2016 - Don Giovanni

Oborne Opera
Accompanied by
Susanna Stranders
In W A Mozart's
St John’s Church, Itchen Abbas
In aid of the MS Society and Itchen Valley Churches
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Sponsored by
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Review from the Itchen Valley News.

Don Giovanni actors image It was an enormous privilege to witness the Oborne Opera group’s uniquely engaging performances of Mozart’s Don Giovanni in the intimate setting of St John’s Church, Itchen Abbas. At the heart of Oborne Opera are the internationally acclaimed Intermezzo Soloists, American soprano, Maribeth Diggle, Florian Bonneau, Stephen Anthony Brown and Eleanor Ross who, with their equally talented friends, first performed this abridged version of Don Giovanni in a tiny church in Oborne. Now, due to flourishing solo careers they rarely have a chance to sing together so we were especially fortunate to have a chance to see and hear them.

Don Giovanni is loosely based on the legend of Don Juan who allegedly had over a thousand lovers.

Alastair Ollerenshaw made an engaging Leporello with his gold-plated bass-baritone voice and exceptional comic timing.

Eleanor Ross was outstanding as Donna Elvira, her radiant soprano voice soaring to the rafters of the church while Don Ottavio was played sensitively by Stephen Anthony Brown.

Peter Brooke, who switched roles with ease, convinced as both Masetto and the Commendatore, and the final scene, where he dragged Don Giovanni into hell, beneath the arch in St John’s, and complete with smoke and red lighting, was chilling.

Zita Syme was engaging as Zerlina, particularly in her perfectly pitched indecision in the famous aria ‘La ci darem la mano’, and never has dusting been performed more flirtatiously than by Bella Woosnam playing the maid.

Susanna Stranders was remarkable, not only in her skilful keyboard accompaniment, but also in singing-in the tenor role of Don Ottavio on the second night when Stephen lost his voice.

Nick and Lavinia Owen have given us all the most memorable and joyful experience in organising and persuading this extraordinarily talented group to perform in Itchen Abbas. If these young singers are the future of Opera, then the future looks bright.

The performances were generously sponsored by Carter Jonas and Eric Robinson Solicitors, with a Gala Concert on the Sunday sponsored by Hobbs Rehabilitation.

Maddy Woosnam
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The opera raised £2,000, divided between the MS Society and the Itchen Valley Churches.

Oborne Opera is a group of international singers, but just as importantly friends, who come together when they can to sing in small venues, where the feel and atmosphere is special. We first met them singing in a small church in Oborne in Dorset, hence the name. They are led by Stephen Anthony Brown, tenor and American soprano Maribeth Diggle. Their accompanist is Susanna Stranders, head of music at Garsington Opera. The opera was slightly abridged to fit into the church.

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