As I sit on the train traveling down to London this evening looking through the window as we travel south watching people celebrate bonfire night with the most fabulous firework displays. It is great to reflect on our last two performances of BambinO today which like the displays I have witnessed tonight concluded in spectacular fashion.
This has been a fantastic production to be involved with and I have enjoyed every second working on stage alongside Timothy Connor, Laura Sergeant, and Stuart Semple. With over 70 performances this year at venues around Manchester, Edinburgh and now Glasgow David Sneddon our brilliant Stage Manager has played a huge part in allowing us to bring a little music and magic to the wonderful audiences that came to join us.
Back Line: Laura, Tim, Lliam, Rachel, Stuart Front Line: Me and Julie
With each show, our front of house colleagues have made sure everyone who comes to watch has an amazing experience and I can’t stress enough the importance they play in making each performance feel special.
From the fabulous and inspiring set and costume designed by Emma and Giuseppe Belli to the free-flowing and imaginative direction inspired by Phelim McDermott, this production has been a real joy to be a part of.
But for me the cherry on the top has been the music composed by Lliam Patterson which I have loved singing and which will stay with me forever.
To those of you who came along to watch one of the performances this year I want to thank you for joining us, it has been fantastic to meet you all and I will take away with me some very special memories. The most amazing thing about performing in this production is that each and every audience has been unique. The babies and toddlers have brought with them their individuality, interacting with us in unpredictable ways and making every show just that little bit different.
Not forgetting Scottish Opera, The Manchester International Festival and Improbable who made all of this possible sincerely thank you very much.
I am excited to share some wonderful news with you all, last December I was invited by Scottish Opera to participate in a week of exploration and development for a new project they were hoping to produce. It was very hush, hush and I wasn’t able to share the experience with you at the time so that the concept could be fully developed before announcing their plans. All I can say is that I had a fabulous week and enjoyed every minute of it. I returned to London happy that I had been involved and excited for the production team as they had some wonderful ideas, I had no idea what was to happen next. After a couple of months, I was contacted and asked to be part of production, and tour as one of the cast members this summer and autumn.
Here is the press release that I was sent which explains a little more:
The long-awaited follow-up to Scottish Opera’s hugely successful BabyO performances, BambinO is a pioneering and unique piece of music theatre for infants aged 6 to 18 months.
A new co-production with Manchester International Festival and Improbable, the show premieres at Manchester International Festival in July, before traveling to Edinburgh as part of Edinburgh Festival Fringe, then to Glasgow for performances in Scottish Opera’s Production Studios.
Written by Scottish Opera’s Composer in Residence Lliam Paterson and directed by Improbable’s critically-acclaimed Phelim McDermott, BambinO will be a celebration of the possibilities of music and the power of the infant imagination.
The show reinvents operatic language and traditions for children at an age when their minds are wide open to new sounds, images, and experiences. Babies are free to explore during the performance and to interact with the singers, musicians and each other.
Director, Phelim McDermott, said: ‘It is inspiring to create a new opera for what is possibly the most discerning – and important – audience there is. We all know that babies respond to music and we want to nurture and stimulate that relationship through their very first opera.’
Scottish Opera’s Composer in Residence, Lliam Paterson, continued: ‘BambinO will bring an operatic experience to a little audience with ears open to discovering new sounds. It is so exciting to create a colourful and vibrant work that can engage both babies and adults fully while conveying the drama and passion of opera. The opportunity for me to work with as imaginative a director as Phelim McDermott is fantastic and truly inspiring. He and design team Giuseppe Belli and Emma Belli will bring a beautifully crafted operatic world to a whole new audience!’
Scottish Opera’s Director of Education and Outreach, Jane Davidson, said: ‘Incorporating rich, exuberant colours and images – both musically and visually – we’ve created the perfect miniature opera. Complete with percussion, cello, and tiny pianos, all four performers fashion a magical soundscape that will enthrall and challenge both the babies and the adults who come along with them. This is not a ‘baby’ show in a traditional sense; this is baby baroque as you’ve never seen it before!’
BambinO is commissioned and produced by Scottish Opera, Manchester International Festival and Improbable. It is supported by Scottish Opera’s New Commissions Circle and Scottish Opera’s Education Angels.
Cast and Creative Team
Composer Lliam Paterson
Director Phelim McDermott
Designers Giuseppe Belli & Emma Belli
Soprano Charlotte Hoather
Baritone Timothy Connor
Cello Laura Sergeant
Percussion Stuart Semple
Stage Manager David Sneddon
I can’t wait to join everyone on the 8th June when we start rehearsals and I will keep you posted as we progress and the tour gets underway. It will be great to work with Stuart Semple again who I toured with last year in the Scottish Opera production of “ The Little White Town Of Never Weary”
I must admit that it was quite a buzz to see the production listed on the Scottish Opera website in this season’s events and to have the opportunity to work on this new composition which is to Premiere at the Manchester International Festival on 4th July.