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Fiona Woolf DBE

Duncan Orr

(c) 2001, HappyDog Enterprises
Last Updated: 17/1/17



Spring 2017

Samson et Dalila – Sunday 19th March 2017, 7.00pm Cadogan Hall

Our next performance will beSaint-Saëns’ opera based on the well-known biblical story of Samson and Delilah.  The composer considered this to be his masterpiece and is the only one of his operas to have kept a place in the repertoire.  It is a ravishing score, and would be performed more often if casting the role of Samson himself were less difficult.  He needs a heroic voice and good French as well as being able to portray the character convincingly on stage.  So when the tenor we originally invited became unavailable at a late stage in planning our performance there was a nerve-wracking search for the right replacement.  Happily, we made contact with Aaron Cawley who has accepted the challenge of performing the role, with Claudia Huckle as Dalila and Michel de Souza as the High Priest of Dagon. The conductor will be Matthew Scott-Rogers who is one of the Jette Parker Young Artists at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden.

There will be a pre-performance talk given by Michael Steen for all ticket holders at 5.45pm in the Cadogan Hall.  For those attending the talk the doors will open at 5pm.

Prince Igor

Our performance of Borodin’s opera proved to be an enjoyable experience for performers and audience alike.  The Times gave it a four-star review describing it as ‘a blast’!  Jessica Cottis, who conducted with great energy, style and commitment, coped magnificently with the scheduling challenges that COG throws at its conductors!  Even with numerous cuts it was a long evening, but several people commented that the evening flew by.  The only disappointment was that the audience was smaller than usual – but they made up for lack of numbers in enthusiasm.

Prince Igor lost more than £18,000 – it was a long opera with a large cast and box office receipts were disappointing.  All of our concerts make losses which is why we rely on the financial support of our participants and audience to be able to survive.

You can help in two ways.  First, by encouraging your friends to join you in buying tickets for Samson et Dalila and Nabucco.  Secondly, please consider joining our supporters’ group Cognoscenti.  Membership costs from £30 per year and members of Cognoscenti enjoy:

  1. A copy of COG’s newsletter three times a year with publicity about concerts.
  2. An invitation to the annual party introducing the operas of the season. 
  3. Invitation to special events such as talks and recitals - some in exclusive venues and some with other musical organisations.

For more information and to join Cognoscenti contact:  or telephone 020 7359 6934.

Future Plans

The 2016/17 season concludes on Saturday 17th June 2017 at the Cadogan Hallwith Verdi’s Nabucco. We are delighted that our old friend Gianluca Marcianò will return to conduct.  He has extensive experience of the piece having already conducted it in Oviedo, Tblisi and Zagreb.  Keep an eye on our website chelseaoperagroup.org.uk for details of who will join Helena Dix in the cast.

The orchestra will once again be travelling down to Salisbury Cathedral on Saturday April 1st 2016 for a performance of Elgar’s The Kingdom with the choir of the Salisbury Musical Society.

Outside engagements like these have an important role in helping us to raise the funds needed for us to promote our London concert series, so we are always happy to receive invitations for the group to perform.  Let us know if you have any ideas.

Deborah Miles Johnson

Since she first joined us for La traviata in 2010 Deborah Miles Johnson has been a popular and indefatigable chorus master and it is sad news that she has decided to stand down after Samson et Dalila.  Debbie is busy as a freelance singer, vocal coach and is chorus master of at least two other choirs so understandably she has decided she needs to slow down.  We will all miss her energy and enthusiasm.

Join Us!

If you have ever wondered how it feels to sing in an opera, why not consider joining our chorus?    Rehearsals are held in central London, normally over the five weeks before a performance, usually two evenings a week and one all-day weekend session. If you would like to know more contact us by emailing

Membership of the orchestra is by invitation, but we are always on the look-out for high quality players – especially double basses!!  If you are interested in finding out more or know someone who might be interested in playing with COG please let us know.

The best way to contact us is by emailing

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Duncan Orr

Supported by the Chelsea Opera Group Trust: Registered Charity Number 247438: 21 Woodlands Road, Isleworth TW7 6NR
020 8675 2779:

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