Martin .............................. Richard Duncan Johnson
Fanny, his ward ............................. Julie Roberts
Colin, his apprentice ..................... David Burrows


First performed in the "little" Haymarket Theatre, London in 1772, the original piece was in two acts with five characters but in 1956 Horovitz skilfully reconstructed it in the form as performed here The extensive dialogue was replaced by-and-large with recitative but the charm and beauty of the vocal lines has been preserved to delight the audience.


The Story

Old Cooper Martin is infatuated with his pretty young ward Fanny and hopes to marry her. Fanny is in love with Martin's apprentice, Colin. After muchfun and some delicious songs, Fanny gets her Colin and Martin is relieved not to have made an awful fool of himself.


Musical Director - Peter Cooper

Stage Director - Richard White





Quattro Formaggi


Peter Cooper and Richard White


Cast


Veneziana, a Diva ........................................ Julie Roberts
Fiorentina, a Sorceress ............................... Yvonne Dorsey
Quattro Formaggi, the "Fourth Tenor" ..... David Burrows
Canneloni, the cuckolded bass .................... Alan Weyman
Pageboy ........................................................ Thomas Swann

Opera grandissimi erotico in four acts. Every word and every note betrays the miscegenation of this mighty work - a student caper at 1950's Cambridge University. The original is completely lost except for Formaggio's heroic greeting whenever he comes on stage. For all the rest, Richard White and Peter Cooper must fully bear the blame.


The Story

The Diva Venetiana is married to boring basso Canneloni, but she loves (of course) the great tenor Quattro Formaggi who returns her passion. He is himself the object of the Sorceress Fiorentina's wicked desires. Fiorentina in turn is lusted after by the hapless cuckold Canneloni.

The tenor poisons the bass with an arsenic sandwich at the golf club. Meanwhile, an emetic intended for the soprano is replaced by the scheming contralto with poison. Venetiana takes the poison and dies. Her tenor lover forces the rest of the poison down the contralto's throat. She dies. The bass who has in fact taken the emetic is taken short. He and the tenor kill each other in a duel. All are now slain but they will just keep on singing!


Chorus

Janet Arnett, Sylvia Bailey, Sue Bayliss, Maureen Cope, Lynda Knights, Jenny Snook, Pat Tegerdine, Jill Thompson, Rosemary Walker, Heather Woodcock

Andrew Baker, Trevor Bray, Phillip Chapman, Crispin Clarke, Peter Russ, Trevor Thurston, Mike Wensley, Richard White, Alan Willoughby, Gus Woodcock


Musical Director - Peter Cooper

Stage Director - Richard White




Gallery


Click on picture to see full size




Documents


Programme Cover
Programme Cover

Press review


Press coverage of Claxton 1


Press coverage of Claxton 2




Last Updated
July 10 2014