Pygmalion is being developed by Ensemble Molière, who will be familiar to BREMF audiences from their performances on their Early Music Live! scheme as well as last year’s Medicine and Mortality concert (you can read a review here). French baroque music is something of a speciality for this ensemble, and they’ll be combining their sparkling and stylish playing with singers Josh Cooter, Roberta Diamond and Angela Hicks, and dancer Rosalie Wahlfrid who portrays L’Amour. Emerging director Karolina Sofulak is bringing Pygmalion to the stage, with an animated film by Kate Anderson which provides the scenery and replaces traditional surtitles with simplified texts. Pygmalion receives three performances at Sallis Benney Theatre, University of Brighton on Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th October.
Meanwhile Orfeo will be directed by Thomas Guthrie, with a cast of specially auditioned young soloists headed by tenor Rory Carver. The music will be beautifully played by the team who brought you La liberazione di Ruggiero at BREMF 2015 – the Monteverdi String Band and The English Cornett & Sackbut Ensemble, with musical direction by Deborah Roberts. Orfeo takes place at The Old Market in Hove, with performances on Wednesday 8th, Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th November.
Because of all the different elements involved, opera is an expensive artform to present. It’s not just the sets, props and costumes (although they do add to the budget, even if the sets are mainly film-based), but also the fact that with so many different things to bring together, opera rehearsal periods need to be much longer than rehearsals for concert performances. So for a small organisation such as BREMF, with no regular guaranteed funding, putting on one opera is a stretch, let alone two.