FFO Newsletter No. 1 January 2018
2017 was a great first year for FFO with sold out concerts and our first opera "La Boheme". We are buoyed by the great reception we have received by producing opera in a shorter, more casual and modern way.
We were sad to say goodbye to Lachlann Lawton and Sam Roberts-Smith. Lachie is having a wonderful time studying in Manchester, and Sam is working at the Deutsche Oper in Berlin. We wish them every success in the pursuit of their dreams. Paull-Anthony Keightley is also leaving Perth mid-year for a job at the Deutsche Oper. All three are pictured below in our recent production of La Boheme (L-R: SRS and LL, and PAK in the foreground).
We have been asked how the name "Freeze Frame Opera" came about. The idea was to make opera more enjoyable (by making it more understandable!) by freezing the action on stage while a narrator helped to break the fourth wall and explain the story (like the technique used in the film "The Big Short" to explain the financial crisis). It is a format we might still adopt in the future, but was not needed for La Boheme.
Brans Antiques Fundraiser
In June 2017 Brans hosted a fundraising night to help FFO reach a target of $10,000 for Match Lab 2017. It was wonderful to be surrounded by such amazing art and to enjoy Grace Farm Wines and food by Samphire Catering. Thanks very much to Clare and John Brans for their generosity, and to everyone who attended the event, and all who helped us reach our goal! We could not do this without your support. Thanks to Tommaso and to the singers who performed on the night. Brans collections are now available to view online.
Opera Heroines in October 2017 at Camelot raised $3,000 for Zonta House and SOS. We were thrilled to support the great work of the Zontians.
Congratulations to our new mums - Emma Pettemerides, Prudence Sanders and Naomi Johns. Congratulations on all your hard work and keep on singing!
FFO Christmas Party
Our inaugural Christmas party was a lovely night with Tommaso, the singers and their families, the creatives and our FFO friends. We had a few impromptu carols and stunning food, again supplied by Steve Hitchings (chef to the stars) of Samphire Catering.
Absolutely thrilled that esteemed Australian baritone, Michael Lewis OAM, will be singing Tonio in FFO's I Pagliacci in June 2018. We will be joined by a chorus of awesome young WAAPA grads. What an amazing opportunity for the young singers to learn from a pro! That is what we are about at FFO. The other cast members are Paul O'Neill (Canio), Jun Zhang (Beppe), Caitlin Cassidy (Silvia) and Harriet O'Shannessy (Nedda).
Rusalka (The Little Mermaid)
Our production of Rusalka by Dvorak is being further adapted before we will bring it to the stage. It'll be worth the wait! Caroline Badnall has adapted the score, and we now have writer and poet, Anya Seabourne, working on a revised libretto, in collaboration with the creative team of director - Andries Weidemann and designer - Robbie Harrold.
Ileana Rinaldi is a Perth-based mezzo-soprano with an international quality voice that belongs on the world stage! We are thrilled that she will be joining us for Opera at the Quarry in March 2018.
Ileana has a busy year ahead performing the Forester's wife and The Owl in The Cunning Little Vixen (for WA Opera), and later in the year, Amneris in Aida, Alisa in Lucia di Lammermoor and Contessa Ceprano in Rigoletto (for OA), and The Witch and Foreign Princess in Rusalka (Dvořàk) (for FFO). Catch her while you can!
Lachlann Lawton, who appeared as Schaunard in FFO's La Boheme, is now studying a Masters of Music at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. He writes:
"it is a fantastic institution, filled with local and international talent."
He was cast as Escamillo in a 40 min condensed version of Carmenand is studying with Quentin Hayes (an internationally acclaimed Verdi baritone). He is preparing scenes from Le Nozze di Figaro, in which he is playing the Count, and has been cast as Peter in RNCM's production of Hansel & Gretel.
He is looking forward to trips back to sunny Perth and working with FFO again after La Boheme, which he described as "a fantastic experience which I was lucky to share with amazing colleagues.".
Awww Lach, you were a pretty awesome colleague too! Such amazing stage presence and a beautiful voice ... we'll have you back anytime xx
Designer - Robbie Harrold and Director - Rachel McDonald at work on I Pagliacci
This will be a good show. Leoncavallo's drama seen up close in Camelot Theatre will pack a punch. There's love and lust, betrayal, revenge, and a double murder in an action packed 100 mins of drama. Musical direction by Tommaso Pollio and lighting by Geoff Glencross.
Up next - Opera at the Quarry
Opera at the Quarry 15-16 March 2018 will be a concert of opera highlights. BYO picnic and low chair. BYO alcohol. There are a growing number of artists who will be performing in this show! So much talent out there .... We have Tommaso Pollio (pianist), Jun Zhang (tenor), Paull-Anthony Keightley (bass), Ileana Rinaldi (mezzo-soprano), Robert Hofmann (baritone), sopranos Naomi Johns, Prudence Sanders, Emma Pettemerides and Harriet O'Shannessy and cellist Sophie Curtis. The concert will include music from Norma, Turandot, La Rondine, Cosi fan tutte, Carmen, Cavalleria Rusticana and more. Only the best bits. Doors open at 6 pm for a 7.30 pm start. Tickets are all general admission.
Become a musical matador!
We have a growing circle of donors called the "Musical Matadors", fighting for the future of opera! We are grateful for their support as they have brought the vision to life - that we can make opera that is more accessible, affordable and appealing, and that we can give performance opportunities to outstanding developing singers (local wherever possible).
Please call Hattie if you'd like more information mb 0450020321. Donations to FFO are tax deductible.