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The latest performance of Bath Chamber Opera was Malcolm Hill’s Bath: Graveyard of Ambition at 6.30 on Saturday 19th August 2017 at the Magdalen Chapel, Holloway, Bath. The performance was to mark the opera’s leading tenor Robert Jack’s moving from Bath to Cambridge at the end of August.

The comedy-opera is set in a medical waiting room in Bath, where various patients discuss their problems with the City: Seagulls, Pollution, Library-closures, Parking, etc.. For a synopsis, and further details, please click here.

The style is mostly neo-baroque, set in English, with main parts sung by Jane Hunt (a soprano who has just moved to Bath and likes everything about it), Katherine Lush (a mezzo who is really depressed), Robert Jack (tenor who is leaving the ‘Graveyard of Ambition’), Paul Feldwick (bass-baritone who has just received a ‘present’ from a seagull and is in a bad mood); they all have to get past the fierce receptionist (Katharine Adams, soprano). Other singers included Alison Alexander (soprano who acts as Paul Feldwick’s carer), Mandy Shaw (contralto who leads the ‘professional patients’ who meet at the same time every week in the surgery’s waiting room and discuss current problems), John Gutteridge (bass, as the exhausted doctor), and various other patients (sung by members of the Chandos Singers).

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Meanwhile, some brief notes about recent performances:

On Friday 20th May 2016, Bath Chamber Opera sang a concert version of excerpts from Neptune, another comedy-opera, with Paul Feldwick singing the title role, Julia Rushworth as a clueless American researcher, Robert Jack as Pluto, and Katharine Adams as his P.A. The performance was at St Swithin’s Church in Bath. [Bath Festivals had advertised the group as “Bath Chamber Orchestra” but added the following account of the story:

“Three born-again brothers (through their father’s mouth) are interviewed by a clueless American researcher, while the youngest’s PA/mistress is chased by the eldest as a distraction from fish.”

A recent performance given by Bath Chamber Opera was excerpts from How the Viking got his Horns – in Bath’s Party-in-the-City – on Friday 15th May 2015 at 7.30pm in Bath Central United Reform Church.

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Bath Chamber Opera’s 2015 production was Malcolm Hill’s cross-dressing comedy-opera : Women on Top based on Aristophanes’ Assembly Women – Sex and Socialism in Ancient Athens.
The second scene was previewed in Bath on Friday 16th May, and the whole work was previewed in Box two days later. The first official performance took place on Wednesday 11th February 2015 at 7.30 at the Rondo Theatre, Bath, preceded by How the Viking got his Horns – a curtain-raiser comedy-opera by Malcolm Hill – with members of the Bath Chandos Singers forming a “Greek Chorus”

Women on Top – in ancient Athens, the women take over the government from the men, and pass new laws establishing common ownership and sexual equality. Based on Aristophanes’ timeless, surreal and politically incorrect satire Assembly Women, with more cross-dressing and toilet humour than any Christmas panto, Malcolm Hill’s music brilliantly evokes operatic styles from Handel to Stravinsky.

How the Viking got his Horns – a tale of medieval shamans and shapeshifting set in a 9th century Novgorod Health Centre where shamans are the established medics and Western medicine is considered “alternative”.

Altogether, an evening full of delicious anachronisms that lived up to Dr Johnson’s definition of opera as ‘exotic and irrational entertainment’.

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Bath Chamber Opera (originally called Bath Russian Opera) was set up to perform Malcolm Hill’s recent Comedy-Opera,The Bear very loosely based on the play of the same name by Chekhov was given its U.K. premier on Friday 18th November 2011 at the Rondo Theatre, Larkhall, Bath performed by Bath Russian Opera

The Bear was later performed in Box (Saturday 6th October 2012) and was the subject of a workshop in Frome (Saturday 9th February 2013).

Also in Bath Chamber Opera’s repertoire is a chamber version of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin a short version of which was performed in Bath on Friday 24th May 2013 and the larger version in Box on Saturday 28th September 2013.

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