New Sussex Opera’s aims:
- to stage brilliant performances of hidden gems
- to bring the delight and excitement of opera to new audiences
- to create opportunities for performers and back-stage specialists to hone their talents and advance their careers,
- to nurture new creative talent of any age.
Despite our name, our reputation extends way beyond our home territory: national newspapers regularly review our innovative productions and comment favourably on them. While our chorus-led productions play to capacity houses around Sussex, London’s prestigious Cadogan Hall regularly hosts our major productions – and you can get an idea of their musical and theatrical quality and impact by looking at our past productions and reviews. The list stretches back decades and includes 5 UK premieres, and we’re always planning productions, performances and events for coming seasons.
What we do, what we want to do
Every year, NSO stages at least two productions – with our chorus at the heart of every one of them.
For our in-house productions, announced as “New Sussex Opera Chorus presents” we choose works that can be successfully performed on a modest budget, but which create great opportunities not just for the whole chorus to show its singing and acting talents, but also for individual chorus members to take maybe their first steps as soloists in cameo, step-out roles.
For principals, an NSO chorus production is a great opportunity to extend their repertoire and take a step towards fulfilling their ambitions of a professional operatic career. Rehearsals are relaxed and enjoyable, but, even though joining the chorus doesn’t involve an audition, standards are high; after all, in the words of Roderick Dunnett we have ‘ one heck of a tradition’ to live up to.
Then, with our finances in a healthy state, we can undertake a major, fully-staged production. For these we have professional soloists, music director, stage director, designer, lighting designer and orchestra. For the chorus, it’s an opportunity to use and extend their skills under the guidance of conductors and directors already prominent in the national and international world of opera.
Past shows have included British premières of Kurt Weill’s Lost in the Stars, Tchaikovsky’s The Enchantress, von Einem’s Danton’s Death, Offenbach’s The Rhine Fairies and the original four-act version of Puccini’s Edgar, while works rarely performed in the UK have included Benvenuto Cellini by Berlioz, the Paris version of Wagner’s Tannhäuser, Euryanthe and Oberon by Weber, Mignon by Thomas and most recently A Village Romeo and Juliet by Delius. NSO has used its own orchestra, but has also collaborated with the Symphony Orchestra of the NCOS, the Flanders Symphony Orchestra, the Hanover Band, Kent Sinfonia, St Paul’s Sinfonia and the Kantanti Ensemble.