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Fiona Woolf DBE

Sue Benjamins

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Last Updated: 2/3/21



Autumn 2020

Excitement – Live Opera Soloists & Orchestra!

Note: This newsletter was written before the 2nd lockdown and consequent postponement of the concert.

Frustrations over cancellations this year are forgotten as Chelsea Opera Group offer MAKE OPERA LIVE AGAIN, a concert at Cadogan Hall on Sunday 8th November, 5pm (Remembrance Sunday) with 90 minutes of gems from Bellini, Donizetti, Mozart and Verdi. Four renowned singers will be on stage, led by conductor Gary Matthewman.

We are still stopped by Covid from full operas, so we have organised a LIVE event that keeps everyone safe and comfortable – but which brings back some favourite arias and ensembles, with a reduced COG Orchestra, to an audience actually present in the Hall. It runs 5 - 6.30pm (no interval). Drinks will be taken to your seats. Seats are sold distanced to give space and the early finish means an easy trip home.

We are one of the first to manage a live show, inside. This opportunity is due to the wonderful management of Cadogan Hall who have worked tirelessly to organise safe methods for us, and support COG every step of the way. We owe thanks to them for their advice and encouragement.

200 tickets sold in a few days of going on sale and some remain, sold direct from the website (www.cadoganhall.com) or by phone on 020 7730 4500. Programmes with an English summary will be sent electronically to ticket holders. The programme is also on this website.

SINGERS are Helena Dix, soprano; Catherine Carby, mezzo; Christopher Turner, tenor; and Julien Van Mellaerts, baritone, with members of the COG orchestra.

Programme for 2021

LOOKING AHEAD, and with the difficulties of this year, we are reviewing our Spring and Summer events in March and June at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank. We will announce the programme for those dates as soon as possible, with repertoire chosen to breathe fresh life into jaded “pandemic” palates!

Meanwhile, it is still Donizetti’s Roberto Devereux on 31 October 2021 at Cadogan Hall.

CHANCE OF STUDYING OPERA AT IMPERIAL COLLEGE, LONDON, from your home ... exciting opera course, covering all aspects, by a top tutor who also plays for COG’s orchestra. Bruno Bower runs an on-line course from Imperial College on Wednesday evenings for two hours each time. JOIN UP here.

The course uses Zoom, so you stay in your own home.

Chelsea Opera Group

Chelsea Opera Group (COG) plans three operas a year as concerts, in the original language with English surtitles. We have a full trained chorus and large orchestra who also play for events at Salisbury Cathedral.

For over 70 years we have had three aims. Firstly, to give opera in top venues at affordable prices, reviving unfairly-neglected works and uncommon versions of favourites. Many works revived by us are now in the repertoire of international opera houses. Secondly, we help younger players, singers and conductors by offering chances to perform. Finally, we want to grow future audiences by going out to schools and colleges.

The orchestra and chorus are amateur, but soloists and conductors are professionals. Dame Kiri te Kanawa, Sir Willard White and Sir John Tomlinson have sung with us. Sir Simon Rattle and Sir Mark Elder worked with COG as their careers developed.

Our first performance, Mozart’s Don Giovanni in 1950, was led by the then-unknown Colin Davis, later to become Sir Colin Davis, Music Director of the Royal Opera House and Principal Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra.

We need help to continue this work. We get no public subsidy. Ticket sales can never cover costs and prices need to be affordable. Funds are raised from private donors and supportive companies through our registered charity, the Chelsea Opera Group Trust (President, Dame Fiona Woolf) and for this we are enormously grateful. If you would like to donate or simply to join the mailing list to stay informed, please contact:

We still need a DIGITAL MARKETING PERSON to strengthen our media presence and an ORCHESTRA MANAGER/PLAYER. This is a rare chance to get involved with an effective amateur/professional opera company and to make your own mark on us!

To find out about joining our chorus please contact:

Sue Benjamins, Chairman
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Chelsea Opera Group

Published and supported by the Chelsea Opera Group Trust
Registered Charity Number 247438 Bargate, Richmond, North Yorkshire DL10 4QY

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