RNCM Opera Double Bill: Programme

Ariadne auf Naxos (Prologue) by Richard Strauss


Set backstage in a music conservatoire theatre in 1973, a donor who has subsidised the building of the theatre has commissioned a new opera Ariadne auf Naxos. The opera is to be written and performed by the students of the conservatoire. The Head of Fundraising (Haushofmeister) informs the Head of Opera (Musiklehrer) that, immediately after the opera performance, the musical theatre students will be performing their show, followed by a outdoor fireworks display. The Head of Opera is outraged by this inappropriate programming and replies that the composer of the opera, a star pupil, will never tolerate it. However, the Head of Fundraising is dismissive of his objections.

The composer appears, already anxious for a last-minute rehearsal, and is told by the stage door keeper (Lakai) that the violinists are playing at a reception. The tenor singing Bacchus storms out of his dressing room, arguing with the hair and makeup specialist (Perückenmacher). The soprano singing Ariadne (Prima Donna) comments negatively on the presence of the musical theatre students and, in particular, the female lead, Zerbinetta. In the midst of the confusion, the Head of Fundraising returns with an announcement that the donor has changed his mind, and the opera and the musical theatre show are to be performed simultaneously. General dismay among everyone quickly gives way to a practical response. The choreographer of the musical theatre show (Tanzmeister) suggests making cuts to the opera. The Head of Opera persuades the despondent composer to do so, whilst the two lead singers independently urge him to reduce the size of each other’s roles.

Zerbinetta shares a brief synopsis of the opera with her fellow cast members. She explains that Ariadne has been abandoned by her lover on the island of Naxos, where she awaits death.  Zerbinetta, thinking she knows best, declares that all Ariadne really needs is a new lover. The composer disagrees, at which point Zerbinetta flirts with him causing the young man to find new hope. Brimming with passion for his work, he affirms music as the greatest of all the arts. However, when he catches sight of the musical theatre students getting ready to go on stage, the reality of what he has agreed to dawns on him. He blames his teacher for the inferior musical product and is left despondent at the thought of his impending premiere.


Red Cast (Sunday 12 Dec, Wednesday 15 Dec)

Ein Musiklehrer William Kyle
Der Haushofmeister Liam Karai
Ein Lakai Conrad Chatterton
Ein Offizier Henry Strutt
Der Komponist Sarah Winn
Der Tenor David Woods
Ein Tanzmeister Gabriel Seawright
Ein Perückenmacher Tom Ashdown
Zerbinetta Zoë Vallée
Primadonna Anastasia Bevan

Blue Cast (Monday 13 Dec, Thursday 16 Dec)

Ein Musiklehrer  William Kyle*
Der Haushofmeister Conrad Chatterton
Ein Lakai Liam Karai
Ein Offizier David Woods
Der Komponist Melissa Gregory
Der Tenor Henry Strutt
Ein Tanzmeister Zihua Zhang
Ein Perückenmacher James Holt
Zerbinetta Sarah Prestwidge
Primadonna Olivia Tringham

* The role of Ein Musiklehrer (Blue Cast) was originally billed as Emyr Lloyd Jones, who unfortunately, is no longer able to perform due to unforeseen circumstances. He will be replaced by William Kyle (Red Cast) for the remainder of the performances.

All Performances

Harlekin Patrick Osbourne
Scaramuccio Myles Docherty
Truffaldin Stian Jebsen
Brighella Aidan McCusker
Najade Emily Higgins
Dryade Llinos Jones
Echo Robyn Pullen

The Medium by Gian Carlo Menotti


Monica, the daughter of Baba, and Toby, an orphan, are playing in Baba’s parlour.  When Baba arrives home, she is furious when she realises that Monica and Toby have not made any preparations for the planned séance.  When the three paying clients arrive, Baba introduces herself under the fraudulent pseudonym of Madame Flora.  Mr and Mrs Gobineau are regular clients, but it is Mrs Nolan first visit.  All three share one thing in common – the loss of a child.  They wish to communicate with the spirit world and bring themselves some comfort.  The three clients believe they hear voices during the séance and, as the ritual continues, Madame Flora feels someone touch her.  Confused, she asks the clients to leave and blames Toby for the unexplained encounter and turns to drink to calm her nerves.

The next day, Monica and Toby are alone again, and the atmosphere is poignant.  When Baba enters the room, she continues to accuse Toby of touching her during the séance. The three clients arrive at the house urging Madame Flora to arrange another séance for them. She orders them to leave and confesses that Madame Flora and her séances are fraudulent.  Again, Baba turns to drink and becomes hysterical before passing out.  When Baba is disturbed and wakes up, her actions lead to dire consequences.


Red Cast (Sunday 12 Dec, Wednesday 15 Dec)

Monica Georgie Malcolm
Toby Alex Riddell
Madame Flora Morgana Warren-Jones
Mrs Gobineau Sally Pitts
Mr Gobineau Sam Snowden
Mrs Nolan Lila Chrisp

Blue Cast (Monday 13 Dec, Thursday 16 Dec)

Monica Pasquale Orchard
Toby Rajnard Hraščanec
Madame Flora Sasja Haeck
Mrs Gobineau Madison Horman
Mr Gobineau Callum McCandless
Mrs Nolan Camilla Seale

10 Spirits (all performances)

Jasmine Higgs
Natasha Theil
Gigi Casey
Jade Carty
Edwina Lau
Joseph Ashmore
Theodore Murphy-Jelley
Jermyn Leong
Jonathan Hill
Adam Jarman

Creative Team

Peter Robinson Conductor
Stuart Barker Director
Raphaé Memon Set Designer
Elaine Needham Costume Designer
Paul Botham Lighting Designer
Joseph Sieber Assistant Conductor (Ariadne auf Naxos)
Afonso Teles Assistant Conductor (The Medium)
Thomas Schulze Language Coach
Bethan Rhys Wiliam Movement Coach
Jacob Swindells Production Repetiteur

Technical Team

Nick Ware Head of Digital, Technical and Production
Paul Botham Production Manager/Technical Manager
Greg Skipworth Company Manager
Tracey Collinson Stage Manager 
Sarah Kent Deputy Stage Manager 
Louise Morgan Assistant Stage Manager
Elaine Needham Wardrobe Manager 
Rebecca Parkes Deputy Wardrobe Manager
Julie Parker Deputy Technical Manager (Lighting)
Steve Bryan Deputy Technical Manager (Lighting) 
Steve Barrington Deputy Technical Manager (Stage)
Joshua Lane Michaela Wagner Surtitle Operators 



Ariadne auf Naxos

Dylan Edge
Georgina Finlayson
Julia Sandros-Alper
Sarah Razlin
Christopher Karwacinski
Coraleigh Kelly-Edwards

Ellie Waddington / Kevin Saw
Paula Bowes
Rhiannon Collins
Chaofan Chen

James Conway
Esther Skipp
Christoforos Tsiantos
Ellen Quinn

Tom Betts
Aron Jonasson

The Medium

First Violin
Dylan Edge

Second Violin
Julia Sandros-Alper

Ellie Waddington / Kevin Saw

James Conway

Aron Jonasson

Wind Brass Percussion

Flutes (Picc)
Daniel Jacob-Ormson
Xiaowen Liu

Emma Chan
Hannah Seymour

Thomas Knollys
Chris Hardy

Theo Puddu
Will Hartley

Emily Douglas
Tom Hutchison

Ben Jarvis

Asa Riley*

*Ariadne auf Naxos

Harriet Rhind

Amy Gray
Oscar Williams
Dan Malone

Angharad Huw


James Gillett (Perf 1&3 – Red Cast)*
Jacob Swindells (Perf 2&4 – Blue Cast)*

Celeste/Piano 2
John Smith

Harmonium/Piano 1
Ethan Gillespie

*Ariadne auf Naxos

Orchestral Team

Andrew Bayly Head of Ensembles
Amy Gordon Orchestras and Ensembles Manager (SS)
Charlotte Ferry Orchestras and Ensembles Manager (SWBP)
Clara Marshall Cawley  Orchestras and Ensembles Assistant Manager
Abigail Flood Ensemble Administrator
Tom Goddard Ensembles Librarian
Jack Grime Chamber Music and Conducting Administrator