Win tickets to Tosca at Hever

Opera Brava: Rigoletto

Opera Brava: Rigoletto - Credit: Archant

Puccini’s Tosca and Verdi’s Rigoletto will be performed in the beautiful setting of Hever Castle in August

Opera Brava has been performing in Kent since 1991, mainly at Scotney Castle, but this summer is moving to Hever Castle, where Henry the Eighth courted Anne Boleyn.

The Festival Theatre at Hever is set on Two Sisters Lawn and surrounded by stunning flower beds and borders.

With the stage and most of the auditorium covered, it offers the perfect summer theatre experience with the chance to picnic or simply wander and enjoy the magnificent setting before the performance in tiered, covered and reserved seating.

Opera Brava has built up a steady following of loyal and enthusiastic opera lovers who appreciate the high standards of performance and star quality of their singers and productions.

This year they are bringing two outstanding operas to Hever Castle, Tosca by Puccini and Rigoletto by Verdi.

The role of Tosca will be performed by Katrina Sheppeard, who recently appeared in the English National Opera production of Fidelio. Cavaradossi is played by international star Cameron Rolls, who has sung the role many times both in England and in German opera houses and is delighted to be performing with Opera Brava for the first time.

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Scarpi, a role that was made famous by Titto Gobbi when he played opposite Maria Callas, is played by Francis Church who has sung with all the National Opera Companies, English, Scottish and Welsh.

The production is directed by Tony Baker, who has designed for Covent Garden, The Met and most European opera houses and is now embarking on a new career directing operas.

Jeremy Silver is in his seventh year with Opera Brava and manages to tour with the company while also working at The National Opera Studio, conducting in South Africa and Longborough and being Music Director Designate of Mersin State Opera Turkey.

Tosca has to be one of Puccini’s greatest scores, full of passion, tragedy, beauty and pathos, and this production only serves to enhance the wonderful music in this piece.

Opera Brava has assembled a fabulous cast of young, exciting and thrilling singers mixed with some international artists who have performed in major opera houses all over the world including Covent Garden and English National Opera.

One of opera’s most vivid and compelling characters, a vengeful court jester, desperately tries to protect his daughter from disaster in this heart-wrenching tragedy. The role of Rigoletto is the first fully developed character found in Verdi’s operas; his changes of mood and emotion seem naturally wedded to the dramatic situation and his music has an inevitable quality, driving the story to its tragic conclusion.

International Baritone Andrew Mayor has just finished an extensive tour in Germany and Italy as Rigoletto and is thrilled to be touring with Opera Brava in this magnificent production.

The opening of the final act contains two of the most famous pieces in all opera: the Duke’s La donna e mobile and the famous quartet Bella figlia dell’amore, in which each character is expressing a different emotion.

An interesting element of the quartet is that all four characters are not in the same place, nor directly interacting with one another; while the Duke flirts with a woman inside Sparafucile’s Inn, Rigoletto and Gilda peer through the window and comment on their own feelings.

READER COMPETITION

Opera Bravo is giving away a pair of tickets for each night.

To be in with a chance of winning, just answer one or both questions below and then send your answer with your name and contact details (including a daytime contact number) and email to: editor@kent-life.co.uk or send a postcard to: Kent Life, Archant Kent, 81 Station Road Ashford TN23 1PP

Please put ‘Tosca’ or ‘Rigoletto’ in the subject line. Archant competition rules apply (for full terms and conditions see www.kent-life.co.uk).

Tosca night:

Where and how did Tosca kill herself?

Rigoletto night:

What is the name of the place the Duke lives in?

Deadline for entries: 1 August 2014

1 August 8pm, Tosca

2 August 8pm, Rigoletto

Box office: 01732 866114

www.heverfestival.co.uk or www.operabrava.co.uk