Retrospect Opera

Great British Operas On Record

What's New?
Our long-awaited recording of Loder’s glorious Gothic opera Raymond and Agnes will be released on 3 August. We recorded this last October, with Richard Bonynge conducting the Royal Ballet Sinfonia. Richard is extremely impressed with the opera and very happy with how the recording went.
Our soloists were amazing: Majella Cullagh (Agnes), Mark Milhofer (Raymond), Andrew Greenan (the Baron), Carolyn Dobbin (Madelina), Quentin Hayes (Antoni), Alessandro Fisher (Theodore), Alexander Robin Baker (Francesco), Timothy Langston (Landlord), Phil Wilcox (Roberto) and David Horton (Martini).
We have a strong team involved, but are always glad of further financial support! Please click on the Listening Rooms link above to hear extracts from the 2015 concert in Bath, with the Bath Philharmonia. The 2-CD set includes all the dialogue, and the booklet includes the libretto and a synopsis. Do click on the link in the left hand panel for more details.

Spectra Ensemble
are performing The Boatswain’s Mate at the Arcola Theatre in London from 30 July to 1 August, part of the Grimeborn Opera Festival. More details are
here, and of the production, they say ‘June 1953: peace reigns in Europe, and the waters of the English Channel are troubled only by excitable holidaymakers as Britain celebrates the coronation of its new Queen. Young and old alike have flocked to Margate for summer loving, healthy air and strolls on the promenade. But, at a quiet pub set back from the seafront, the landlady has a nuisance on her hands. She’s confronted with a suitor who simply won’t take ‘no’ for an answer. When he comes up with a last-ditch plan to win her heart, our formidable heroine gives him more than he’d bargained for... A hundred years since women were first given the right to vote, Spectra Ensemble presents a rare revival of this 1914 opera by Suffragette composer Ethel Smyth, complete with all the quintessential sounds and sights of British summertime.’

On Wednesday 1 August (pity it clashes with Spectra's performance!), the BBC National Orchestra of Wales are performing ‘On the Cliffs of Cornwall’, the Prelude to Act 2 of Smyth’s The Wreckers in the Proms, at the Royal Albert Hall, starting at 7.30. More details here.

Grasp the Nettle
tells the story of Ethel Smyth, composer, writer and suffragette, in her own words and compositions, in a flowing fusion of drama and music. It’s performed by Lucy Stevens (contralto) and Elizabeth Marcus (piano) and has already been heard to great acclaim at the English Music Festival. The website for more details is here, and the forthcoming performance dates are below. This ties in very well with our recordings and releases of Dame Ethel's operas, and we do hope that some of you in the UK might manage to catch one of the performances.
  • London: Wednesday 3 October 7.30pm Milton Court Concert Hall, Silk Street Barbican Box Office


  • Dorchester Arts: Friday 15 February Corn Exchange, High East Street, Dorchester, Dorset, DT1 1HF
  • Isle of Wight: Saturday 16 February Quay Arts, 15 Sea Street, Newport Harbour, Isle of Wight PO30 5BD
The enterprising group Arcadian Opera are mounting a full production of The Wreckers on 27th and 28th October, at the Roxburgh Theatre, Stowe, Bucks, UK. Full details are here. The website says that ‘the theatre will be adapted to the requirements of this extraordinary opera’ which is very intriguing! Tickets will be on sale soon. This is great news: there was a very memorable production by Duchy Opera in Truro in 2006, and it will be wonderful to see another; not before time. The conductor is Justin Lavender, who sang Mark in the 1994 recording of the Proms performance.

Do take a look at this interview, about Dame Ethel Smyth, broadcast through Pyrford TV ARTS, the Spring Edition. It’s between Tim Matthews and our own Chris Wiley. In the background, you’ll hear parts of the Overture to The Boatswain’s Mate, from Retrospect's recording. It’s really interesting, very well done, and lasts about eight and a quarter minutes. Thank you Chris, Tim, and Pyrford TV Arts! It’s also available through this Youtube link - our bit starts at about 9:04.

We’ve re-released the 1994 recording of Smyth’s The Wreckers, conducted by Odaline de la Martinez. We've retained the original artwork but re-packaged it, and also added an invaluable Foreword by Dr Christopher Wiley, which brings Smyth’s reception history up to date. Please click on the CD Sales tab, above. We sell worldwide and take a variety of payment methods!

We've teamed up with the distributor Discovery - we’re looking forward to developing the collaboration, which is enabling our CDs to be even more widely available.

We released Christmas Gambols and The Musical Tour of Mr Dibdin, by Charles Dibdin last November. Please click on the CD Sales tab above, for more details. Dibdin was an extremely important figure in the history of English comic opera, and of song, and we’re delighted with the response we’ve had to the CD. We’ve just finished recording another CD of music by Dibdin, called Dibdin’s Shakespeare.

Don’t forget - we sell worldwide!

We’re fundraising for another of Ethel Smyth’s operas, Fête Galante. The left hand panel is the place to click on to find out more!

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