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Virtual Tea Concerts


For the last few years SACO has been presenting a Sunday afternoon Tea Concert three times a year. As we are unlikely to be able to do so live for a little while, we would like to present to you a weekly virtual treat into your inbox.

We start with "Braid The Raven Hair" from The Mikado, performed by Emily Blanch (our Merry Widow) and ladies of the SACO Chorus, all singing from their homes. The photographs in the video, by our own Michael Readman, are from our 2015 production of The Mikado which was directed by Peter Kestner and David Ireson with colourful designs by Paula Chitty.

Our next offering for Afternoon Tea: Bryony Burnham and David Woods singing "Ah, Leave Me Not To Pine Alone" from The Pirates of Penzance. Bryony and David recorded this for us at their home in Harrogate.

Bryony and David have appeared in several SACO productions and concerts over the last few years. Both sang in the Gilbert and Sullivan concerts last year, and most recently, Bryony played Orlovsky in Die Fledermaus, David was Harry Benn in The Boatswain's Mate last autumn.

Leila Saleh, training at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, sings Despina's aria In Uomini, In Soldati from Mozart's Cosi Fan Tutte.  Leila has taken part in several recent SACO productions at the Abbey Theatre, including Die Fledermaus and The Pirates of Penzance.

In this aria, Despina, mocks Dorabella and Fiordiligi, saying that they must be mad to expect faithfulness from men and soldiers. Leila's singing in the original Italian - click on the "cc" button below the video to display English subtitles..

Here we have the exquisite Flower Duet from Léo Delibes' opera Lakmé. Here, Catrin Lewis sings both parts, accompanied by her friend and colleague Louisa Lam in a recording they made from their homes.

In the opera, the duet takes place as Lakmé walks to the river with her servant, Mallika, to gather sweet jasmine intertwined with roses.

Catrin has sung in several productions with SACO over the last few years: she played Rose Maybud in our production of Ruddigore in 2019, and before that you may have seen her as the mischievous maid, Adele in Die Fledermaus or as the Sandman and Dew Fairy in Hansel and Gretel.

This Tea Concert video is a double treat of Hail, Poetry! and an extract from Tower Warders. The company made these audio snippets from our homes to cheer up one of our singers while she was in hospital, having fallen very seriously ill with COVID-19 in March. She spent several weeks in intensive care, but thankfully is now back home and on the road to recovery.  Michael Readman's photography is from our productions of The Pirates of Penzance in 2017 and The Yeomen of the Guard in 2011.

This version of Saint-Saëns' famous cello solo "The Swan" is from Katy' Bingham-Best's one-woman show" Jelly Bakewell Learns To Sing".

When Jelly, the heroine, joins a school production of "The Mikado", she finds herself having to sing the same note endlessly in the Act I Finale. Jelly gets bored and starts painting her nails, so her choir mistress banishes her to the orchestra, where she debuts as a cello - hence this number "Definitely Not A Swan Song".

Katy's most recent stage appearance with SACO was in Ruddigore in 2019 as Dame Hannah. At the piano is Julian Barber, who accompanies most Tea Concerts, SACO rehearsals and musically directed SACO's "Tosca" and "The Boatswain's Mate" from the keyboard.


St Albans Chamber Opera Trust
46 Ramsbury Road, St Albans, Hertfordshire, AL1 1SW


01727 869069


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