What's New?

The Boatswain’s Mate and Fête Galante were staged by Opera 5, in Toronto, in late June: the reviews have been excellent. We were very proud of our part in enabling the production to go ahead.

We’ve just finished recording our latest project, Charles Dibdin’s Christmas Gambols of 1795. We’ve always said we wanted to do something from the 1700s, and this project can be said to put a cautious foot into eighteenth-century waters! Dibdin was an extremely important figure in the history of English comic opera, and song, but most of his operas do not survive in a form that allows them to be performed with any claims to authenticity. So we’re doing Christmas Gambols, one of Dibdin’s many one-man musical shows, in which he spoke and sang the different roles himself, with piano accompaniment. Simon Butteriss, the star of our Pickwick recording, assumes the role of Dibdin for us, with Stephen Higgins on fortepiano, and the result will be wonderful, festive fun. We’ll be monitoring responses closely and, if they are positive, look into recording larger-scale eighteenth-century works in the future!

Our recording of The Boatswain’s Mate was made top selection in BBC Radio 3’s weekly series ‘Building a Library’. It was described as “a must for any self-respecting Smyth collection or collection of British music” and “it’s really The Boatswain’s Mate, bursting with cheekiness and fun, that stands out here. It’s a young cast, but giving us committed, accomplished performances, and the only chance we have to hear this little gem of an opera.” You can hear the podcast here. It’s generated a great deal of interest, and endorses what we’re trying to do - to make music available that would not otherwise be so. 

Don’t forget - we sell worldwide! 

Our CD of Pickwick and the curtain-raiser by George Grossmith, Cups and Saucers, is available for sale through the CD Sales link, above, and also through Amazon UK. You can see pictures taken at the recording, in Room 4 of the Photo Gallery (click on Photo Gallery tab above), and you can hear clips from the recording in the Listening Rooms (click on the Listening Room tab above). 

And click on Stagetalk, the online theatre magazine, for a piece about Retrospect Opera, The Boatswain’s Mate, and, briefly, about Pickwick.  

The other exciting news is that Richard Bonynge has agreed to conduct our recording of Edward Loder’s masterpiece Raymond and Agnes. The orchestra will be the Royal Ballet Sinfonia, and we will record next October, at St Jude’s, Hampstead, London. We’re very sad that it has not been possible, for logistical reasons, to ask the Bath Philharmonia to record this. They were superb in the concert in 2015, where extracts from the opera were performed, and we are immeasurably grateful to them for all their support and enthusiasm.

Richard Bonynge is extremely impressed with the opera, and very keen to conduct it. 

We have a strong team involved, but we do need to raise a good deal of financial support of course - and it'll be worth every penny. Please click on the Listening Rooms link above to hear extracts from the 2015 concert. The 2-CD set will include all the dialogue, and the booklet will include the libretto.

Please click on the link in the left hand panel for more details.

In October, Opera magazine made The Boatswain's Mate their Disc of the Month! Please click here to go to the Sales page, where you can find more information. We also had a good write-up in BBC Music Magazine (December) and a glowing one in Musical Opinion, and many other really positive reviews.

There's a very interesting in-depth interview with Odaline de la Martinez, (interviewed by Robert Hugill, of the review site Planet Hugill) here. She speaks of her work to promote American composers in the UK, and also of her championing of Ethel Smyth, with a brief note about The Wreckers, and the difficulty of sourcing the score for it.

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!

Bookmark this page, and watch this space,
for the latest Retrospect News.

Musicians of Bath and Beyond: Edward Loder and his Family
The book about the Loder family of musicians, Musicians of Bath and Beyond: Edward Loder and his Family, edited by Professor Nicholas Temperley and published by Boydell and Brewer, to which David Chandler and Valerie Langfield have contributed chapters, was published in February 2016. Do order it from your local library. It had an excellent review in Opera magazine (August 2016).

Loder Celebration 2015

The Loder Celebration 2015, from the 15th -18th October 2015, acknowledged the importance of an extraordinary family of musicians who lived in the city of Bath between 1770 and 1840.

There was a range of events - an exhibition, a Study Day, two lunchtime concerts and an evening concert - and as far as Retrospect Opera was concerned, it was the evening concert that was the most significant. It took place at the beautiful Assembly Rooms, and the second half of the concert was devoted to extracts from Loder’s Raymond and Agnes.  Donna Lennard sang the role of Agnes, John Colyn Gyaentey sang Raymond, and Joe Corbett sang the Baron - John and Joe replaced the scheduled soloists, at very short notice. The Bath Philharmonia played superbly, and many of the players said how much they enjoyed the music, and how Verdian it was. Jason Thornton conducted with aplomb, and the extracts were linked with a narrative given by two members of the Natural Theatre Company.

It was a treat to hear the music live, and the audience enjoyed it greatly. Some had heard the performance of the opera in Cambridge back in 1966 but of course for most, it was quite new.

There are some pictures of the rehearsals for the concert, in Room 3 of the Photo Gallery, and also a few short extracts from the concert itself, in the Listening Gallery.