So this was it, the last workshop of the summer for Streetwise Opera Nottingham. It was a hot and humid day in Nottingham today, reminiscent of the weather in Sicily all those years ago when the young, handsome, romantic Turridu met a sticky end in Mascagni's Cavalleria Rusticana, the operatic tale of heartbreak we have been recreating in the Len Maynard Suite in Nottingham's Royal Centre. Love, longing and loss are the main themes of that opera and they have been echoed in our sessions. We love working with Streetwise participants, they are always longing for the next session and they certainly eat LOSS of biscuits!!! That's where the similarities end and I'm not sure the Len Maynard Suite has witnessed such passion, revenge and high drama, with the possible exception of when the Bay City Rollers were last on tour here.
We had a good turn out for the workshop, which was great as it was our last session working on Cavalleria Rusticana. Today we would be working on the final act, the drinking song and the death scene. One of the techniques we use is to take the tunes of the Opera and add our own devised lyrics in English. Today we worked on the drinking song and came up with some great pub-inspired lyrics, led by Jim, one of our participants. After ten minutes or so our masterpiece was ready for its first run. The group put their best party acting heads on and recreated a true Sicilian Easter Celebration.
Plastic cups in hand they swayed, swooned and sung their hearts out; the first verse was their own version and Neil sung the second verse in Italian to give the guys an idea of what the really Opera sounds like. By chance, this was one of the first operatic roles that Neil sang as a professional. In fact, he was the young, handsome, romantic Turridu – how things have changed!
Anyway, back to the plot for those who haven't already lost it! Enter Alfio looking for revenge on the rotter who has been having an affair with his wife Lola. Turridu and Alfio walk off to the orange orchard - well the room next door actually - and have their duel with knives. Turridu meets his aforementioned syrupy conclusion at the hands of the vengeful Alfio and the screams of the crowd confirm this.
Everyone was sad that we were calling time on this Opera because they had enjoyed it so much. However, we assured them we had more goodies, saddies and downright baddies in store in our next opera. Not giving too much away at this time, but suffice it to say that if the tenor doesn't cop it, then the soprano will. Such is operatic life!