Following on from our Myths and Legends concerts in May 2015, during November, we performed the second set of our 2015 series of concerts: Fairies, Phantoms and Fiends.
Opera usually focuses on love and death but very often it is the supernatural influence that determines the outcome, so we were looking at the operas where witches meddle with fate and fairies plague mortals, and where heroines fall in love with ghosts and ghosts make unreasonable demands of heroes. Oh, and vampires!
Heber Opera's musical director Michael Withers guided the audience through all the excerpts during the evening with an informative narrative that put the operas into context and provided fascinating background information about the works and their composers.
The programme included witches in scenes from Dido and Aeneas (Purcell) and Macbeth (Verdi), fairies as portrayed by Vaughan Williams, Purcell and Sulllivan, and ghosts from Sullivan's Ruddigore and Wagner's Flying Dutchman.
Even vampires will be under the microscope as we included extended excerpts from a little-known opera by Heinrich Marschner - Der Vampyr.
As Michael explains:
When we watch an opera we are usually thinking about the love story or the power struggle that forms the main story, but the real stars are often the supernatural elements that drive the main characters: just think of the witches in Macbeth or Mephistopheles in the Faust legends! And very often these supernatural characters inspire a composer's best music.