Martha - Don't miss our final show!

Tonight we are staging Martha for the final time and it's the last chance to see our production of this rarely performed opera. We have had tremendous fun putting the show together so we will be sorry to say goodbye to it! We will be at The Village Centre in Hurstpierpoint at 7:30pm. Hope to see you there!

Martha - The First Night

  • Posted on: 2 October 2022
  • By: admin

Our production of Martha opened last night in Steyning. The audience was fabulous and they were greatly appreciated by the cast and production team. It's a chance to see a rarely performed opera, sung in English and performed in the round with brilliant music from our orchestral ensemble.

Today we move on to Uckfield before finishing the run in Hustpierpoint next Saturday. There are still tickets available for tonight at Uckfield and they can be reserved using the ticket line - 07340 251875. Tickets for next Saturday's performance in Hustpierpoint can be booked online using the link below. We hope we will see you there!

Martha - The Dress Rehearsal!

  • Posted on: 2 October 2022
  • By: admin

The Heber cast love the dress rehearsal as it is our opportunity to run through the whole story in costume and with our fantastic orchestral ensemble.

The final build up to the opera begins the preceding week with the "sitzprobe", our opportunity to sit down with our scores and sing through the music with the orchestra for the first time. Michael Withers, our musical director, uses this time to integrate the musicians and the singers

The following week is the dress rehearsal where we get to run through the staging for the final time and work on our queues and props management as well as singing and acting. Our wonderful director, Dorothy Withers, gives us our final staging notes at the end of the rehearsal. Then we have just one more day to work on our roles before the opening night!

Who wrote Martha?

  • Posted on: 17 September 2022
  • By: Michael Withers

Martha was written by Friedrich von Flotow, a German composer who trained in Paris. Although Flotow is mainly remembered only for his opera Martha, he wrote over 30 operas and a number of ballets. His music was influenced by Rossini, Donizetti, Gounod and Offenbach.

He was born in 1812 and completed his first opera at the age of 23. Even though few are familiar today, he continued to write operas for the next 40 years.

Rare opera comes to Sussex

  • Posted on: 14 August 2022
  • By: Dorothy Withers

Heber Opera is delighted to be presenting the rare opera Martha at last, after the pandemic forced us to cancel the original run planned for 2020!

Although Martha (by Friedrich von Flotow) was written in 1844, the girl heroines are surprisingly modern – they’re controlling the action! With an updated translation, the story involves a pair of feisty young women who decide that their lives need some adventure, so they take themselves to the local fair to have some fun. When they find themselves unintentionally hired by two farmers love steps in! Unlike the usual comic opera trope, the farmers fall in love with the girls but it’s the girls who are in control! As it’s a comic opera, there are many misunderstandings on the way to a final happy conclusion.

It is such a shame that Flotow’s opera Martha is only rarely performed today because it has such a good plot and is full of lovely music, including an appearance of ‘The Last Rose of Summer’.

As usual, the Heber Opera’s production will be fully staged, sung in English and performed ‘in the round’, accompanied by the Heber Opera chamber ensemble.

We are delighted to have our regular soloists including soprano Veronica Brooks, mezzo-soprano Grace Lovelass, tenor Matt Connelly, bass Stephen Hawksley and baritones Dick Bacon and Nick Forrest..

Performances will be:

  • Steyning Centre on Saturday 1 October
  • Uckfield Civic Centre on Sunday 2 October
  • Hurstpierpoint Village Centre on Saturday 8 October.

Tickets will be on sale from 15 August – follow the links below.

Let’s make opera!

  • Posted on: 20 April 2022
  • By: Michael Withers

Find out how Heber Opera prepares a show!

Heber Opera is planning two opera workshops on Sat 21st (Steyning Centre) and Sun 22nd May (Uckfield Civic Centre), both regular performance venues for Heber. Each workshop will concentrate on chorus sections from a different opera.

The workshops will start with learning the music (words in English) and be followed by acting out the drama. At the end of the day’s workshop, solo singers will join us to present the piece to friends and family in an informal performance.

To take part in the workshops

There is a charge of £20 per workshop to take part, and we need to know by 6 May if you would like to join us. Contact our musical director Michael Withers on 07802 735190 or . Timetables for the workshops are below – note the different start times.

Steyning - Macbeth

Saturday 21 May

Uckfield - Il Trovatore

Sunday 22 May 2022

3pm - registration 2:30pm - registration
3:45-7:00pm - music and staging session 3:15-6:30pm music and stagin session
7:00pm - run through including soloists 6:30pm run through including soloists
8:00pm - 30 minute meal break 7:30pm - 30 minute meal break
8:45pm - Performance 8:30pm - performance

There is no charge to watch the performances, but donations will be welcome. The booking line for reserving a seat will open on Monday 9 May and the number to call and leave your request for seats (how many and which performance) is 07340 251875. There is a limit on numbers so it’s first come first served!

We do hope we will see some of you at our workshops; feel free to pass this information on to friends and family who may be interested.

Welcome to 2022!

  • Posted on: 16 January 2022
  • By: Michael Withers

Happy New Year!

We hope everyone has had an enjoyable and relaxing Christmas break and is rested and ready to tackle 2022 and all that it might bring.

It’s been a difficult two years for the arts and Heber Opera is no exception. We did manage a series of concerts and some carol singing just before Christmas at St Anne’s Well Gardens, Hove.

Now we are in the final stages of planning an exciting programme of activities for the year that will, we hope, provide an opportunity to welcome new members and to get back to what we do best, a fully staged performance in the autumn.

Watch this space for more details.

Sign up to our mailing list to be the first to hear.

October 2021 Concerts

  • Posted on: 7 November 2021
  • By: Dorothy Withers

We are pleased to report that our October concerts went very well. Rehearsals were a bit strange to start with due to social distancing and all the sanitising required to keep Covid at bay and similarly we took every precaution in the concert venues in order to keep everyone as safe as possible. Ticket sales were a bit on the low side but we had anticipated this would be the case not only because of on-going public concerns related to Covid but also the much publicised petrol “shortages”. Fortunately the latter eased shortly before the first concert and sales picked up including some last minute purchases on the day.

Audience members seemed genuinely delighted to be back out in public listening to music again and as well as many complimentary remarks we also gained one or two new followers. It was lovely to look out into the audience and recognise some friendly and familiar faces so if you managed to get to one of the concerts thank you for your support and hopefully you enjoyed the experience. Certainly for our singers it fulfilled a long-awaited wish to sing together and perform in public once again.

So, moving on – normally we would be looking at providing carols for The Bluebell Railway throughout December but as they are not running their evening dinner trains again this year our services are not required. This has been a good fundraising exercise over the past several years so we shall miss that seasonal influx into our coffers. Looking ahead to 2022 we are still deciding what might be possible bearing in mind the recent government warnings that Covid is still with us and restrictions may be tightened up again. We are considering moving our next production into October but obviously this depends on a number of things such as singers’ availabilities so we cannot make any firm announcements just yet. Recruitment is also a big issue - we have a few people waiting to audition but it would be really good to get some younger people involved so if you know of anyone who is interested in singing, and importantly, fit and active, do ask them to get in touch for more details.

We will post news on our website as and when there is anything to report and meanwhile once again, thank you all for your support which we really do appreciate.

Stay well and all good wishes from everyone at Heber Opera.

Heber Opera Sings Again!

  • Posted on: 24 August 2021
  • By: Anonymous (not verified)

Heber Opera are delighted to be performing a series of concerts this Autumn

Tickets will be available from 1st September

Light at the end of the tunnel?

  • Posted on: 3 May 2021
  • By: Michael Withers

Hope you are enjoying the spring weather which we are having at the moment.

The Heber Opera management team continues to monitor the pandemic situation as we are all very keen to return to rehearsing and performing as soon as we can. The recent progress through the government’s roadmap means that we are delighted to announce that (Covid restrictions permitting), Heber Opera are planning three short concerts in October as follows:

  • Sunday 10th - Uckfield
  • Saturday 16th - Steyning
  • Sunday 17th - Hurstpierpoint

The concerts will be short programmes of solos, ensembles and choruses accompanied with the Heber chamber ensemble.

Of course we are still in the lap of the gods regarding any social distancing or other legal requirements in October so we cannot even be certain how many people will be allowed in the audience! For that reason we cannot put tickets on sale yet. When they ARE available, tickets will be £10 (no concessions) and available from Ticket Source. We will circulate flyers with booking details just as soon as we can, but in the meantime please put the dates in your diaries.

Thank you for all your support in the past and we look forward to welcoming you to performances in the future. Stay safe and well.

The Heber Opera Management Team