Archives For Guiseppe Belli

BambinO Takes Flight

March 25, 2018 — 66 Comments

Bonjour Paris text with tower eiffel and bicycle. Romantic postcAs the Easter Holidays approach, I have some great news to share with you all, I have been asked by Scottish Opera and Improbable to join my friends Tim Connor, Stuart Semple and Laura Sergeant to perform ‘BambinO’ in Paris for the Théâtre du Châtelet this April.

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Back Row: Laura Sergeant & Stuart Semple Front Row: Me & Timothy Connor

But before leaving London I had to make sure that I returned all the books that I borrowed from the RCM library for my recent project ‘Women In Music’, my backpack was a lot lighter on the way home 🙂

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I arrived back in Glasgow late on Thursday night and it was great to team up with my friends again on Friday morning for rehearsals to refresh the show for the French audiences.  It is amazing to see how this wonderful mini-opera, written by Lliam Paterson and directed by Phelim McDermott, has progressed since we first got together back in December 2016.  I can remember seeing the set and the costumes for the first time, designed by Emma & Giuseppe Belli, trying to visualise how the babies would respond to their imaginative use of props and move around the fabulous space created for each performance.

Following our performances in Manchester, Edinburgh, and Glasgow last year I can’t believe that we will now get the opportunity to perform in several venues around Paris organised by the Théâtre du Châtelet, who have embraced the idea of making this production accessible to a wider audience.    We will start the tour on 6th April performing twice a day in various locations until the 11th April.  On the 13th April through to the 20th April, we will perform twice daily at Cent Quatre.  The shows are free for babies with a small charge of four euros for each accompanying adult.

It will be such fun to practice my French with the audiences after each show and I hope that the babies can cope with my pronunciation.  I’ve already started revising my French conversation skills and I would love to hear of any recommendations for nice walks, places to visit, French meals I should try to cook over the course of my visit. (The perks of having a self-catered apartment).   It is such a fantastic opportunity for me to spend some time in Paris and experience the French culture which will hopefully influence my interpretation of French song.  I will let you know how it goes and hopefully get some pictures to share with you.scroll

Following my blog anniversary, I said that I would select three people from those who commented or placed a like on the post and send them a signed copy of my ‘Haugtussa CD’.  There were 139 people in total so I used a random number generator to select the winners.

Randon Numbers

I am pleased to announce that the three-people selected were John Howell, Peter Alexander, and Dora Buonfino.  I managed to contact John and Peter and have posted their CDs to them which should arrive this week (fingers crossed).  I have just received Dora’s forwarding address and will try and post it to her before I leave for Paris.

I have had a truly special and humbling week! It was the premiere week for Bambino as part of the Manchester International Festival. We have performed in 12 shows with over 258 babies, their parents and family, and some very special guests. It has been an exciting experience and I can’t stop smiling.

The Whole Cast and Crew

The Cast and Crew

I arrived in Manchester on Monday evening in Scottish Opera’s people carrier along with the team and the wonderful Stuart Semple who had driven us down from Glasgow. We settled into our apartments after being welcomed by the magnificent Manchester International Festival team (MIF). I have been working closely with Angela, Sophie and Tracy and many many wonderful volunteers over this week, all of whom have made the show a huge success.

For the first couple of days, we performed in the centre of Manchester in the Pavilion performance space, in Albert Square. It was wonderful to be performing at the heart of the festival and the vibe of MIF was incredible, hosting great food, drink, and music accompanied by a wonderful atmosphere. If you are in the area during the Festival it is well worth a visit.  It was here that I met Emma and Giuseppe Belli’s sweet and fantastic children. They came to watch the first performances in Manchester, making it extra special.

The babies in each show are very inquisitive and engaged in the performance. There is at time some crying but it rarely lasts for longer than a few moments so perhaps they are just overtaken with emotion 🙂    But as my Mum pointed out, there are a lot more chuckles, laughs, claps and plenty of singing along. Whatever their reaction you can guarantee that every show is individual and very special. And as our director Phelim McDermott said, ‘My hope is that in later years, there’ll be adults who are asked, when they’re at the Opera, what was the first opera you saw? and they’ll be able to say, Well, I was 11 months old when I went to see an opera” and they won’t be pretending when they say that.  It will be absolutely true’.

Drawing By Eva

I was thrilled that Eva Belli ( Aged 4 ) , Emma and Guiseppe Belli’s daughter, drew me this beautiful picture of Bambino.

Sophie, one of our producers, helped organise tickets for two other shows for us to attend in the evening after our daytime performances. I was able to go to Bridgewater Hall to watch the BBC Philharmonic perform ‘The World Was Once All Miracle’, and ‘Available Light’ a dance choreographed by Lucinda Childs at the Palace Theatre. It was a wonderful performance and took me back to my contemporary dancing days at Knutsford High School.

Available Light

After completing our performances in Manchester City Centre we started taking the show to places outside of the city centre such as Wigan and Hyde. These shows are so important and it brings music out to communities and venues that aren’t usually used for these events. Everyone deserves the chance to experience live music and theatre. I hope that this can continue!

In Wigan, I had the wonderful treat of my best friend Ellie and her family, Rory and baby Annabelle, come to watch the show! This made it extra special for me. I’m sure I’ll be visiting them again soon and we can sing the songs together. Ellie said Annabelle was mesmerised and that as well as Annabelle it was Ellie’s first opera too!

I’m having a day off at my family home tomorrow to recharge and then I’m back into a busy week ahead. I can’t wait!  We have performances in Heywood, Oldham, finishing in Salford.

To finish I must admit that it was very exciting to see the production mentioned in interviews for BBC radio and for the BBC Regional News I’ve shared the links in my facebook if you’d like to take a look.

 

Here are some pictures from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland “Sir John In Love” opera production.  Firstly here are a few behind the scenes photos that I managed to grab 🙂

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I managed to take these pictures after each costume change for “Sir John In Love”

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Some of the  cast in costume and ready to go.

I am sure I will not be alone in saying a big thank you to the designers Guiseppe and Emma Belli for creating the stunning stage sets and for setting the mood with the fabulous costumes.  I found this great stop motion video created by Stuart Leech of the stage and sets being constructed by the RCS workshop staff at Spiers Lock.

The following pictures are copyright of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland ( KK Dundas ) and appear on their Flickr page. I have tried to include a good selection of their images to help you get a sense of the production as it has been so much fun to be part of it.

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The opera was fabulous to be part of and judging by the review in the “The Herald” newspaper the audience enjoyed it too 🙂

I have also included an audio interview with head of Opera at the RCS Timothy Dean that a fellow fourth year B Mus student Max Fane recorded.

Update : here is a lovely explanation of the story along with a fabulous four star review by bachtrach check it out http://bachtrack.com/review-sir-john-in-love-royal-conservatoire-glasgow-may-2015