Enchantment and romance as Yorke Trust announces its Norfolk Coastal Opera programme

Opera returns to north Norfolk again this summer when some of the finest young voices and musicians from the British Isles and beyond arrive for the Yorke Trust's annual course.

Anyone who saw the thrilling 2011 performance of Monteverdi's L'Orfeo at South Creake parish church will know the quality of the performances to expect. And this year's Norfolk Coastal Opera programme from the trust, just announced, will help to fund another lavish production in 2013.

The theme is Scenes of Enchantment, Comedy and Romance, and events feature a free concert at Wells and three fully-staged gala performances at the trust's South Creake base:

Meanderings and Magic, on Sunday, July 15 at St Nicholas's Church, Wells (3pm), is a preview showcase featuring operatic excerpts and English song.

Flutes, Fairies and Frocks, on Friday, July 27 at The Old Chapel, South Creake (7.30pm) features vocal snapshots of well-known operas and includes music by Handel, Humperdinck, Massenet, Mozart, Ravel, Rossini and Sondheim.

Spirits of Woods and Waters, on Saturday, July 28 at The Old Chapel (7.30pm) includes operatic works by Dvorak, Purcell, Verdi, Wagner and Weber.

Gala Performance Encore, on Sunday, July 29 at The Old Chapel (2.30pm) is a mix of highlights from the other two gala performances.

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The programme has been devised by Jennifer Hamilton, and again the trust is being supported by local people, who are throwing open their homes to the students taking part.

During their stay, singers on the course, who gather from various universities and conservatoires, receive free training from some of the world's major coaches, who give their time free.

The coastal opera events alternate with the Yorke Trust's larger, and highly acclaimed, Norfolk summer productions - which can cost between �20,000 and �30,000 to put on.

Trust chairman Rodney Slatford, of South Creake, said: 'We just don't have enough to money to mount things on that scale every year. But the Norfolk Coastal Opera series has the benefit that it widens our audience. About 60 per cent of the people we had two years ago, we didn't know before. It increased our mailing list and knowledge of what we do.'

This year's productions will raise money for the Yorke Trust's 2013 production of Benjamin Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream, part of a wider initiative to mark the centenary of the birth of Lowestoft's famous composer son.

Mr Slatford said: 'The Britten production is going to be very exciting – very ambitious.'

The trust planned to work together with the Norwich-based Circus Chermond to cast the character of Puck and fairies to add to the spectacle, he added.

Tickets for the Norfolk Coastal Opera gala performances are �17, or �30 for any two and �45 for all three. They are available online at www.yorketrust.org. You can also reserve tickets for the free Wells concert. For more trust information visit the website or call 01328 823501.

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