AOS Gondoliers programme Autumn 2013


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AOS show programme for The Gondoliers performed in Autumn 2013

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Abingdon Operatic Society The Gondoliers Mon 28 Oct - Sat 2 Nov 2013 7:30pm each night Amey Theatre, Abingdon School, OX14 1DE


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Soloists ~ Stephen Webb, Joy Skeels, Alistair Ballard-Martin, Rob Rees, Lucy Bent and Jon Ridley


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Abingdon Operatic Society PRESENTS The Gondoliers Or, The King of Barataria Libretto by W S Gilbert Music by Arthur Sullivan Director ~ Andrew Walter Musical Director ~ Stephen Pascoe Choreographer ~ Jane Digby THERE WILL BE AN INTERVAL OF TWENTY MINUTES BETWEEN THE ACTS PLEASE ENSURE THAT ALL MOBILE PHONES ARE SWITCHED OFF The use of all cameras, video and audio equipment is prohibited PLEASE NOTE THAT SMOKING IS NOT ALLOWED ANYWHERE ON ABINGDON SCHOOL PREMISES, INCLUDING ALL OUTSIDE AREAS For lost property enquiries please call 01235 526106 Refreshments are available in the foyer conservatory If you would like to become a member of AOS, please contact the Membership Secretary by emailing:


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Message from the Chairman ~ John Nye A very warm welcome to tonight’s production of The Gondoliers, the last great collaboration of Gilbert and Sullivan to achieve box office acclaim. If you are not already familiar with one of the most successful operettas in history, then you will probably recognise a number of well-known tunes. It is a great pleasure to have Andrew Walter back as our director, whose productions established supporters will have enjoyed over the last eight years. Musical direction is in the hands of Stephen Pascoe, whom we are delighted to welcome. Stephen is making his debut in this respect, having previously appeared on stage with us four years ago in Sweeney Todd. Jane Digby has been on stage more than off it in the last three years, and this show is no exception. After sharing the choreography of Calamity Jane last year, we are pleased that we have secured Jane’s services to choreograph in her own right for the first time. The attraction of The Gondoliers can be put down to three factors. Firstly, the comic plot works more believably than in any other Savoy opera. Secondly, Gilbert took the opportunity to attack a number of the institutions of the day in his inimitable style, but presumably without giving offence, as a command performance was given for Queen Victoria and the royal family at Windsor in 1891! Finally, Arthur Sullivan was a superb composer in various genres, and in this show, beautiful music ranging from touchingly sentimental airs to jolly chorus dances are ten a penny. Thinking ahead, in very different styles, we look forward to bringing you 42nd Street in spring 2014 and Sweet Charity in a year’s time. Now, make yourself comfortable, for ripples on the lagoon are breaking against the steps of St. Mark’s Square, pretty girls are decked with roses, and the gondoliers are about to ply their tuneful trade. 2


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Director ~ Andrew Walter I t is over forty years since Andrew stepped onto the stage to sing Little Buttercup in a concert performance of HMS Pinafore. Since then he has sung roles from most of the Savoy operas in venues from Morecambe to Harwich, including The Judge in Trial by Jury and Inez in The Gondoliers at the Oxford Playhouse. He was the musical director for a number of concert performances in the Holywell Music Room before going on to direct staged productions of most of the Gilbert and Sullivan operettas, including Patience, Iolanthe, The Yeoman of the Guard and Ruddigore at the Oxford Playhouse, and The Pirates of Penzance for Abingdon Operatic Society three years ago. His other work in Oxford and Abingdon includes The Sound of Music, Cabaret, The Wizard of Oz, and last year’s AOS production of Calamity Jane. The Gondoliers was Gilbert and Sullivan’s last hurrah; although they were to collaborate on two further operettas, these failed to emulate the success they had enjoyed earlier in their careers. The work is rooted in a dispute between the two men. Sullivan, determined to be viewed as a serious composer, insisted that “the music is to be the first consideration” in any new work. Gilbert, jealous of the public recognition he felt Sullivan enjoyed but he was himself denied, insisted that if the working relationship between the two was to resume then it should be “as master and master – not as master and servant”. The result was a satire on contemporary enthusiasms for republicanism and egalitarianism. Sullivan certainly achieved his aim of making the music more dominant; The Gondoliers has the longest vocal score of any of the Savoy operas. He was also delighted with the work’s Venetian setting, chosen because of the city’s proud history of republicanism. It is unclear as to why Gilbert chose to set the action in the mid-eighteenth century, when the Venetian Republic’s political influence was waning, and the libretto includes a number of anachronisms. This production cheerfully adds a few more and we hope that what it lacks in historical accuracy it makes up for in the humour and colour of a Mediterranean adventure. 3


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Musical Director ~ Stephen Pascoe S tephen has a lively time balancing his musical life with a career in science and a young family. After gaining a PhD in Atmospheric Chemistry he studied voice and opera at the Royal Northern College of Music, during which time he sang professionally throughout England and beyond. He has sung many roles encompassing styles from Mozart to Britten to Sondheim and, of course, Gilbert and Sullivan. In 2003 Stephen moved to Oxfordshire and returned to science where he develops software with climate scientists from all over the world. He continues to perform as much as his free time allows, singing for Oxford Operatic Society and playing the Judge in AOS's Sweeney Todd. Stephen is now tackling the new challenge of Musical Director. He's immensely honoured that AOS has put its confidence in him and feels he could not have hoped for a better debut piece than The Gondoliers - possibly Gilbert and Sullivan's most musically opulent operetta. He can't wait to get in front of the orchestra and get the show on the road. Choreographer ~ Jane Digby T his is Jane’s first time choreographing a show solo after having the opportunity to try it out a year ago when she co-choreographed Calamity Jane. Previously, Jane has been on the other side, learning dance moves with the rest of the AOS chorus, which she loves, particularly as she grew up dancing on stage. She admits she was honoured (and nervous!) when the AOS committee asked her to choreograph The Gondoliers. Jane had hoped that a G&S show would be an easier debut than a big musical, but it has actually proved to be very challenging in a different way, as the music is often complicated and changeable with much more emphasis on telling a story through the movement alongside the singing. However, she has enjoyed the experience of choreographing a real mix of pieces, from the slightly more fun ‘Regular Royal Queen’, through to the very energetic ‘Cachucha’. And, with the support of Andrew, she has also been able to inject more dance into this production of The Gondoliers than you may have seen in others. 4


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The Gondoliers ~ A Synopsis T wo Venetian gondoliers, Marco and Giuseppe Palmieri, decide to choose two brides, while their friends, led by Antonio, are content to await the result and pick partners from among the remaining girls. Marco and Giuseppe announce their intention of choosing two brides, but tactfully ask to be blindfolded so that fate can decide their choice. After a game of blind man's buff, in which there is a certain amount of cheating, Marco catches Gianetta and Giuseppe catches Tessa. The Duke and Duchess of Plaza-Toro, with their daughter, Casilda, and their attendant, Luiz, arrive. The Duke and Duchess tell Casilda that she was married, as a baby, to the infant future King of Barataria, who was abducted soon afterwards and brought to Venice. He has now unknowingly acceded to the throne. Immediately the Duke and Duchess have departed, Luiz and Casilda rush into each other's arms and she tells him of her newly discovered marital status. Don Alhambra arrives with the news that the new ruler of Barataria is here in Venice, living as a common gondolier with his supposed brother. At their departure, the chorus enter, singing the joys of the newly celebrated double marriage. Don Alhambra overhears that Marco and Giuseppe are married and also that they are republicans. He explains that one of them is a king, but suggests royalty is incompatible with their republican ideals. However, the gondoliers decide to sail immediately to claim their kingdom jointly and “abolish taxes and make everything cheap, except gondolas”. Don Alhambra forbids the girls to accompany them until the identity of the king is discovered. The gondoliers depart by boat leaving behind the contadine. In Act II we find Marco and Giuseppe ensconced, regally attired, in Barataria, busily cleaning the royal regalia and surrounded by their court of gondoliers who are amusing themselves without any social distinctions. On cue, Tessa and Gianetta run in, with the contadine. They are enthusiastically welcomed and are celebrating with a dance when they are interrupted by Don Alhambra, horrified at the brazen lack of social distinctions. He reveals that one of the two gondoliers is married to Casilda much to the horror of Tessa and Gianetta. Finally all is resolved by Inez, the infant prince's foster-mother, who reveals the truth in true Gilbert and Sullivan style. Obituary ~ Chris Davis T he Society was saddened by the death of Chris Davis in August. Audiences were first greeted by Chris in the box office in October 1996, when she sold tickets for Iolanthe. She continued in this role for October shows until 1999. From 2000, she was in the box office, often with her daughter, Marilyn Moore, for every show until Oliver! earlier this year, when she had to withdraw through ill-health just before show week. This elegant, friendly lady became a firm friend to so many, whether they were Society members or the paying public. Her welcoming smile and graceful charm will be greatly missed. The committee and members of AOS would like to extend their sympathy to Marilyn and all her family. 5


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Q&A Giulia Lynne Winter From the mid-1980s and through the 1990s, our faithful, older audience members will no doubt remember seeing Lynne perform many of musical theatre’s classic leading lady roles. So now in 2013, we asked her to reminisce and look ahead. H ow did you first get started in musical theatre and where was this? My first experience in musical theatre was at the age of six in a ballet display in Hertfordshire, when I had to fill in whilst the older girls were changing to dance a version of the Can-Can! I just loved the bright lights and was stage struck from then onward. However, it wasn’t until years later when I was at Teacher Training College, that I took to the boards again in two Gilbert & Sullivan operettas. As soon as I left college, I joined the local operatic society in Harpenden and got a small part in Bless The Bride. I was also snapped up as Cinderella in the local panto, which taught me a lot about stage craft. So when was your first lead role with AOS? Ooh, let me see, that was in Autumn 1986 as Sister Sarah in Guys & Dolls. I do remember being very impressed when the men’s chorus staged a mock raid on Barclays Bank as a publicity stunt! Have you had any particular training in singing, acting or dance? I started having singing lessons at the age of eleven and studied Art & Music at college. I still meet a pianist every week to practise and learn new repertoire. As for acting, I have been to a few workshops, but I found that watching other people and being in shows is a great way to learn stage craft. And you've played a lot of leading roles in shows over the years? Yes indeed, I’ve played over 40 principal roles. Is it possible to say what was your favourite part and why? Well, that is a difficult one as I have enjoyed most of


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them for different reasons, but I suppose that Eliza in My Fair Lady was the most challenging from an acting point of view and I lived and breathed the part for months. Next, Guinevere in Camelot was very special (see photo right). Working with the lovely Rob Bertwistle was a joy and the fact that I had gorgeous costumes did contribute! Finally, I do enjoy good comedy and dancing roles, such as Bonnie in Anything Goes which was great fun; even my Mother didn’t recognise me! Do you enjoy the rehearsal process? Yes, I really enjoy rehearsing, especially when working with an inspiring director or talented leading man! There is usually a great feeling of camaraderie and team spirit. How about show week itself? Show week can be tremendously exciting, nerve wracking and physically demanding, but it’s very satisfying when you give a good performance. I’m lucky that I stay on a ‘high’ for weeks afterwards! Do you have any preperformance rituals? Only that I always do vocal warm-ups, which has caused amusement in the past as the Ladies’ cloakroom has very good acoustics! I also do yoga stretches which help to calm the nerves. Is it hard moving from being the leading lady to perhaps playing smaller roles? It was at first but I’ve had such a brilliant run that I can’t complain and I’m really delighted for the Society that we have had an influx of young talent recently. I’m still doing a lot of singing elsewhere in concerts, weddings, special birthday celebrations and after dinner cabaret; I’m currently working on a Great Gatsby programme. Also, I recently got to play one of my favourite parts again and danced the Can-Can in The Merry Widow with a Kennington choir that raises huge sums for charity. 7 Are there still parts you`d like to play? I recently got to play Phoebe in Yeoman Of The Guard, which is a role I’d always wanted to play. I missed out on Nelly in South Pacific but I could still play Madame Thenardier in Les Mis! 42nd Street is our next show - any part you particularly have your eye on? Last time, in 1999, I was Anytime Annie and had intensive tap lessons. This time, I might have my eye on one or two older parts but you’ll just have to wait and see! Have you ever had any funny incidents or disasters during show week? Oh yes! On one occasion, a large piece of scenery fell down beside me just as I was about to sing! There was an audible gasp from the audience, but as I’d always been told the show must go on, I just kept going with the backstage crew clearing up debris all around me! Then there was the real sheep in Iolanthe in 1996 which had the audience in helpless hysterics on opening night, but I have to admit that I threw a slight diva-fit and the sheep did not make a second appearance. I did, however, receive several jars of mint sauce from the cast!


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Principal Cast The Duke of Plaza-Toro Luiz (his Attendant) The Duchess Of Plaza-Toro Casilda (her daughter) Don Alhambra (the Grand Inquisitor) Kevin Pope Josh Kerr Lorna Stevenson Walker Verity Ramsden John Wilkes VENETIAN GONDOLIERS Marco Palmieri Giuseppe Palmieri Antonio Giorgio Annabale Francesco Iain Launchbury Duncan Blagrove Stephen Webb Rob Rees Alistair Ballard-Martin Jon Ridley CONTADINE Gianetta Tessa Fiametta Vittoria Giulia Inez (the King's foster-mother) Sarah Forrest Jenna Elliott Cate Franklin Lucy Bent Lynne Winter Joy Skeels CHORUS Kat Ballard-Martin, Deborah Bater, Simon Blainey, Di Bryan Lesley Donovan, Valerie Findlay, John Gale, Linda Harris Tina Hood-Liles, Laura Hughes, Phil Hughes, Tara Hunter John Nye, Sarahjayne Smith, Debbie Wilde, Nigel Winter THE ORCHESTRA Violins Mariette Richter (leader) Emma Callery Jayne Dimmick Marisa Miller Viola Jacqui Mackenzie ‘Cello Tom Draper-Rodi Double Bass Graeme Hollingdale Clarinet Ian Adlington Bassoon Flute Oboe Horn Trumpet Trombone Percussion Glyn Williams Nick Planas Carolyn King Samantha Dunwoody Luke Scott Huw James Chris Fletcher-Campbell 8


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Musical Numbers ACT I The Piazzetta, Venice List and Learn (Chorus of Contadine, Gondoliers, Antonio, Marco and Giuseppe) ACT II Pavilion in the Palace of Barataria Of Happiness the Very Pith (Marco, Giuseppe and Chorus of Men) Rising Early in the Morning From the Sunny Spanish Shore (Duke, Duchess, Casilda and Luiz) (Giuseppe with Chorus) Take a Pair of Sparkling Eyes In Enterprise of Martial Kind (Duke with Duchess, Casilda and Luiz) (Marco) Here We Are at the Risk of Our Lives O Rapture, When Alone Together (Casilda and Luiz) (Giuseppe, Tessa, Gianetta, Marco and Chorus) There Was a Time (Casilda and Luiz) Dance a Cachucha (Chorus and Dance) I Stole the Prince (Don Alhambra with Duke, Duchess, Casilda and Luiz) There Lived a King (Don Alhambra with Marco and Giuseppe) In a Contemplative Fashion But, Bless My Heart (Casilda and Don Alhambra) (Marco, Giuseppe, Gianetta and Tessa) With Ducal Pomp (Chorus of Men with Duke and Duchess) Try We Life-Long (Duke, Duchess, Casilda, Luiz and Don Alhambra) On the Day When I Was Wedded (Duchess) Bridegroom and Bride (Chorus) To Help Unhappy Commoners (Duke and Duchess) When a Merry Maiden Marries (Tessa) I Am a Courtier Grave and Serious (Duke, Duchess, Casilda, Marco and Giuseppe) Kind Sir, You Cannot Have the Heart (Gianetta) Then One of Us Will Be a Queen (Marco, Giuseppe, Gianetta and Tessa) Here is a Case Unprecedented (Marco, Giuseppe, Casilda, Gianetta, Tessa and Chorus) 9


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Giuseppe ~ Duncan Blagrove Duncan has been performing with AOS on and off for the last 18 years, being involved in 12 productions and playing notable roles including Bobby in Crazy for You and Cornelius Hackle Hello, Dolly!. He is really pleased to be playing Giuseppe in The Gondoliers. He started on the amateur stage from the age of 13 playing the title role in Bugsy Malone and has since played many principal roles with both AOS, Oxford Operatic Society, Abingdon Drama Club and BMH Productions. Previous roles include Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar, Alfie Doolittle in My Fair Lady, Andy in 42nd Street, Dauphin in Henry V, Reilly in Our Day Out, Strephon in Iolanthe, Angelo in Measure for Measure and Dracula in Dracula Spectacular. Tessa ~ Jenna Elliott Twenty-two-year-old Jenna is from Abingdon and has been performing on stage since the age of four. This is her second production with AOS having previously taken the role of Bet in the Spring production of Oliver! Jenna graduated from the University of Southampton with a BA in Music (2012) and is now working at Milton Park. Although Jenna is a multiinstrumentalist, her passion is singing and she has performed roles in many musical and operatic productions including Golde in Fiddler on the Roof, Nancy in Oliver! and The Narrator in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Jenna is very excited to be performing as the feisty Tessa in The Gondoliers! 10


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Marco ~ Iain Launchbury This is Iain’s tenth show with AOS. His previous roles with the Society include Will Parker in Oklahoma!, Barnaby in Hello, Dolly! and Billy Crocker in Anything Goes. This is his second time performing The Gondoliers, having played the part of Luiz with Kennington Players in 2008. He hopes you enjoy being transported to Venice for tonight’s show and that the music has you dancing a Cachucha all the way home! Gianetta ~ Sarah Forrest Sarah Forrest is a Reading Specialist for Morgan Learning Solutions who does as much singing as she can after office hours. She leapt the pond after a degree at Yale University and has been learning to embrace British weather ever since. The Gondoliers is her first show with the Society and she would like to extend thanks to AOS for the warm welcome. Past roles include Belinda in Dido and Aeneas, Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro and Jenny in Street Scene. 11


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Duke ~ Kevin Pope The Gondoliers will be Kevin’s twentieth show with AOS since joining for Me and My Girl back in 2001. Before that Kevin performed for many years with Wantage Operatic Society. He has been fortunate enough to play many principal roles over the years. This will in fact be the second time that Kevin has taken the role of the Duke of Plaza-Toro, having first played it nineteen years ago with Wantage. The only other part that he has played twice was the Major General in Pirates of Penzance, most recently in 2010. Outside of AOS Kevin works as a development engineer. He enjoys DIY, gardening and badminton. Duchess ~ Lorna Stevenson Walker You may remember Lorna swashing a buckle as Ruth (Pirates of Penzance), stiff-upperlipping as Patricia (Crazy For You) and beating up the beadle as Mrs Bumble/ Widow Corney (Oliver!). Hating to break pace, Lorna ‘wears the trousers’ again, only just beneath a hooped petticoat. What a joy to sing Sullivan’s harmonies with Gilbert’s lyrics: their union is a perfect marriage. Unlike the Duchess’s own, initially! Lorna, enjoying the first appearance of her married name in any programme, is now confidently equipped with the Plaza-Toro Technique for cultivating eventual marital (and fiscal) bliss. 12


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Luiz ~ Josh Kerr Josh Kerr is currently on a Performing Arts Course at Abingdon and Witney College and has recently joined AOS. He has been in many different shows from performing as Jean Valjean in Les Miserables all the way to being Corny Collins in Hairspray. His dream and ambition is to train to become a tenor and perform in operas around the UK and, if he's lucky, abroad. Singing and acting has always been a passion of his and always will be. He was thrilled and honoured to hear that he had been given the role of Luiz for his first AOS performance and hopes you thoroughly enjoy it. Casilda ~ Verity Ramsden This is Verity’s second show with AOS, having appeared as an exasperated barmaid in Oliver! It is also her fourth production of The Gondoliers: she played Gianetta in 2007, Giulia in 2011, and directed/choreographed in 2010, all with Oxford University Gilbert & Sullivan Society. With OUG&SS, Verity has also played Lady Psyche in Princess Ida, Nekaya in Utopia Limited, Constance in The Sorceror, Yum-Yum in The Mikado, Leila in Iolanthe and the Princess of Monte Carlo in The Grand Duke. Outside Victorian operettas, Verity has played Dulcie in The Boyfriend, Cathy in The Last 5 Years, Carrie in Carousel and Grace Farrell in Annie and, as a keen tap dancer, can’t wait for 42nd Street! 13



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