Audience Feedback - Orfeo ed Euridice, Ilminster Arts Centre, Somerset performance, 12.04.19
''The performance of Orfeo ed Euridice that you gave at Ilminster on Friday 12th April was magnificent and I wish to thank you so much for an outstanding accomplishment by Grassroots Opera. I had cause to write to Mr Petroc Trelawny of BBC Radio Three and I mentioned your company to him and the depth of performance that you brought to Somerset. Thank you a thousand times.''
Audience Feedback - Orfeo ed Euridice, Christian Science Church, Claygate performance, 24.11.18
''I just wanted to thank you all for a truly magical evening yesterday. By keeping it simple with a small cast and minimal set we were really able to get to the heart of the story and feel for the characters. Musically it was top notch with a whole orchestra conjured from the piano and three fantastic voices. I just wish a project like this would get greater national recognition – it deserves to!''
''Just a quick note to say thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to come and hear 'Orfeo' last night. I can't tell you how much I enjoyed it - it was so much better than I had anticipated. Those four young people are so talented, and gave me so much pleasure. I was moved literally to tears by the third act. The tears were running unbidden down my cheeks during 'Che farò' - I didn't want it to end ... such a wonderfully talented cast. I have been telling all my friends what a great show they missed, so I hope I can entice a few of them to come along next time Grassroots perform here. I'm looking forward to it already.''
'' Congratulations on an excellent performance on Saturday evening...you did a tremendous job in keeping the story going and keeping the audience in wrapped attention. Your voices sounded tremendous in that acoustic... how refreshing it was to hear you make so much rich vocal sound naturally. Well done all of you. I have to congratulate your accompanist who had far more notes to deal with than all three of you vocal performers put together. He did an excellent job - very impressive.''
Audience Feedback - Orfeo ed Euridice, Shute Primary School performance, 14.09.18
‘’An Elysian evening in East Devon - thank you for a beautiful, spellbinding and sincere performance of this lovely work.’’
‘’Had such a lovely day watching Grassroots Opera brilliantly perform Orfeo ed Euridice in my old Primary school.’’
Press release by Samantha Knight - Shute Primary School performance, 14.09.18
Grassroots Opera’s outdoor performance of Orfeo ed Euridice entranced its audience in Shute on Friday 14 September. The production was adapted for children at Shute Primary School who took part in a workshop in the afternoon leading to some of them taking part in the chorus in the actual performance.
The venue – the newly landscaped amphitheatre area in the school grounds - was bathed in afternoon sunlight with a backdrop of rolling fields. The setting was magical – the arias wafting over the evening breeze and with simple but stunning set design. The children benefitted in unimaginable ways from being involved with a professional company of opera singers whose stated aim is to present opera in a way that is accessible to anyone, in intimate venues where audience members can feel immersed in the action and connect to the emotions presented. “This was an amazing performance and an evening which these children will never forget” said Patrick Germscheid, Head at Shute Primary.
Grassroots Opera was founded in February 2018 by Devon based Soprano Chloe Stratta, and Mezzo-Soprano Anna Marie McLachlan, both of whom were respectively Amore and Orfeo. They were supported by Lucy Elston as Euridice and Laurence Panter as pianist and repetiteur. The voices were truly enchanting and the acoustic in the outside theatre quite wonderful as the breeze transported the music to the surrounding audience.
“Opera is a fantastic means through which young people can explore things such as recognising and presenting emotions, how music can reflect text; and also just to witness and be a part of something very beautiful and meaningful,” said director Chloe Stratta.
The event was generously supported by Shute Festival of Literature and Landscape and the Joanna Leach Foundation. Grassroots is performing a complete version of the opera at various venues in the South West in the next six months. See www.grassrootsopera.co.uk for details.
Audience Feedback - Orfeo ed Euridice, February 2018
“We came to your wonderful production on Saturday night. Thank you so much. It way exceeded our expectations ...I had been considering going to La Scala to hear this opera in March but balked at the price.....and am I glad I didn't! This was right up there with opera I have seen before! I particularly appreciated the choreography, simple and effective; and the way each of you really embodied the characters...not just the voice. Definitely would like to come to another event please."
“Absolutely loved tonight’s debut! It was fabulous -Thank you. We brought our two teens/children and we are now prancing around staging a family “opera” at home. Think you have inspired and engaged the next generation!”
“A stunningly good performance of O & E. We so enjoyed it. Excellent performance - superb singing; a very interesting production which was most effective! Congratulations to the excellent pianist who gave a marathon performance. Many thanks!”
“I enjoyed it so much- I thought the staging was really clever, and you presented it all in a really engaging and accessible way.”
“A terrific show: elegantly choreographed and impressively performed by all four of you.”
"I'm not a traditional opera-goer, but I saw this was being put on by young people, so I thought I'd go along. The whole thing was wonderful! the singers were incredibly talented and the simple set and staging were so effective. It didn't even matter that the singing was in Italian as the programme had a synopsis which was easy to follow as the story progressed. It was entertaining and moving , and I left feeling very cultured and ready to explore more classical music!"
Review by Anna Gregory (Soprano and Director) -Kilmington 24.02.2018
"......Grassroots Opera announced its intention in the program to bring “energetic and engaging performances” to a wider audience in smaller venues. It did what it said it would. This performance was staged on a platform and accompanied by tireless, accurate playing on a piano by Laurence Panter. He had clearly studied his score and we were in safe hands. Panter listened to his singers and provided a sensitive reduction of the orchestral vibe. The set was absolutely minimal although the church is a charmer and recently refurbished. Props made good narrative signals and I think anyone could have followed the story, especially when provided with an extensive and clear synopsis in the (gratis) program. The core quality of this show was in the singers. All young, so the opera; Orfeo, was a good, safe choice. All three women have recently finished their musical education and are ready for the long road to the big stage.
Anna Marie McLachlan; a young Mezzo Soprano who has recently graduated from the MMus in vocal performance at Trinity Laban, made a convincing fist of a young man in a difficult position and sang a touching Che faro senza Euridice, the stand out aria of the piece. She was especially good in the middle of her voice, which contains an earthy warmth. Lucy Elston is a Lyric soprano who was rather heavier in tone than her comrades and may be on the way to heavier repertoire, however she and McLachlan dueted well and were very good in the ‘don’t look now’ scene in which Orfeo attempts to retrieve Euridice from death but is forbidden to look at her. Euridice, confused, suffers an understandable melt down. Elston’s harder bladed tone made the ensuing emotional rollercoaster believable however she really shone in her well‐controlled and beautiful pianissimi during the ensemble singing, proving herself a musician as well as a dramatist. A neat tidying of cast numbers and budget led to Chloe Stratta playing the Allegory Amore, spirits, chorus etc. This was a surprisingly easy plot/musical alteration to stomach and Stratta (who also performed all set changes!) was a charming, mischievous Amore. Of the three singers she shone in her stage work and her voice remained silver toned throughout.
It is no mean feat to take on the staging of opera. Companies great and small regularly bankrupt themselves in the effort and the olympian task of actually singing a role shouldered with producing, directing and everything in between could easily fell the enthusiasm a singer feels for their craft. Applause to all concerned but especially to Anna Marie McLachlan and Chloe Stratta who managed the lion’s share. All said, we can look forward to the next production of Grassroots Opera!"