(How to get there - The Park Avenue Congregational Church, 50 Paul Revere Road. Arlington, MA)
On October 6 at 2:00 PM at the Park Avenue Congregational Church in Arlington, MA. We've been fortunate to have Eileen lead master classes in the spring in past years. This year, we're even more fortunate! She will be teaching her master class this year in the fall, in time to help prepare for many auditions and performances. Our accompanist this year will be David Goldhirsch, who played so beautifully on the Marine Parade - er - We mean, at the Gala last spring.
There's still room for singers - and of course, anyone is welcome to attend as an audience member. (Both participation and attendance are free, as usual - and although we encourage NEGASS members to be participants, if you know a non-NEGASSer who'd like to take advantage of this opportunity to work with an expert G&S coach - send'em along!) Sign up to work with Eileen on the song you plan to use for your auditions this winter, for Sudbury, Harvard, MIT or any other group. Or bring in the solo you're singing in the show you're in this fall!
To take part, contact Program Chair Carl Weggel at (978) 474-0396 or firstname.lastname@example.org and let him know what you'd like to sing. Space is limited - sign up soon.
AUGUST PICNIC MEETING. On the afternoon of Sunday, August 25, NEGASS held its annual picnic at the picturesque Victorian home of Dr. & Mrs. David Sheldon, in Hyde Park. There was food of all kinds from BBQ to salad to snacks, and much jovial socializing. But first, a complete sing-through of PATIENCE. We gathered round in the Sheldon living room, where Juliet Cunningham had set up a portable keyboard, and sang and spoke our way through the opera, much as we did in Juliet's highly enjoyable summer sings in Beacon Hill this past July.
The principal cast for the afternoon was as follows:
Overall, the sing-through proved to be great fun. Juliet was the able accompanist throughout, and the chorus was small but spirited. Isabel updated the beginning of Jane's solo, replacing such Victorian beautifiers as rouge and lip-salve with modern techniques, up to and including liposuction. The trade-offs of roles among singers and speakers was very smooth. The Sheldons were gracious and accommodating hosts, and provided us with soda and a barbecue grill. They also immersed us in G&S from the moment we set foot in their home. (When I arrived, I found MIKADO highlights playing on the stereo in one room, and the 1930's film of MIKADO playing on TV in another!)
After the opera was over, we cooked our steaks and burgers, gathered our salads, sides, and various other foodstuffs, and sat down to a pleasant and informal dinner. I got into conversations with subjects ranging from Gilbert & Sullivan to Tom Lehrer to the Discworld book series. I also overheard people mentioning that they had driven from as far away as New Hampshire and New York to get here. I admire that kind of dedication, and I'm glad they deemed it worth the trek.
One of my particular interests is passing on the enjoyment of Gilbert & Sullivan to the next generation of fans; and I'm happy to say that our chorus in the sing-through included some enthusiastic young persons. Teenage brothers Daniel and Aaron Schwartz joined the 35th Dragoon Guards, and nine-year-old Jenna Vossoughi was one of the Rapturous Maidens. (Miss Vossoughi granted me a brief interview after the sing-through. Even at her young age, she is familiar with most of the canon - indeed, she already seemed to know the music of PATIENCE by heart. I asked her which opera is her favorite, and her reply was, "All of them." I like the way she thinks!)
in all, good food, good company, great music. Thanks again, Mr. and Mrs.
Sheldon, for your hospitality, and thank you, NEGASS organizers, for a
truly enjoyable afternoon.
Have you renewed your membership in NEGASS yet? Janice Dallas, at 63 Everett St., Arlington, MA 02474-6921, is waiting for your check and your information form!
Tentative Meeting Schedule, 2002-2003
Welcome, Welcome, Welcome We New Members Donald J. Bilodeau of Quincy, and Carol Vossoughi and her children, Jenna and Ian, of Derry, NH.
Don is a Director, Techie, Photographer, and Graphic Designer. He writes: I was a Theatre major in college. I always liked G&S, and into opera since Amadeus. I would try singing, but I've heard myself. I love performers who know the true meaning of amateur. I like the green room as much as the stage. I'd call myself The Pest of the Opera.
Carol writes: I am mother to Jenna age 9 and Ian age 6 and they are great G&S fans. We stumbled across a children's production of the MIKADO a year ago. It was a bit confusing and honestly we didn't really "get it".
But it seemed like it was something to look further into and it has been RAPTURE ever since! We have gone to, and learned, PIRATES, PINAFORE, YEOMAN, IOLANTHE and PATIENCE. This summer was spent enjoying the pleasures of the GONDOLIERS. We look forward to your production of it in the spring.
As a parent I find the operas just perfect for developing all that stuff that parents want to encourage in their children. The creative and artistic play inspired in the children is wonderful to see and hear. Jenna stages GONDOLIERS and PATIENCE scenes with her stuffed animals and the house is alive with her lovely singing and piano (G&S of course!) Ian has been working on an original opera. He's got all his characters (sopranos, tenors, bass etc.) Okay, he still needs a Sullivan partner!!
When we travel in the car the question always is which opera shall we listen to? Sometimes I wonder what we did to entertain ourselves before G&S. There is a book to be written here, parenting the G&S way!
What a pleasure to find a local group as nuts as we are about this precious nonsense!
- CAROL VOSSOUGHI
In other news: remember Todd Long, the talented baritone/director who moved back to the DC area a year ago? He's moved on, to Pittsburgh.
PATIENCE ENCORE: Following the PATIENCE sing-through we enjoyed at the Picnic Meeting, Richard Turyn sent us, as an "Encore", an updated version of the Colonel's song, If you want a receipt, as performed by David Frank:
THE LAW IS... Dick Turyn sent Us another winner: He was enjoying a mystery, The Fourth Dimension is Death, by Sam Holt, which he describes as "A David Tor Associates book (1989)" when, on page 109, he came upon this bit of dialog:
Didn't know if you knew about this, but couldn't resist passing it on....
I subscribe to Show Music magazine, and there was an item
about a new release of the CD of Mark Savage's outrageous, hilarious
Pinafore (Belva Records 002), which is/was playing at LA's Celebration
Theatre. This is the gay version. It features Joseph, the cross-dressing
son of Captain Corkinit; Dick Dockstrap; Bitter Butterball; drag queen
Sailorettes, etc. The magazine included a photo. D'Oyly Carte it
RHODE ISLAND YEOMEN: Gilbert and Sullivan are alive and well in Rhode Island, even though O(cean) S(tate) L(ight) O(pera) has morphed into something with a vision more "Grand." Courthouse Light Opera, so named because it operates in a recycled 1894 courthouse in West Kingston, produced a sound and satisfying YEOMEN OF THE GUARD in August. The Bab cartoons that adorned their announcement mailer gave promise that their approach would satisfy this crotchety traditionalist, and sure enough: No tower warders doing the Charleston, no skateboard for Shadbolt to slither onstage with, no director's or performer's conceits at all. Just a good four-square G&S opera.
The courtroom-cum-theater venue did not make their task easy. The stage was tight and shallow, the scenery necessarily rudimentary, but the players used the space they had well enough, and the 120-seat audience had the bright side of a very small hall: An intimate view of the proceedings. And the hall's sound was good, which was nice, as these singers deserved good acoustics.
Several were OSLO veterans, among them Stage Director/Jack Point David W. Price, whose direction was obviously sound and whose facile Point struck the right note of Jester's glib wit with a tinge of sadness. Joanne Mouradjian's Elsie Maynard was clear-voiced and fetching, Mark Conley was a suitably self-assured Fairfax, and Thomas Epstein was in size and manner a bear of a Shadbolt.
Other principals whose program biogs did not indicate OSLO antecedents, all in good voice and acting mode, were Valerie Remillard as Phoebe Meryll, [NEGASSer] Ken McPherson as Sgt. Meryll, and Andrea Theroux as Dame Carruthers. Music Director Dale Munschy was a competent one-piano band, albeit a touch too vigorous at times for the room.
Several of the principals are music professionals, teachers in the area and about the state, and one consequence was a number of high school and college students, several of them music majors, in the chorus. Their sound, too, was good, and if some of the Tower Warders didn't look all that close to the autumn of their years, what of it? They were young and enjoying G&S, which is no small blessing.
Light Opera has done G&S for a couple or three years now, and if this
year's work fairly represents their past, I'm sorry to be late catching
ENGAGED WITH THE SUDBURY SAVOYARDS: When a director starts working on a comic play 125 years old, one of the most difficult things to decide is how to treat the work. Given the opportunity to bring the rarely performed 1877 comic masterpiece to the stage this summer, Director Charles Berney presented Engaged with a hint of melodramatic style that complemented the piece perfectly.
Engaged opens in the Highlands region of Scotland with a young swain, Angus Macalister (Ben Stevens), who routinely derails passenger trains steaming through his poor town so the passengers will spend some time and money at the cottage of his mother-in-law-elect (expertly played by longtime G&S actor/director Kathy Lague). Angus loses the love of his life, Maggie (Zoë Daniel) to Cheviot Hill, played by G&S acting and directing veteran Bill Kuhlman. Seemingly moments later, this wealthy and charming man-about-town is himself derailed in his affection for Maggie as he falls for a sophisticated Englishwoman, Belinda Treherne, who visits the Macalister cottage after Angus tips her train off the tracks. Treherne, played with a majestically light comic touch by Christine Hamel, is being pursued by an enraged Major McGillicuddy (Ed Fell), who is under the impression that she had agreed to marry him.
Hill rescues her by lying, indicating to the major that they have entered into a "Scots Marriage," which requires only that the man and woman verbally state that they are married in order for it to be legally binding. They part ways, but they all coincidentally meet later in London, at the Symperson's elegant home, gorgeously designed by Andrea Roessler and built by a team led by veteran G&S music director Steve Malionek with wonderful attention to Victorian detail. Hill has arrived there to be married to Minnie Symperson (Ann Marie King), a seemingly ditzy young woman and friend of Belinda whose father is Hill's banker, but also becomes interested in Minnie's maid (Debbie Crane). Complexity increases when we learn that Cheviot's friend Belvawney (played deftly by Henry Kettell), who is also engaged to Belinda, will be penniless if Cheviot marries, since his income is based solely on his agreement with Cheviot's father to keep him from marriage. With the arrival of Belinda and Maggie at Minnie's home, where each lay claim to Hill, Gilbert leads us to a whirlwind conclusion that rests, as do so many of his works, on an point of law.
Ann Marie King's Minnie was an expert incarnation of a sharp-edged, money-hungry bride-to-be hiding under the guise of a clueless flit. Mike Lague's Mr. Symperson was priceless as her father in his barely hidden and hilarious attempts to encourage Hill to suicide so that he can collect 1000 pounds sterling a year. When this does not occur, Lague's character, having changed into a mourning outfit in anticipation of Hill's departure, hooted in frustration, "It's not business sir, it's not business." Henry Kettell's mesmeric, yet desperate, Belvawney was played with deft expertise. Ben Steven's teary-eyed Angus Macalister and Kathy Lague as Maggie's mother supported the story with perfect Scotch accents and marvelous, almost slapstick, humor.
Zoë Daniel's winsome style and comic flair in her scenes with Hill were award winners. Debbie Crane and Ed Fell's brief but well-rendered performances add excellent color to the play. But most impressive of all was Bill Kuhlman's Cheviot Hill with his mastery of an extraordinary number of lines and his delightfully facile delivery as he bounced through his encounters with the rest of the cast.
and DVDs of the performance are available. Contact Jay Woodruff
at email@example.com for details.
NOVA SCOTIA SINGOUT:The Gilbert and Sullivan's Society of Nova Scotia's Sing-Out, held in Toronto in July, was apparently "a smashing success" - "The Singout was attended by over 100 G&S aficionados from many corners of the world." - including NEGASSers such as Bruce Miller. Dame Rumour whispers that they plan another such in 2004. Visit http://www.gandsnovascotia.ca/ for the whole story.
IN-PROGRESS PDF BRAY ARCHIVE We've been posting PDF versions of recent Brays on the web. What does this mean? It means that if you have a (free and easily accessible) copy of Adobe Acrobat Reader on your computer, you can print out a copy of the issue you want, looking pretty much the same as the copy you received in the mail - in case you lost your old copy, or want to give a copy to someone else. Ultimately, We hope to create a more nearly complete archive of old Brays in PDF format.
ABOUT CONTRIBUTING TO THE TRUMPET BRAY:
All contributions are welcome, of course - but, strictly speaking, only activities and articles relating to G&S ought to be published. (…although an occasional Yes We Know It's Not slips by when the subject relates to a promising activity presented by long-standing and active member of NEGASS.)
Visit http://leedscarroll.com/GSEnsembles.html for a list of G&S ensembles suitable for excerpt programs.
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Send electronic contributions to our e-mail address:pooh-bah at negass dot org
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