Bamba Blog
Director's Ramblings

The story so far...

Hello everyone, thanks for reading the first of many entries on our shiny new blog, which will follow our trials and tribulations, interests, inspirations and successes as we manage the direction and trajectory of Opera Bamba! What this blog will actually become is anyone’s guess. Like so many others it could fall into being another place to vent, advertise and share curiosities, but with a new company brings new intentions and renewed vigour. And I will be leaving the so-called ‘funnies’ to the rest of the team; I know nothing about memes and I have no intention of learning. Otherwise, enjoy!


I’ve always wanted to write chapters into something. Really, though, this isn’t chapter one. Chapter one actually happened last year, in 2016, when myself along with a few others tried to stage Puccini’s La Boheme. So, as a preface, the next paragraph will give a rough idea as to the events that took place in that particularly trying year.
To start, the initial Production Team decided to stage La Boheme, thus forming the skeleton of the company’s first incarnation. A cast of very talented singers was assembled, some of whom are involved with the projects today. Those of you familiar enough with our initial cast may recall where our Shaunard came from. Well, against the better judgment of those in the world blessed with ears, that was my role. At this point, it all seemed great; we had a cast, a venue and a great opera, not to mention a great poster, generous friends and partners and a whole host of people willing us to succeed.
Upon starting rehearsals we were introduced to Wilson Chu, a marvelous pianist himself and who has recently joined our leadership ranks. Unfortunately, with only a few short rehearsals until our opening night, our good fortune began to unravel. Illness beset our Rodolfo and he was replaced at short notice with Andrew Powis, a fantastic young tenor in every respect. In turn, over the next few weeks, just about every member of our cast either called in absences due to either illness or workload, meaning the production in its entirety was not ready to perform. With no scope to postpone and with no understudies, we were left with a decision to either present scenes from the opera (as part of a larger gala concert) with those of the cast who had recovered, or to cancel the show completely and take the opportunity to refresh, rebrand and to recruit more specialised experience to the Production Team.
In the end a majority vote amongst the Production Team weighed in favour of cancellation. A great shame and a decision no one took lightly, but in retrospect the correct decision. For a while at least, ‘La Boheme’ was spoken among ourselves and friends in hushed tones, but that was then. This is now…

Chapter 1 – A New Beginning

Whilst we acknowledge the lack of experience as a company cost us our grand unveiling, we learnt a great number of lessons that will ultimately contribute to what I believe is still a very important and relevant project. With a new and carefully selected Management Team, we have the required skills in managing venues, singer appointments and liaising, social media and marketing and (of course) concerts and productions. In the previous incarnation, we were beset with the unfortunate position of having the most ignorant person of all trying to lead solo. I am uniquely qualified to say this – It was me. This year Andrew Powis and Tim Edmundson will lead our artistic team, both of whom will also be involved in our concerts and stage projects. Together they have already secured an excellent set of singers for our first concert of the year (See our What’s On page for more information). Scott Sutherland is o ur Finance and Marketing man who will ultimately sign the cheques. And finally, Sophie Halpin is responsible for our outreach programme which is being implemented as we speak; we already have a solid plan in place to begin a community choir and hope to soon roll out a grass-roots initiative. Sophie will also join our production team for our next full opera, ‘L’elisir d’amore’ by Donizetti, as our resident Italian coach.
We now have a good foundation for success. We know we have enough ambition – a reminder of our ambition is to look at the title of our first opera – all we need to do now is build on our experience and realise the great potential that such a project (and our own ambition) will allow.
I hope you enjoyed what was my first EVER blog entry; it remains to be seen if I will be invited to write another, but this space will no doubt be a source of intrigue and information of all things music. 

Chapter 2 - Auditions

Auditions (21/02/2017)