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After the success of their 2011/12 season, Bel Canto will be hosting the first of their 2012/13 season concerts in October. While the works of Gilbert and Sullivan are not everyone’s cup of tea, Musical Director David Barnard has assembled a programme to entertain dramatically as well as musically, with the ‘Incantation’, Act 1 Finale and Opening of Act 2 of The Sorcerer forming a large part of the programme. David, has chosen great arias such as O Foolish Fay from Iolanthe and Minerva! from Princess Ida to flaunt the pure quality of Sullivan’s writing – often much better than the composers of the era he was occasionally trying to imitate.
The Sorcerer, for example is a pastiche on Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore (The Elixir of Love), in which a Sorcerer conjures up a love potion and manages to sneak it into the teapots that the villagers are drinking from on their village green, eventually sending them to sleep. Upon waking up, the villagers magically fall in love with the first person they see!
There will be of course other well known arias such as Poor Wand’ring One from The Pirates of Penzance, performed by guest soprano Clare Wheat and a decent chunk of HMS Pinafore. Other soloists for the evening include Michael Tipler (best supporting actor, Buxton G&S Festival 2011), Stephen Andrews (G&S roles in Wexford, USA and Canada), Christine Stubbs and Joanna Shacklock with Bel Canto forming the strong and well sung backbone to the programme.
The rest of the 2012/13 season for the choir looks impressive with a special version (granted by the composer) of the Manchester Carols which will see the choir join forces with St John’s School choir, Mexborough in December, followed by a period performance of Rossini’s Petite Messe Solenelle in March 2013 – 149 years almost to the day it was first premiered. If their period performance of the Messiah earlier in March this year is anything to go by, it will be a knockout evening and another sell out.