Founded by David Hayes, Aylesbury Opera began in 1979 as an evening class at Aylesbury College of Further Education. Our first production was Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro in November 1980. Originally known as Aylesbury Opera Group, we performed at the College, various schools and then for twelve years at Aylesbury’s Civic Centre. Since 2002 we have staged our main productions at The Court Theatre, Tring.
Each March we produce a fully staged opera with orchestra. In 2016 we appointed our current Musical Director, Kelvin Lim, Co-Director of Postgraduate Opera at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music in London. Kelvin has led productions of Verdi’s Otello, Bellini’s Norma, Britten’s The Turn of the Screw, Saint-Saëns’ Samson et Dalila and Cavalleria Rusticana/I Pagliacci. Under him we successfully have made the transition to performing repertoire in the original language.
Kelvin has continued to raise standards and this step change was consolidated with the appointment of our first Patron, the internationally renowned Romanian soprano Nelly Miricioiu. In February 2020 Nelly took a wonderful masterclass in Aylesbury featuring a quartet of professional singers. We are planning to repeat this event in the lead up to our main production this coming season, Jenůfa.
We also put on regular concerts of both full operas and popular opera highlights programmes. These usually take place at churches in the Aylesbury area. Recent concert performances include Donizetti’s The Daughter of the Regiment, Handel’s Acis and Galatea and Berlioz’s Béatrice et Bénédict. This autumn we are presenting a concert performance with orchestra of Handel’s Saul at Holy Trinity Church, Bledlow, near Princes Risborough. On 18th February 2021 we will presenting a programme of verismo repertoire in a lunchtime recital at St Mary’s Church, Aylesbury.
All singers are welcome to join Aylesbury Opera. Our chorus members are mostly local and rehearse on Monday evenings at Holy Trinity Church Parish Hall, Aylesbury. We hold open auditions for principal roles each summer which attract semi-pro and professional singers from the local area and beyond.
For more information and details of how to join us, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Aylesbury Opera is a registered charity, number 1163815.