Tuesday 12 March 2019

My Fair Lady was Truly Loverly

We have had a fantastic week performing My Fair Lady at Hertford Theatre as part of our 50th anniversary celebrations. With a strong cast and crew and excellent audience members, it was truly a show to remember.

Extracts of the reviews can be read below, and follow the links to read in full.

National Operatic & Dramatic Association Show Report

My Fair Lady was the perfect choice for Ware Operatic’s 50th Anniversary show ... This was a quality performance, thoroughly appreciated by the audience, given by a hard-working company under a dedicated production team. Read more

Photo Groupie

Ware Operatic are known for their consistently high-quality productions and their 50th-anniversary production of My Fair Lady is no exception ... Jilly Mabbitt plays the converted the role of Eliza. It's her first major role – but you'd never tell. Her performance captures the essence of Eliza perfectly ... Once again the strong ensemble is the backbone of the Ware's productions. They always produce a tremendous full sound in the crowd scenes that helps to keep the quality of Ware's productions exceptionally high.

My Fair Lady is another worthy addition to Ware Operatic's repertoire, especially as it marks their golden anniversary. With such a competent creative team and some very talented performers they should have no worries about making it through the next fifty – now wouldn't that be loverly. 

Read more

Thank you to everyone who supported, either by taking part, watching the show, or working hard behind the scenes.

Tuesday 5 February 2019

Award Wins for Ware Operatic Members

We are delighted to announce that two of our members have recently won awards at the ‘NOSCARS’, amateur dramatics’ answer to the Oscars!

Members were nominated in three categories by the National Operatic and Dramatic Association (NODA), amateur theatre’s representing body. At a glamorous awards evening, Linda Dyne won Director of the Year and Natasha Easton was named for Best Female Performance in a Musical, both for their involvement in Ware Operatic’s 2018 production of Kiss Me, Kate at Hertford Theatre.

“We’re very proud of Linda and Natasha,” comments the society’s Chairman, Brian Worthington, “who are very deserving of their awards. It just goes to show that you don’t have to pay huge amounts to see shows in the West End when quality productions are happening on your doorstep.”

“So much hard work goes into bringing the shows together,” adds Brian, “and the fact that we are celebrating such an important anniversary just goes to show how dedicated our members are and how much they enjoy being a part of Ware Operatic.”

#Linda Dyne at Natasha Easton at the NODA Awards Ceremony

Saturday 3 November 2018

My Fair Lady 2019 Cast Announcement

After a fantastic set of auditions, and a very difficult decision for our panel, we are delighted to announce the cast for My Fair Lady in our 50th Anniversary year:

HIGGINS Mick Wilson
DOOLITTLE. Paul St.James
FREDDY. Matt Lampitt
HARRY. Thomas Wornham
JAMIE. tbc
Tenor Servant. Steve Cooper
Bass Servant. Maurice Newman
Wouldn’t it be lovely quartet cockneys
Maurice Newman, Roger Green, John Allison and Stephen Cooper

ELIZA. Jilly Mabbitt
MRS PEARCE. Jenny Reynolds
Soprano Servant Rebecca Lee
Soprano Servant Beverley Howard
Alto Servant Andrea Graves
MRS HOPKINS. Deborah Rudgley

Tenor ensemble:
John Allison, Stephen Cooper, Brian Watson, Steve Wicks, Brian Worthington

Bass ensemble:
John Christopher Bain, Martyn Broyd, Roger Green, Maurice Newman, Tom Wornham

Soprano ensemble:
Linda Budd, Emma Cash, Bev Howard, Rebecca Lee, Zoe Reader, Anne Marie Rizzi, Shirley Richardson, Deborah Ryan

Alto ensemble:
Zoe Briggs, Liane Burnett, Sadie Cole, Andrea Graves, Claire Liu Yin, Abi Lowman, Sue Mulligan, Sandra Rowley, Deborah Rudgley, Eleanor Seager, Dorren Spielman, Amanda Walden

Wednesday 1 August 2018

An Evening With Legends NODA Show Report

This year’s ‘ An Evening with Legends ’ concert was jam packed with fantastic songs that absolutely thrilled the audience.

The company started the evening with a wonderful rendition of a 60’s Medley and then Steven Cooper followed this with ‘Nights in White Satin”, which was lovely. 

The roller coaster continued as we lurched from this poignant and powerful song to the company singing “Skyfall”. For me the volume balance was not quite right but never the less the harmonies were great  and then back to Hannah Juggins singing ‘ I Man Feel Like a Woman ’. Here I felt the dancers were a distraction.

Rebecca Joelle did an outstanding rendition of “Don’t Rain on My Parade”. Here we have a very talented performer in the making. I look forward to hearing more of this young lady.

The first half ended with Ware Operatic doing what they are well known for. Precise choral singing and it was great. Ave Verum Corpus by Mozart and Cachucha by Gilbert and Sullivan gave the audience just what they were used to and what they came to hear. A choral group with tight harmonies, perfect timing and a volume that resonates throughout the Drill Hall.

The second half the of programme started with the company involved in “America” from West Side Story. Alas, once again the dancing let the piece down. Some of the dancers were simply not up to some of the combination steps and this was such a shame.

Hannah Juggins and Tom Pigden sang from “The Phantom of the Opera really well and Hannah’s top notes were well placed and not at all forced or too long, good breath control displayed here. Well done.

The surprise of the evening was the “Earth Song” by Michael Jackson which was brilliantly executed, and I liked it very much.

However, for me, the show stopper was Hannah Joelle and Sophie Clark singing “Happy Days are Here Again/ Get Happy”. This was pure magic and I loved it.

Thank you Ware Operatic for another great performance, and for those I have not mentioned please be assured that I had a very enjoyable evening.

Thank you for your hospitality.

Reviewed by: Vicki Avery

Wednesday 13 June 2018

Grant Awarded for 50th Anniversary Celebrations

We are delighted to announce that Ware Town Council have awarded Ware Operatic a generous grant of £2,500 towards its 50th Anniversary celebrations in 2019. The society is planning a range of events to celebrate 50 years, which include introducing theatre and music to more people in the local area.

We are very grateful to the council for selecting us for this grant.

Tuesday 15 May 2018

An Evening with Legends Audition Results

We are delighted to announce the results of auditions for our Summer Concert 2018: An Evening With Legends:

Steven Cooper: Nights in White Satin

Matt Lampitt: You Took Advantage of Me

Eleanor Gage: O Mio Babbino Caro

Debbie Ryan, Linda Budd, Jenny Reynolds: Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy

Sophie Clark, Rebecca Murphy: Happy Days are Here Again

Rebecca Murphy: Don’t Rain on My Parade

Hannah Juggins: Man, I Feel Like a Woman

Hannah Juggins, Tom Pigden: Phantom of the Opera

Monday 9 October 2017

Cabaret and Kiss Me Kate Audition Results

We are thrilled to be able to annouce both our soloists for Cabaret 2017 and the cast for Kiss Me Kate, our main 2018 production.

Cabaret 2017 Solists

Martyn Broyd

Philippa Christer

Sadie Cole

Stephen Cooper

Sarah Lodge

Rachel Mayes

Maurice Newman

Mary Pick

David Ronco

Debbie Rudgley

Anne Warner

Stephen Wiley

Mick Wilson

Kiss Me Kate Cast

Lili/Kate: Tracey Gwynne

Fred/Petruchio: Phillip Cable

Lois/Bianca: Natasha Easton

Bill/Lucentio: Stephen Wiley

Hattie: Abigail Lowman

Paul: Matthew Lampitt

Gremio: David Barton

Hortensio: Chris Lucas

General Howell: Stephen Cooper

Gangsters: Mick Wilson, Daniel Goode

Auditions for Genral Howell will take place in the next few days. We are still looking for two men to play the gangsters, who have the fantastic song Brush up on your Shakespeare. Please get in touch if you are interested in auditioning for these parts.

Congratulatoins to everyone and we look forward to both performances! Get your tickets for Cabaret 2017 here or keep up to date with all our events on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Tuesday 18 July 2017

Summer Concert 2017 NODA Report

West End Shows Past and Present by Ware Operatic, performed at Ware Drill Hall, was a compilation concert containing some all-time classic musical numbers from some well-loved musicals such as Les Miserables and Anything Goes, as well as from some lesser-known gems such as Jersey Boys.

The show contained excerpts from no less than 16 different musicals. The vast variety of songs appealed to all ages and tastes with many different themes proving to be an entertaining and enjoyable evening.

This was a very good musical compilation concert by the society. It was very well compered and the audience was definitely in for a treat.

The whole evening opened with an arrangement by Teena Chinn of “Another Op’nin’, Another Show.” It worked very well with superb vocals and good diction all round. This number set the standard for which the rest of the show continued from.

Throughout this first act we saw fabulous performances from many members of the company. Modern and different interpretations of songs were preformed adding to the comedy and enjoyment value for all. The first half ended with a compilation of Rodgers and Hammerstein on Broadway leaving the audience wanting more from the second act and providing the talking point for the break.

Act 2 then opened with songs from Miss Saigon arranged by Ed Lojeski.

After the superb vocals and harmonies that ended act one we thought it would be hard for the company to top this but how wrong we were.

There were some excellent solo performances and choral singing, led extremely well as always by M.D. David Ranford.

All the soloists performed very well, but highlights for me were Sara Shaw singing “So In Love“ from Kiss Me Kate, Joanna Tripp performing “One Hundred Easy Ways” and my particular favourite, the medley from Les Miserables, which came at the very end of the performance. Wow! There wasn’t a weak link in the company and the audience was very enthusiastic about all the performances.

Lighting was appropriate to the various moods of the music and, although there appeared to be fewer members in the choir this year, the positioning of the chairs was well spaced so that every member of the company could be seen.

As always, Barbara Manning was faultless at the piano and James Reynolds gave us some haunting moments on his saxophone.

Well done to the company for an excellent evening’s entertainment and thank you for your generous hospitality.

Tuesday 14 March 2017

Chess 2017 NODA Report

This vibrant Rock Opera was performed by a talented cast and ensemble that had many highlights and was an accomplished production.

The mood was established right from the start by the simple, but clever set design, including side screen projections and height variations in the staging, which added a new dimension along with positional lighting on a stage wide cyclorama.

The task of handling the intricate music to ensure tempos and continuity were kept was in the very capable hands of Musical Director John Tripp and his excellent Orchestra. There were on occasion, however, moments when I perceived the inclusion of additional musical harmonies that I was unfamiliar with and this made me question if an updated version had been developed of which I was unaware.

The story line itself was a little thin, covering the political aspect between USA and Russia and the love life of the protagonists both in love with the same lady. The passion and emotion of the music and the tension of the International World Chess Final presented a very sophisticated show and for this the strength of the show relied upon the quality and talents of the seven Principals, and, because of the complexities of the musical numbers, there could be no weaknesses.

The first act slowly engages the audience and closes with the well-known evocative ‘Anthem’, superbly sung by Mick Wilson (Anatoly) and ensemble. The second act is much stronger and the principals reveled in the opportunity to sing such superb songs. Tracy Gwynne (Florence) was simply wonderful having a very strong stage presence and powerful soprano voice. Chris Lucas (Freddie) the American chess master was well cast and showed great acting potential however, top notes, at times, were rather strained and he needs to develop the art of restraint remembering that on stage, less power often gives the audience more.

His Russian opponent Mick Wilson (Anatoly) was superb in the role and presented us with a master class in musical theatre.

Sarah Lodge (Svetlana) gave a very controlled performance on stage and her solo ‘Someone Else’s Story’ and duet with Florence ‘I Know Him So Well’ was beautifully sung and performed.

Phillip Cable (Walter) gave us a scheming and at times somewhat humorous performance, which was slowly picked up by the audience.

Molokov (Stephen Cooper) gave a fine, mature, understated portrayal, sang well and maintained his Russian accent throughout.

Joanna Tripp( Arbiter) hit the high notes with ease and power and it was interesting to see a woman in this role. Well done.

Ensemble singing was excellent and the orchestral sound was perfect. However the one weak spot was the choreography. Dance combinations often seemed muddled and a number of the ensemble were out of time in the faster paced sections. The use of pom-poms did not work at all.

The quality of the sound was good and I loved the overhead camera, perfectly positioned every time.

Costumes and hair for the principals were in keeping with the time period but the ensemble were a mismatch of styles and designs and the general appearance of some of the younger members of the chorus was rather untidy. In particular, hair- styles needed more attention.

The finale ‘Anthem’ by the whole Company was totally thrilling. The audience loved it and so did I.  

This was a memorable production for Ware Operatic and well suited to their strengths as accomplished singers. Congratulations.

Thank you for your hospitality and I hope to see you again soon.

Report by Vicki Avery, NODA District 9

Monday 19 December 2016

Success at the Noscar Awards for Ware Operatic

We had a spectacular night at the local Noscar award ceremony on Saturday 19th November and picked up several awards across the society. The Noscar awards are presented by NODA, the National Operatic and Dramatic Association.

Firstly, a huge well done to Mick Wilson for 'Best Male Performance in a Musical' for his role as Major General Stanley in Pirates of Penzance (March 2016). 

The second award was for 'Most Effective Musical Accomplishment' for Verdi's Triumphal March from Aida, performed at the Summer Concert 2016 under the capable conductor's baton of Chris Tilbury.

And finally, a massive congratulations to Barbara Manning for being awarded Vicki Avery's Personal Award for Services to Amateur Theatre. A great honour and well deserved!