Community helps set the tone for opera

Opera close up ... Families in Halstead host cast and singers from the Stanley Hall Opera.
Opera close up ... Families in Halstead host cast and singers from the Stanley Hall Opera.
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THOUSANDS of opera-goers converged on an Elizabethan manor house near Halstead to watch a new production of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, performed by the Stanley Hall Opera.

But for some families living in and around the town, they have been lucky enough to experience the sight and sounds of the annual midsummer seasonal event at close hand.

Twenty-five families played host to members of the cast and crew, with the opera company saying it would have trouble functioning without the help it receives from the nearby community.

The Stanley Hall Opera is set in the grounds of Stanley Hall manor house, a working farm near Little Maplestead which attracted around 2,000 people across four performances.

Now in its 11th season, the opera company creates a production from scratch, with auditions for singers taking place in London, with a new musical and theatre director appointed each year.

It aims to showcase young singers and instrumentalists who perform alongside more seasoned professionals.

William and Angela Fossick, from Halstead, hosted opera singers Toby Scholz and Robert Gildon this year.

Each year they meet interesting and aspiring young artists and musicians.

“We thoroughly enjoy the experience,” said Mr Fossick.

Christoper Stewart-Smith, co-founder of Stanley Hall Opera, said this support was crucial.

“We pride ourselves on showcasing young performers at a crucial time in their career development, providing support and encouragement while also offering audiences a unique opportunity to see opera stars of the future,” he said.

“Despite the current climate of funding cuts, we continue to grow and succeed year on year thanks to the talented cast and creative teams we work with and the support we receive from the local community.”