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Blackheath Halls takes annual opera to Deptford

Thu 5 July 2018

Polly Graham directs professional soloists and a cast of more than 80 south east London residents in the 12th annual Blackheath Halls Community Opera, which this year transfers to The Albany in Deptford (16-20 July).

Written in the 1680s, Purcell’s classic opera Dido and Aeneas recounts the love of Dido, Queen of Carthage, for the Trojan prince and hero Aeneas.

This production stars German mezzo-soprano Idunnu Münch as Dido, in her UK debut after several years as an emerging new talent with Oper Stuttgart. Trojan hero Aeneas is played by baritone Marcus Farnsworth, fresh from performing with English National Opera. Counter-tenor William Towers appears as the Sorceress, and soprano Alison Rose as Belinda.

They are be joined by exceptional student performers from Trinity Laban, including vocalists Sofia Celenza, Rebecca Leggett, and Jemma Mitchell. Children from local schools, and members of other community groups form the chorus.

This year’s production runs for six performances from Monday 16 July 2018 at The Albany while Blackheath Halls undergoes a £3m renovation.

In a unique interpretation of the opera’s classic staging, the production explores Dido’s story as it happens in her mind. Dido will remain on stage throughout.

Polly Graham says-

‘Our production is inspired by these words from the libretto “Great minds against themselves conspire, and shun the cure they most desire”.  The stage is Dido’s mindscape. We see everything as a manifestation of her thoughts.’

The show’s patrons are conductor Edward Gardner OBE and opera singer (and Deptford resident) Nicky Spence. The project is supported by Arts Council England and a broad range of trusts, foundations and individuals.

Tickets are available from the Blackheath Halls website priced at £20, £18 concessions, £8 under 12s 


About the Blackheath Halls Community Opera

The annual Blackheath Halls Community Opera has been running since 2007, offering people of all ages from across the London Boroughs of Greenwich, Lewisham, and beyond, a unique opportunity to take part in high-quality, live music making alongside a professional cast and production team.

The Sunday Times described 2015’s production as “thrilling”, while in 2014 What’s On Stage observed that “in terms of breaking barriers the Blackheath project achieves what many would like to, but rarely can, by putting opera at the heart of the community.”