Arundel Festival: comic opera in castle setting

Comic opera sung in English, fully costumed and specially staged for the concert platform is the promise behind Candlelight Opera’s production for this year’s Arundel Festival.

Monday, 22nd August 2011, 8:37 am

Don Pasquale by Donizetti will be in The Baronsʼ Hall, Arundel Castle, on Tuesday, August 23 at 7.30pm.

Don Pasquale has his mind set on disinheriting his nephew Ernesto and getting himself some heirs of his own. Not only has Pasquale denied his nephew his inheritance, he has also denied

him permission to marry his love Norina.

So, as part of a plot, Norina gets together with Dr Maletesta and poses as the eligible wife to be, but before the ink is dry on the marriage documents, Norina begins to make Pasquale’s life utterly impossible until he is practically begging Ernesto to take her off his hands.

Candlelight Opera specialise in touring opera to historic venues, performing with an orchestra and in full period costume to recreate the period setting of many of the works. The company performs in a variety of venues from galas on a theatre stage or concert platform to fully staged operas and concerts in the ballrooms, great halls or on the staircases of the UK’s publicly and privately-owned historic homes.

Last year was their tenth season.

Director David Norman recalls: “We started out using young artists coming out of the colleges and the conservatoires. Because we specialised in the standard repertoire in the original languages, it was excellent training for young artists that wanted to go on and enjoy a major career. There are not that many big professional companies left. The smaller touring companies can provide invaluable experience - and that’s really how we got going.

“Now it has grown more into a repertory company. Some artists really like to work up close to the audience in intimate spaces. We really make sure that they are comfortable doing that. I get the feeling that there are some that would really like to be separated from their audience by distance and an orchestra pit. But we get the ones that like to be close - and the ones that are good actors. Opera like any other genre is about the art of communication, and you need to have really good communication with that audience.”

Castle grounds & gardens open: 5.30pm; Castle doors open: 7pm; Performance starts: 7.30pm.