New Portsmouth opera company puts on The Marriage of Figaro in its most ambitious staging yet

Two talented young musicians have created an opera company to help bring the art form to Portsmouth and the surrounding area.

Monday, 23rd July 2018, 10:59 am
Updated Monday, 23rd July 2018, 11:04 am
The cast of The Marriage of Figaro by the Beechwood Opera company, which is at New Theatre Royal in Portsmouth on July 24, 2018

After putting on their first show, Venus and Adonis, in Chichester in 2016, they are now preparing to stage Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro, or as it is better known, The Marriage of Figaro.

Set up by Alex Creamer, 24, and Elise Fairley, 23, the pair met as A-Level music students at the now Havant and South Downs College. He went to study music at Cardiff University and complete a Masters in choral conducting at Birmingham University. Elise is a soprano who gained a degree at Birmingham Conservatoire.

It was only when they returned home, that the idea struck them.

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Alex explains: '˜We both realised that to see opera of a professional standard, those living in Portsmouth and the surrounding area have to travel to London which can be expensive. 

'˜To perform opera to a high standard, Beechwood Opera auditions singers who are starting out in their musical careers, and selects some of the exciting new talent and stars of the future.'

The response to Venus and Adonis, helped confirm they were on the right path. '˜We performed our first production in churches! The setting and acoustic lent themselves to the period of the music. It was  really rewarding to see and hear the fruits of our labour '“ there were many positive comments which led us to build on our early success.'  

The show at New Theatre Royal will be their biggest to date, but they are undaunted. '˜We are an ambitious company! We knew that an opera like the Marriage of Figaro would be perfect for opera aficionados and newcomers alike. We hope to bring new experiences to our audiences. This project is definitely our biggest so far, but we hope to grow in order that we can produce a wide variety of operas from all musical eras.' 

And all being well, they hope to expand, putting on more shows across the region.

'˜Our hopes are that Beechwood Opera will be able to tour along the South Coast to bring professional opera to a bigger audience. We would also like to tie in our performances with educational projects to encourage young people to foster a love for classical music and opera.'

Alex says they are also all too aware of the continued perception of opera as an elitist art form. '˜Unfortunately, this perception has persevered in to the 21st century. However, I can assure you that our cast, production team and, above all, our audience, represent a wide range of the social spectrum. If people feel put off by this perception, it is certainly our job to put that right '“ they should come to The Marriage of Figaro next Tuesday!'

They hope that Figaro's popularity will help them   challenge that perception, which is one reason they chose it.

'˜We chose this opera for many reasons, its continued popularity chief among them. The Marriage of Figaro also gives emerging artists a chance to learn a role which they may be called upon to sing later in life. It is also true that the timeless story paired with Mozart's music makes for an unforgettable experience.'


New Theatre Royal, Portsmouth

Tuesday, July 24