St Albans Chamber Opera’s Yeomen of the Guard at Abbey Theatre
THE nearest Sir Arthur Sullivan came to writing a serious opera, The Yeomen of the Guard, is being performed by St Albans Chamber Opera next week.
The Gilbert and Sullivan opera is being staged at the Abbey Theatre in Westminster Lodge from next Tuesday, March 8, until Saturday, March 12.
It contains some of Sullivan’s most beautiful music and what many believe to be Gilbert’s best libretto, combining merriment in the first act with tears in the second act.
Conductor David Ireson first heard The Yeomen of the Guard getting on for 60 years ago when he was a chorister at Newcastle Cathedral and has never forgotten some of the tunes.
It is set in the late 16th century on Tower Green at the Tower of London where it is market day and the crowd is looking forward to the execution of the falsely-accused Colonel Fairfax, played by Richard Cowling.
Sergeant Meryll (Des Turner), his daughter Phoebe (Melanie Lodge), who is in love with Fairfax, and son Leonard (Warren Albers) devise a plan to free Fairfax.
But Wilfred Shadbolt (John Savournin), chief jailer and torturer, who is himself in love with Phoebe, stands in the way.
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A wandering stand-up comic Jack Point (Damon Pattison) and his assistant Elsie Maynard (Lina Saavedra) create a distraction before the execution before the story is resolved.
Tickets for the production are available from the Abbey Theatre box office on 01727 857861.