Opera double bill

Wednesday 6th June 2018

Guildhall School, Silk Street

On the eve of my last day as Master, we were invited to an opera double bill performed by singers and musicians of the Guildhall School of Music and Dramatic Art. Our Benevolent Fund makes an annual donation to the Guildhall Trust which makes bursaries to students. The cost of attending a two year post graduate course in central London would be prohibitive for most students without the support of bursaries. Michael Vickers is a Tobacco Pipe Makers' Scholar and baritone; he sang at my Installation Dinner and January Dinner.

The first opera was The Long Christmas Dinner by Paul Hindemith and Michael sang two of the parts. It was a rather sad 50 minute opera which took us through 90 years of Christmas Dinners at the same table in the same house with four generations of the same family. As the time came for a character to die, he or she simply exited stage right. The stage craft was simple but very effective and the singers were superb. I was particularly proud of Michael Vickers' performances.

At the interval, we were treated to a glass of wine and we chatted to the Assistant Director of Training.

The second opera was much lighter and great fun. Lennox Berkeley's "A Dinner Engagement" is set around a kitchen table in the London home of the impoverished Lord and Lady Dunmow, who are hosting a dinner for the Grand Duchess of Monteblanco and her son Prince Philippe. The solution to their financial problems is dependent on securing a match for their difficult daughter with the Prince. As with the Hindemith opera, the performances were excellent and it was a privilege to watch such wonderful young talent.