Shoppers in Falmouth this weekend may wonder if they’ve gone back in time when they bump into a group of people in period dress.
In fact they will be members of the cast of Duchy Opera’s summer double bill, who will be in the streets of the town this Sunday to promote their latest productions – Cavalleria Rusticana by Mascagni, and Trial by Jury by Gilbert & Sullivan, which run back to back.
Later on Sunday the company will also be performing taster choruses from the two short operas at the bandstand in Gyllyngdune Gardens, from around 12.30pm.
It is ahead of the productions opening at Falmouth’s Princess Pavilion on Thursday, June 8.
Duchy Opera chorus master Clive Ellison said: “Singing at the bandstand is a great opportunity to let the public hear a taster of the fine choruses.
“Many are very well-known as they are used on television and in film. In fact Cavalleria Rusticana and Trial by Jury are two of the most popular and frequently performed operas.”
The two short operas have been directed by Angela Agutter Thomas, hot from her success with the Sound of Music in Penzance in April. The production was sold out, but few in the audience realised that she was simultaneously producing two operas for Falmouth.
Angela, who will also be known to many as being the former landlady of the Halzephron Inn at Gunwall for many years, said: “Working on two big shows at the same time was challenging, but I like a high-pressured environment.
“I knew effectively directing three productions, and constantly switching between them, would be demanding. But it has been a question of focusing on one thing at a time.
“All three works are very well known, which also makes it difficult as the audience comes with expectations.”
Cavalleria, set in Sicily, is a passionate love story ending in jealousy, high drama and bloodshed. Usually sung in Italian, it is a rare opportunity to hear its haunting melodies sung in English.
Trial by Jury, by contrast, is a humorous take on the same subject of broken promises, while, in typical Gilbert and Sullivan style, taking witty pot-shots at the legal profession and lampooning the establishment.
The double bill will be staged on Thursday, June 8 and Friday, June 9 at the Princess Pavilion, Falmouth. The adult ticket price is £20 and under 16s are free. For more information see www.duchyopera.co.uk