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July 1st Nottingham's Streetwise Opera's Cavalleria Rusticana

There was a real buzz this week at the Nottingham Streetwise Opera workshop and we soon found out why.

There was a real sense of excitement this week at the Nottingham Streetwise Opera workshop and we soon found out why.

The head office in London had provided tickets for the group to go and see Nottingham Festival Opera put on an Opera Gala at the Albert Hall in Nottingham (yes we do have one here although it is not quite as grand as the one in London).

Five of the Nottingham group had been to see the performance and had evidently had a fabulous time. 'Gave me the tingle factor', 'uplifting' and 'I was buzzing all the way home' were just some of the comments we had.

If it were not for organisations like Streetwise then vulnerable and homeless people would simply not get the chance to listen to such great music. It is a myth that classical music is just for the elite and the so-called opera buffs. Recent experience has reinforced our belief that opera and classical music is for everyone; the effect that the recent exposure to classical music has had on our group, for example, is astonishing. The excitement generated by the visit to the Hallé Orchestra and now this latest trip has been great to witness.

If you are interested, here is a review of the Nottingham Festival Opera concert:

evening post review

Could we live up to the Opera Gala at the weekend?

So anyway, could we live up to the Opera Gala at the weekend and carry the baton onto the next level? Well of course we could darling!! Batons akimbo, we had two hours of non-stop fun and singing and the energy in the room was infectious.
After the usual warm ups, including a Glastonbury style singalong, we explored the emotions of a particular part of the Opera we are working on - Cavalleria Rusticana. This was the duet between Santuzza and Alfio, where the downtrodden, rejected Santuzza decides to spill the beans on Alfio's adulterous wife and her lover Turridu. We did a bit of judicious re-writing of the music so that not only could our group sing and perform it, having written their own libretto to it, but then it combined to make a really rousing duet and boy did it go down well; even hardened Notts County fan Neil got a bit weepy at the result!

We then worked on a mime for a prequel to the opera, which explained why the adultery had happened in the first place. Sicily is where the Opera is set a hundred or so years ago and this was not the place to have an affair with someone else's wife – especially when that someone is head of the local mafia. Cue horse's heads, lots of mumbling and an invasion of personal space that would leave Suarez in a cold sweat! Great results from all concerned and really looking forward to putting it all together next week.

We have our last workshop of the summer in a couple of weeks and will put on a small, informal performance of our version of Cavalleria Rusticana. Watch this space....!

If you do not know the Opera then this is a great video to watch. This is the 1982 film version directed by Franco Zeffirelli. With Yelena Obraztsova, Plácido Domingo, Renato Bruson, Fedora Barbieri.

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