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“Irresistible visceral power” Andrea Chénier opens to rave reviews

Andrea Chénier, directed by Annabel Arden with set and costumes designed by Joanna Parker, has opened to glowing reviews, being described as “a thrilling evening that richly deserved its enthusiastic reception” by The Telegraph. Giving the production 5 stars, they note that “Andrea Chénier exerts irresistible visceral power” and that “Arden focuses on the violence and paranoia of Robespierre’s Paris, drawing from the chorus and soloists strongly etched portraits of both its victims and persecutors.” In another equally positive review, The Guardian admires Joanna Parker’s “dazzling costumes” nothing that they “suggest Jean-Paul Marat by way of Jean Paul Gaultier”. Andrea Chénier plays at the Leeds Grand Theatre until February 24th, when it will tour the North of England, visiting Newcastle, Nottingham and Manchester.

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The Song in a Dramatic Situation: A Workshop with Annabel Arden

The Song in a Dramatic Situation Workshop with Annabel Arden London. Monday 28th September – Friday 2nd October 2015 The workshops will run each day 10.00-15.00 Course Fee: £250.00 This workshop is for performers in all forms of theatre and opera, aimed at anyone who is interested in how to use music as  an integral part of the theatrical experience.  More specifically the workshop will focus on how to integrate  a song seamlessly in a dramatic situation. Rhythm, melody, speech into song will all be things we play with.  You do not need to be a “good” singer, only to love music and song. In this workshop we will prepare physically and vocally, and then look at different kinds and forms of songs and how they arise in theatrical contexts. Some spoken texts, specifically Shakespeare and Chekhov will also be part of the work. Participants should be prepared to come with an unaccompanied song they are able to sing solo as well as a simple, short song to teach to the group, preferably a folk song or similar. These songs can be in any language, and ideally they should have a strong form in themselves, without their instrumental backing. The course is by application only, to apply please send a copy of your CV and a Cover Letter to: For a short biography of Annabel Arden, please see the following link;

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Supported Voice, Supported Body, Supported text: A Workshop with Annabel Arden and Mary King

Supported Voice, Supported Body, Supported text. Workshop with Mary King and Annabel Arden Dates: October 5th and 6th Times: 9am -6pm Place: The Thanet Community Centre, Herbert Street London NW5  4HD Cost:  £100 for one day; £180 if you attend both days Maximum participants: We are hoping to limit this to a maximum of 15 students so that there is an optimum amount of time for both individual and group learning For professional classical singers and aspiring professional singers. (Either at or about to embark on full time professional training, or recently graduated from University degree, and looking to attend Conservatoire) Communicating voice and text, with totally connected physical support The best singers communicate effortlessly at a sustained and expansive level. They are always “on the body” – and not singing “from the neck up” – but what does this mean? and can anyone achieve it? Annabel Arden and Mary King bring their combined expertise to explore the essential question “what is support?” , and help students grow to an understanding of how to unleash the power of their whole instrument, and  increase the freedom and expressive power of the voice through the same qualities in the body. Detailed text work will enable students to discover new techniques to increase range and precision of tone, colour and meaning. The form of this workshop will be to integrate physical work as a group with individual attention paid to the specific need of each singer. This individual work is undertaken within the group’s presence, as learning can then be shared. Annabel Arden is a co-founder of Theatre de Complicite and an internationally acclaimed director of Opera.  Working with young singers to achieve an optimum of theatrical expression with vocal excellence is of particular interest to her.  Please also see the following link; Mary King worked for many years as a soloist across the opera houses and concert halls of the world. For 17 years she was associated with English National Opera, where she was Artistic Associate, and devised and ran the performance skills course The Knack, which ran for 12 years. She moved on to the Southbank Centre for 6 years as an artist in residence, setting up the big vocal initiative Voicelab. She has worked as a resident vocal coach and expert on numerous radio and TV programmes, including Operatunity; Musicality; Popstar to Operastar; BBC Cardiff Singer of the World. She has written a series of coaching books for Boosey and Hawkes (Singing in…

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Glowing reviews for Blakeley and Pussaint’s Riccardo Primo

Riccardo Primo, or Richard the Lionheart, has opened to glowing reviews at the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis. Directed (and translated) by Lee Blakeley and with set and costumes designed by Jean-Marc Puissant, it has been described as ‘in all aspects, the most perfect production of an opera that I’ve ever seen’ by Broadway World. They noted ‘Stage director Lee Blakeley (who also partnered in the new libretto) fills the production with grace. Every instrumental passage is filled with meaningful action by the performers. Lovely graceful turns are used to fill a wine glass or to take it away.’ and praised Puissant for the costumes authenticity ‘They are as King George himself would have seen them. (Richard, bewigged in disguise, resembles nothing so much as an ancient Voltaire.)’. In an equally enthusiastic review The Belleville News-Democratthe costumes particularly are praised ‘Jean-Marc Puissant designed both the sparse but effective set and expertly detailed costumes, with gorgeous, ovation-worthy royal attire in the finale’. While The Chicago Tribune celebrated the production as a ‘triumph for all concerned’.

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