Intermezzo Opera’s Marriage of Figaro
St John’s Church Itchen Abbas
78 of us were crammed into the ever versatile space of St John’s Itchen Abbas on Saturday evening for the latest operatic delight from Intermezzo Opera Company – The Marriage of Figaro. St John’s is a space in which, during the course of the previous six days, we held our Parish Communion, our Little Rainbows toddler group, 140 people for the Itchen Abbas Primary School Harvest Festival, our CAMEO lunch for our older residents and our Alpha Course. As one of our residents Lorna Fewtrell (sadly now died) used to say ‘this is a surprisingly lively church’…
St John’s squat cruciform shape lends itself well to performances. It is a particular delight to see the choir area under the beautiful Norman arch used as a stage.
The Intermezzo singers are a wonderful harmony of voices. It was a great privilege to be up so close to see every little detail of the acting in their faces and actions and have an un-microphoned beautiful rendition of one of Mozart’s finest operas. There were some really astonishingly good performances. There was one moment when I thought the excellent mezzo-soprano Vivien Conacher, who was singing Cherubino, that she was going to have act as a boy acting as a girl (which could have got confusing)…… I think the evening really showed how very experienced and talented the artists are when they can pull all of this together in one day, with only the bits and pieces of furniture and props that you find lying around in a church.
The wall above the arch was turned into an excellent area for sur-titles to guide us through the Italian by our technical team led by John Bouldin.
Thank you so much to Nick and Lavinia Owen, who organised the event, and Patrick and Charlotte Appleby, John and Elizabeth Bouldin, Jill Croft, Joan Dartnell, Tony and Claire Gaster, James Greig, Sarah Hunt, Peter and Brigid McManus, Helen Smyth, Gerry Stacey, Vernon Tottle and James and Maddy Woosnam all of who gave a lot of their time and support. Thank you on behalf of the Itchen Valley Churches for any surplus from ticket sales (which will be shared with the Multiple Sclerosis Society) and which will help to keep our churches open for another generation.
But most of all thank you to our wonderful and talented singers: John Lofthouse, Gillian Ramm, Alistair Ollerenshaw, Eleanor Ross, Vivien Conacher, Stephen Anthony Brown, and our very own Annabelle Woosnam and the accompanist and musical director John Cuthbert. It was amazing. Please do come back again.
Revd Alex Pease