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Sat 18 May 2024 – 7:00 pm

“We are new to opera and appreciated every scene being explained to us. The presentation and singing by the artists was amazing and the whole show was so enjoyable.”

“This was absolutely marvellous – could not have been better. We loved the performances and the introductions and repartee.”

“I thought it was splendid … delightful repertoire and great stage direction. ”

Previous Audience Feedback

Spring is nearly here, and with it heralds the annual Masterclasses, and the subsequent Spring Opera Showcase, which offers a rich variety of semi-staged opera scenes and arias, set into context, to entertain opera novices of all ages and seasoned opera lovers in equal measure.

Visitors to the Masterclass are able to follow a performance’s journey from the rehearsal to production, offering a more in-depth view, at an earlier stage in the week, of what goes into the workings behind a performance.

“My enjoyment (of the Spring Opera Showcase) was greatly enhanced by attendance of the Masterclasses in the days before, where we watched the singers being trained into dramatic ensembles by some of the best teachers in the world.”

Clonter’s former Chairman, Patrick Furlong

Marie Cayeux – Soprano

Recipient of a bursary from the International Opera Awards Foundation for the season 2023-2024, Marie Cayeux recently debuted at Opéra de Monte-Carlo as the Fire, the Princess and the Nightingale in Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortilèges and as a guest artist at the international Festival Lyrique-en-Mer. Winner of many prizes at international competitions, her past roles include: La Princesse Laoula (L’etoile – Chabrier), the Dew fairy (Hänsel und Gretel – Humperdinck), Louisa (A Feast in the Time of Plague – Cui), Mrs P. (The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat – Nyman), The Maid (Four Sisters – Langer) and Barbara (Roman Fever – Hagemann). This summer, she will be covering Waldvogel (Siegfried – Wagner) for Longborough Festival Opera. UK-based since 2018, Marie studied in Opera School at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and obtained her Masters in Vocal Performance with Distinction at the Guildhall School.

Nicholas Collins – Tenor

Nicholas Collins, a 24-year-old tenor from Melbourne , Australia , completed his Bachelor of Music at The Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, graduating with First Class Honours in 2021. In this time Nicholas was invited to be the soloist at the Wiener Musikverein to perform the closing anthem of the Summa Cum Laude festival. Nicholas now resides in Manchester studying under Paul Nilon at the RNCM . In his time in Manchester so far, he has been involved in RNCM opera scenes presenting scenes by Dove,  Britten and Mozart. More recently Nicholas portrayed the role of Don Curzio in Chicago Summer Opera’s production of Le Nozze Di Figaro. Nicholas is currently in his second year of his master’s degree , with many exciting projects and performances planned for the near future whilst he resides in the UK.

Ceferina Penny – Soprano

British-Argentine Soprano Ceferina Penny is in her second year of master’s studies with Janis Kelly at the Royal College of Music, where she is a Charles Ravel Scholar. Upon beginning her studies in 2018, she simultaneously made her professional debut as ‘The Slave’ in the English National Opera’s latest production of Salome, at the London Coliseum. Thus far, Ceferina has taken part in masterclasses with Dame Ann Murray, Sir Thomas Allen and Veronique Gens. In 2021, she made her debut at The Grange Festival, singing ‘Peaseblossom’ in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Recently, Ceferina was the recipient of the Audience Prize in the Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards, which took place at the Wigmore Hall. In August 2023, Ceferina made her role debut as Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro at the Château de Panloy, Port-d’Enveaux, with Westminster Opera Company. This September, Ceferina will join the National Opera Studio as a Young Artist on the Global Talent Programme.

Phoebe Rayner – Mezzo Soprano

Praised for her “coppery” and “richly coloured mezzo”, Phoebe Rayner is a recent graduate of the Royal College of Music and Royal Northern College of Music. She is a Stoller Hall Emerging Artist and Britten Pears Young Artist specialising in contemporary music and the development of new works. Roles and scenes performed include Nerone in Agrippina (Hampstead Garden Opera), La chatte/L’écureuil in L’enfant et les sortilèges (RCM Opera Studio), Concepción in L’heure Espagnole (Ernest Reed Symphonic Orchestra), Stewardess in Flight (RCM Opera Studio), Hänsel in Hänsel und Gretel (Westminster Opera Company), Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro, Dorabella in Così fan tutte, and Nancy in Albert Herring (RCM Scenes).

Michael Temporal Darell – Baritone

Michael Temporal Darell is a graduate of the Royal Academy of Music where he studied with Raymond Connell, Marcus van den Akker and James Baillieu. In the 2024 season, upcoming and recent performances include Adam in Haydn’s Creation at St John Smith Square, Ramiro in L’heure espagnole, Donald in Billy Budd for New Palace Opera, Clonter Opera Spring Showcase, and guest artist at the Great North Proms – Newcastle O2. In addition to this, Michael is an Opera Prelude Young Artist for 2024. Prior to studying at the Royal Academy of Music, Michael Temporal Darell was a joint principal study singer and composer at the Purcell School for Young Musicians and at the Royal Academy of Music’s Junior Academy.

Peter Relton – Director

Peter has been an Opera Director for over 30 years. Most recently was the Associate Director of the world premiere of The Hours at the Metropolitan Opera which he has just finished remounting. He has a long standing working relationship with the Director Phelim McDermott whom he has assisted on the renowned productions of Akhnaten, Satygraha and Cosi fan Tutte. He has remounted these productions at The Metropolitan Opera, LA Opera and ENO. Other revivals at ENO include, The Barber of Seville and the Marriage of Figaro. He directed Tosca for Grange Park Opera to open their new Opera House at West Horsley Place. He has directed Nabbuco and La Boheme (Dorset Opera); Die Fledermaus (Fulham Opera); La bohème, Falstaff and La Rondine (Opera North); Cavalleria rusticana and I Pagliacci (Festival de la Vezere); La voix humaine (Les Azuriales Opera Festival); La Cenerentola and Tosca (Opera Brava); The Pearl Fishers and Nabucco (Northern Opera); The Marriage of Figaro, La traviata, The Magic Flute and Tosca (Opera Nova). He He has also worked with students, directing scenes at both the RCM and RAM. As an assistant director he has worked at ENO, ROH, Opera North, Scottish Opera and Glyndebourne, assisting directors such as Phyllida Lloyd, Rufus Norris, Phelim McDermott, David Pountney, David McVicar, Deborah Warner, Ian Judge, Sir Jonathan Miller, Jeremy Sams, Philip Prowse, Tim Albery and Francesca Zambello. As a revival director he has worked in Austria, Holland and Germany.

Philip Sunderland – Music Director

Philip was born in Norwich and educated at the Cathedral School. A graduate of the Royal Academy of Music and the National Opera Studio, Philip began his professional like as a repetiteur, working for all the major opera companies in the UK. This led to many conducting opportunities, first with English Touring Opera, for whom he conducted Marriage of Figaro, Cenerentola, Pearl Fishers, Daughter of the Regiment and Cosi fan tutte. In 1999, having worked as an assistant conductor at Opera North, Philip was appointed Chorus Master, a role he performed for five years. Whilst working for Opera North he conducted La traviata and the company’s acclaimed production of Sweeney Todd, as well as numerous concerts including the Brahms’ Requiem in York Minster. Philip has continued to conduct for ETO, winning an Olivier Award for Paul Bunyan in 2015 and returned the following year with Tales of Hoffman. He was music director to Swansea City Opera and W11 Opera for Young People and Chorus Master at the Bregenzer Festspiele. In 2014 he was commissioned by the Saffron Hall to write an opera for over 200 schoolchildren, professional singers and orchestra. The Glass Knight was first performed in the Saffron Hall, Saffron Walden in March 2015. Advent Calendar, a setting of biblical texts and a poem by Ronan Williams, was premiered in St Mary’s church, Saffron Walden in 2018. Philip is delighted to return to Clonter Opera, having conducted Rigoletto in 2009, a particularly exciting time as his son was born prematurely during the final stage and orchestra rehearsals! Philip is currently Head of Preparatory and Vocal Faculty Opera at the Royal Academy of Music, for whom he conducted Cunning Little Vixen in 2019.

Alex Norton – Accompanist

Alex Norton is a British pianist and continuo player, who trained as a Young artist at the National Opera Studio (2023/24). As a repetiteur recent productions include the UK premiere of Salieri’s La fiera di Venzia and the Danish premiere of Mascagni’s Zanetto, and multiple premieres with the Music Troupe. Other highlights include various projects with the Royal Opera House’s Learning and Participation programme, English Touring Opera, Welsh National Youth Opera and Lyric Opera Ireland. As a collaborative pianist Alex has performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Wigmore Hall, various European venues, and made his concerto debut with the Leeds Symphony Orchestra.

Ticket Pricing & Booking Information

Thurs 16 May

Tickets £5, FREE for Patrons, Friends & Students
Masterclass 2.00 – 3.30pm

Spring Opera Showcase
Sat 18 May

Tickets £22, £28, £36, £41, FREE for 26-year-olds and under (ID may be required)
Early Bird Ticket (10% Discount) available until 1st March
Group Discount (10% Discount) 10+
U3A Discount (10% Discount)
Doors Open 6pm
Performance Starts 7pm
Interval 70 minute supper interval; pre-order supper, or bring your own picnic

Priority Booking for Patrons 9th February
Priority Booking for Friends 16th February
General Sale 23rd February

Drink Arrangements – Please note that any drink consumed inside the premises must be purchased from the bar. For Friends and Patrons of Clonter who wish to bring their own drink, a corkage fee of £4 per person will apply (payable in advance on 01260 224514).

N.B. Table and catering booking facilities close a week before the performance date. Pre-order drinks facilities close at 4pm on the Wednesday before the performance.