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  • Writer's pictureJacob

Zualski students perform in Dido and Aeneas at Newcastle Castle

Updated: Aug 21, 2023

Harlekin Studio Opera was founded in 2018 thanks to the support of a small group of my students who worked extremely hard to bring to life an community opera studio for the North East.

The company went through some hard times (2020 - I'm looking at you!), but survived them all and September 2022 saw the first full scale production of an extant work.

This was not only the first opera production for HSO but the first ever opera production brought to Newcastle Castle in recorded history. Considering the Castle is nearing 1000 years old, it was an honour to bring Purcell's Dido and Aeneas into it's ancient and palpable embrace.

Extraordinary performances were given by all involved including a number of my students who were debuting their first ever opera roles. It was a delight to see everyone come together for a gripping evening of drama, featuring a replica broad sword loaned to us by Newcastle Castle. The singers completed 4 performances in only 2 days, and even surprised the audience members by filling the hall with a blizzard of snowy white petals as Dido ascended the steps to the roof, echoing her famous last line 'remember me, but forget my fate'.

Congratulations all round, but especially to Freddie Scott, Jolanda Grijpstra, Ann Dawson, Gill Quille, Jamie Whitfield, Kathy Legg, Susan Baker and Tracy Bell who are all regular attendees of the Zualski School.

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