It has been a hell of a week for The Opera Dudes. We have had the regular Streetwise Opera workshop, three rehearsals, appeared on BBC Radio Nottingham and performed at Sophie Snell's birthday party at the Breadsall Priory Marriott Hotel & Country Club!
We met Sophie during our time performing on the Rural Touring circuit. She was one of the promoters who picked the Opera Dudes as their preferred act for their rural venues; in her case, the Village Hall in Quarndon, Derbyshire. It ls a long time ago but we had a great night and they must have thought so too as they had us back within 8 months. Scroll forward 6 years and we get an email from her asking us to perform at her birthday party. The event took place at the Breadsall Priory in Morley Derbyshire, a magnificent stately residence dating back to 1260 and yet only 35 minutes from such modern delights as Alton Towers & Ikea! It is a beautiful venue and is adorned by 300 acres of idyllic landscape and two golf courses. More to the point, it was also adorned by the Opera Dudes last Friday night!
You never quite know what to expect when performing at birthday parties and the like. The guests are there for many different reasons and so the job of the performers is to bring them together and make a success of the occasion. You can often feel the vibe of the room before you go in - sometimes there is already an atmosphere and sometimes you definitely have to create it. Even the great comedy duo Morecambe and Wise dreaded playing to unsuspecting audiences! In our case, we haven't even got the benefit of TV stardom on our side and, in addition, people can be put off by the word Opera.
None of this is by way of an excuse, just an explanation of the terrain that you have to cross if you want to reach your showbiz goal! You need to know your audience. So far we have never failed to turn an audience around with our mix of comedy, opera, show songs and swing. This party was true to form; when we bounded in at the start of the event, it did feel a little like they might have been expecting the Bishop of Derby to arrive, however by the end of our second set we had them shouting for more and finished on a high. Lots of lovely comments, a half a beer from the medieval bar and everyone was happy. Job done!
We also met some lovely people, not least Sophie, who is a very successful professional story teller and is in the middle of writing her first novel. Check out her website; she is a lovely person and has a great reputation as a story teller.
Well that was the week that was and this week we are looking forward to our final Streetwise Opera Workshop for the summer, a taster Opera Start workshop with talented teenagers from Quarrydale School in Sutton wanting to join our Youth Music Young Leaders Programme and, last but definitely not least, our Summer Song recital this coming Saturday, the 19th of July at the Boys High School in Nottingham. Never a dull moment.....