The first opera Ruth is based on the biblical story, one of only two books in the Bible named after a woman. This adaptation is a tale of acceptance, sacrifice and loyalty with Ruth, a Moabite marrying the Israeli, Boaz. The second opera is The Dark Lady of the Sonnets by George Bernard Shaw, a fun one-act piece that reimagines the first meeting between William Shakespeare and Queen Elizabeth. While Shakespeare is in a secret relationship with a lady of the royal court he is enamoured with the Queen. As Shakespeare juggles both women’s tempers and desires, he finds himself inspired to write new material.
Ruth will be performed by soprano Alison Buchanan, Boaz will be performed by Byron Jackson (Porgy and Bess – English Touring Opera, Idomeneo – Birmingham Opera Company and Anna Nicole – Royal Opera House) and Naomi by Kamilla Dunstan.
For The Dark Lady of the Sonnets – Sarah Champion plays Queen Elizabeth, Annabelle Williams (I Am – Royal Albert Hall, Mahagonny – English National Opera and Caroline or Change – National Theatre) plays The Dark Lady; and Oliver Brignal (The Fantastic Mr Fox – Opera Holland Park); as William Shakespeare.
Celebrated soprano Alison Buchanan is the winner of many prestigious awards including the Kathleen Ferrier (Decca Prize), the Luciano Pavarotti, the Washington International and the Maggie Teyte competitions. Alison has performed with New York City Opera in Porgy & Bess and Don Giovanni. She has performed in venues throughout the world including Carnegie Hall, The Sydney Opera House, The Royal Opera House, Sadler’s Wells for Pegasus Opera and for the London Symphony Orchestra. In addition she has performed with The Baltimore and Boston Symphonies as well as the Philadelphia Orchestra. Alison has also performed in Brazil with the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra and has given concerts in St. Louis, Washington DC, Gibraltar, Zimbabwe and Kazan to name but a few. She has worked with conductors such as David Robertson, Sir Colin Davis, Sir Simon Rattle, Jane Glover and Marin Alsop.
Composer and conductor for the production Philip Hagemann is from America. He has published 75 choral compositions including a delightful Christmas novelty, Fruitcake, written with Penny Leka Knapp, which has sold over 200,000 copies and featured in the USA television series Nip/Tuck. Hagemann has composed ten one-act and two full-length operas, two of which have won competitions from the National Opera Association in the USA. Hagemann is only the second composer to transform a Shaw play into an opera.
Director Eduardo Barreto is the founder of Requiem Productions. His directing work includes The Human Voice and The Sound of Silence -Trafalgar Studios; Dangerous Liaisons- Teatro da Trindade, Lisbon’s West End; Suddenly Last Summer – Teatro Maria Matos, Lisbon’s West End; All For Nothing – Menier Chocolate Factory; Rope Riverside Studios; The Crime of Father Amaro and Peep Show -Greenwich Theatre. Eduardo will be making his debut as an opera director
Pegasus Opera is the leading multi-racial touring Opera Company in the UK and was founded in 1992 by Lloyd Newton. Following his sad passing in January 2017, Alison Buchanan fulfilled Lloyd’s dying wish and has taken on the role of Artistic Director. The Patrons are Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Baroness Doreen Lawrence, Kristin Lewis and Chuka Umunna MP. The Company creates opportunities for professional singers from diverse backgrounds to develop and perform in high-quality and innovative opera productions and Arts Education work. Pegasus Opera Company aims to model ‘Harmony in Diversity’ by empowering those who are continually marginalised and on the periphery of the opera world. Past productions include Carmen, Magic Flute, I Pagliacci on National Tours, Porgy and Bess at the Barbican Concert Hall, Delius’ Koanga at London’s Sadler’s Wells and Treemonisha at Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre and UK tour.
LISTINGS INFORMATION: Ruth and The Dark Lady of the Sonnets for 4 performances only, starting Wednesday 28 February, Thursday 1 March and Friday 2 March at 7.30pm & Sunday 4 March, 2.30pm at the Actors Church Covent Garden, Bedford Street, London WC2E 9ED. Tickets £35, £25, £15.
To book tickets – www.actorschurch.org