Sheffield City Opera stirs into action this coming Saturday, the 12th of March, at St Andrew’s Psalter Lane Church with semi-staged scenes from four operas, three duets and some Mozart items.
The semi-staged scenes are costumed and take in the opening chorus and waltz scene from act two of Gounod’s Faust, the finale of act one from Verdi’s Macbeth – the discovery of Duncan’s murder, and the composer’s act two finale from La Traviata – when Alfredo denounces Violetta.
And where would we be without Bizet’s Carmen: the Habanera; factory workers fight in act one; and the Flower Song in act two!
Two of the duets are extremely well known, too: the Barcarolle from Offenbach’s Tales of Hoffmann and a certain tenor/ baritone duet from Bizet’s Pearl Fishers. The tenor/ baritone duet from the beginning of act four of Puccini’s Bohème adds a nice degree of non-familiarity.
Four pieces by Mozart are the Giovanni/ Zerlina duet, La ci darem le mano from Don Giovanni; Papageno’s Birdcatcher song from The Magic Flute; and, from The Marriage of Figaro, the Countess and Susanna’s Letter Duet and Susanna/ Count duet Crudel! perché finora.
SCO is actually listing the latter as O why are you so cruel? – Cruel one, why until now, is a more literal translation! – because everything is sung in English, except The Pearl Fishers duet (in its original French), under the direction of Robert Webb and with piano accompaniment: Ruth Milsom!
Principal soloists are tenor Karl Reiff and baritone Daniel Sumner appearing as guests, Alexandra Robinson, Rosie Thickett – the stepsisters in SCO’s staging of Massenet’s Cinderella (Cendrillon) last year, here in the very different guises of Lady Macbeth and Carmen, respectively – Mary McCready and Nigel Rothery.
Supporting soloists are Anne Bailey, Mike Willis, Jeremy Craven, Ruth Speare, Rebecca Lambert and Fiona Constantine, who is also the evening’s director.