Why we support Fulham Opera
I was made aware of FO when I met Zoe South - I think in 2013. Thought I'd give them a try as they had just started on their epic Ring Cycles. I'd missed Rheingold but made up the difference by seeing both cycles. I was hooked and haven't missed a production since. And have attended most of all the 'run throughs' at the weekend workshops. Was granted a life wish when I sang in the chorus of 'Peter Grimes' and was a somewhat off key Nun in Les Carmelites!
FO under Ben Woodward is an amazingly versatile bunch of singers and I'm privileged to support them in any way I can. The Company changed my life and I love them for that and for the friendships I have forged.
Guy Burkill QC
I first came across Fulham Opera in April 2014 – I’m a keen amateur violinist and heard that they were running an orchestral weekend rehearsing and performing Richard Strauss’s “Salome”.
This followed a regular pattern of rehearsals from a standing start on Saturday afternoon, then all day Sunday, and a runthrough on the Sunday evening. I can still vividly remember that performance, as the lead soprano was standing about ten feet behind me and unleashed a torrent of fabulous soaring Straussian sound – a full-on immersive experience that one could never encounter outside an orchestra pit.
Salome was an extremely ambitious project for an amateur orchestra, but bigger was to come … later that year, Fulham naturally moved on to Strauss’s other one-act shocker, Elektra. Successive seasons brought even larger Strauss repertoire – Arabella, Rosenkavalier, and even Die Frau ohne Schatten. Wagner has also featured heavily in orchestral weekends with acts from Siegfried, Goetterdaemmerung and Meistersinger, and a complete Dutchman. I can’t overemphasise the pleasure of learning these dense works from the inside – once you’ve performed them, you never listen to them in the same way again. And Ben has always coaxed out the best in his players; always cheerful, always encouraging. We don’t have to, but we keep coming back because it’s fun and we’re hooked.
I stumbled across Fulham Opera about 8 years ago, after I attended a performance of Hansel und Gretel at the Kings Head in Islington. Reading Ian Pope's biog in the programme, I saw amongst his recent credits "Wotan in Das Rhinegold for Fulham Opera"
Intrigued, I googled this and was amazed that a small and unfunded company with that much ambition existed.
So I put myself on their mailing list and went along to see their Walkure when it was staged.
I fell in love with the company immediately.
Not only was this music making of the very highest quality, it soon dawned on me that Waltraute was the woman who had sold me my ticket, Helmwige had served me at the bar and Brunnhilde herself had ushered me into my seat.
There were no airs and graces here. It was all about the glorious noise. And it most certainly was. And is. Glorious.
I have become friends with more than a few members of the company over the last few years and I make every attempt to attend everything that Ben - or Michael or Nick - puts together.
As a particular enthusiast of both Wagner and Strauss as well as Janacek and Shostakovich and the other composers of great vision that Ben seems to enjoy playing, Fulham Opera speaks to me on a personal level.
I'm not a wealthy man by any stretch of the imagination, but I was delighted to be able to help in my own small way with a contribution to this production of Die Meistersinger, which is my favourite work of art ever. I did say to Ben a couple of years ago when the subject of a staging first came up, that I would buy a ticket to every performance if he did it. I am going to the first and fourth - and I will try to skive out of work early enough to attend the second and third, though it may not be possible - but my contribution may go some way towards me only half fulfilling the promise.
I chose to sponsor Ortel as Ian was my way in to F.O.
I am truly excited about this upcoming production and cannot wait to hear that glorious music being performed by some of the most wonderful musicians it has been my good fortune to come across.
Over the years I have come to understand and respect the vision of Ben Woodward and his leadership in Fulham Opera. He is a man who did not see obstacles when he devised the opera company. He just moved ahead with his passion for large scale works. I have watched Fulham Opera grow and exceed all of our expectations for the art form. The level of talent and legacy that the company is leaving behind is worthy of my support. I am sincerely dedicated to helping this opera company continue to thrill us with productions that stand out as landmark performances. I am proud to sponsor Henry Kerswell in the role of Foltz in this production of Die Meistersinger.