Lifestyle & Entertainment

Opera Composed by Philip Hagemann

Hagemann Rosenthal Associates is proud to announce their first full opera composed by Philip Hagemann in association with Pegasus Opera Company. The Aspern Papers will be staged at Susie Sainsbury Theatre, Royal Academy of Music, Marylebone Road London, NW1 5HT on Friday 22 April at 7:30pm, Saturday 23 April, 7:30pm & Sunday 24 April, 2:30pm. PRESS NIGHT Friday 22 April, 7.30pm.

The Aspern Papers is a novella by American writer Henry James, originally published in 1888. It is one of James’ best-known and most acclaimed longer tales. Set in 19th-century Venice, The Aspern Papers tells the tale of ambitious editor Henry Jonson who is trying to obtain poet Jeffrey Aspern’sromantic letters to Juliana Bordereau – his beautiful muse and lover. Philip Hagemann adapted The Aspern Papers into a thrilling opera and has retained Henry James’s suspensethroughout the story and stayed true to the rich development of his characters.

‘Hagemann has a gift for melody’ The Stage

Composer Philip Hagemann’s most recent production in association with Pegasus Opera Company was the successful double bill Passion, Poison and Petrification and The Prodigal Son in 2021 and Shaw Goes Wilde in 2019 both at the Susie Sainsbury Theatre, Royal Academy of Music. He also composed Ruth and The Dark Lady of The Sonnets at the Actors Church, Covent Garden in 2018Hagemann has published 75 choral compositions including a delightful Christmas novelty, Fruitcake, written with Penny Leka Knapp, which has sold over 200,000 copies and featured in the USA television series Nip/Tuck. Hagemann has composed ten one-act and two full-length operas, two of which have won competitions from the National Opera Association in the USA. Hagemann is only the second composer to transform Shaw plays into operas. Hagemann Rosenthal Associates have produced a number of plays on Broadway and in the West End, including the Broadway production of Network starring Bryan Cranston.

The Aspern Papers stars Jacob Bettinelli, a bass baritone originally from Hong Kong. He won third place in the Piemonte Opera Voci dal Mondo International Singing Competition in Italy; Lauren Easton, an Australian/Mauritian mezzo soprano who started her career 10 years ago at Glyndebourne Festival plus Melody Compton, Oscar Castellino, Monwabisi Lindi and Julia Daramy-Williams. Legendary Tenor Ronald Samm also stars. His wide range of repertoire and appearances also include Tamino/Die Zauberflöte; Don Jose/Carmen for Pegasus Opera; Drum-Major/Wozzeck for Birmingham Opera Company; the title role in Britten’s The Prodigal Son; Jake/Porgy and Bess in Lisbon, Florestan in the multi- award winning production of Fidelio, again for Birmingham Opera Company, directed by Graham Vick, Sigemund/Die Walküreat St John’s, Smith Square in London, Orpheus/Orpheus at Everyman Theatre, Cork, and Between Worlds at the Barbican Hall in London for English National Opera.

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Artistic Director of Pegasus Opera Company and renowned soprano soloist Alison Buchanan plays Tina. She is the winner of many prestigious awards including the Kathleen Ferrier (Decca Prize), the Luciano Pavarotti, the Washington International and the Maggie Teyte competitions. Alison has performed with New York City Opera in Porgy & Bess and Don Giovanni.

She has performed in venues throughout the world including Carnegie Hall, The Sydney Opera House, The Royal Opera House, Sadler’s Wells for Pegasus Opera and for the London Symphony Orchestra. She has also performed with The Baltimore and Boston Symphonies as well as the Philadelphia Orchestra and in Brazil with the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra and has given concerts in St. Louis, Washington DC, Gibraltar, Zimbabwe and Kazan. She has worked with conductors such as David Robertson, Sir Colin Davis, Sir Simon Rattle, Andre Previn, Jane Glover and Marin Alsop. Most recently she performed for Opera Bergen in Norway and for the Symphony in Wroclaw Poland.

‘Pegasus has led the way in creating opportunities’ The Independent

Pegasus Opera Company is a professional opera company based in Brixton, London with a family of widespread international artists, participants and supporters. They produce high-quality performances and balance this with a focus on artist development of emerging artists of African and Asian heritage bringing their work onto eminent platforms. For almost thirty years, Pegasus Opera Company has been the go-to organisation for opera and musical theatre singers, composers, instrumentalists and directors predominantly, but not exclusively, from diverse African, Caribbean, and Asian backgrounds. Established in South London the Company has held true to their founder Lloyd Newton’s credo of ‘harmony in diversity’. Pegasus Opera has inspired many to love opera; and celebrate the music of rich African, Asian and Caribbean diasporas whilst weaving into the fabric of the British performing arts, using creativity to challenge and advocate for positive change. Patrons of Pegasus Opera are Sharon D Clarke MBEDame Kiri Te Kanawa DBE, Baroness Doreen Lawrence OBE, Kristin Lewis, Chuka Umunna MP and Roderick Williams OBE. The company also creates opportunities for underrepresented artists and breaks down the perception that opera is elitist.

Past productions include Carmen, Magic Flute, I Pagliacci on National Tours, Porgy and Bess at the Barbican Concert Hall, Delius’ Koanga at London’s Sadler’s Wells and Treemonisha at Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre and UK tour. In 2018 Pegasus Opera collaborated with Hagemann Rosenthal Associates to present their first double bill, Ruth and The Dark Lady of the Sonnets and in 2019 their second double bill Shaw Goes Wilde based on Oscar Wilde’s The Nightingale and The Rose and George Bernard Shaw’s The Music Cure. Most recently the company staged MAMI WATA to a sold out audience at the Royal Opera House.

Pegasus Opera delivers pioneering educational programmesthrough special workshops, outreach programmes and teachesthousands of children and young adults across London and the regions. The company has also launched an opera mentoring programme for the next generation of opera singers. Pegasus has commissioned Des Oliver with librettist Patricia Cumber to write Windrush the Opera which will tour England in 2023 marking the 75th anniversary of the Windrush generation.

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LISTINGS INFORMATION: The Aspern Papers will be staged at Susie Sainsbury Theatre, Royal Academy of Music, Marylebone Road, London NW1 5HT on Friday 22 April at 7:30pm, Saturday 23 April, 7:30pm & Sunday 12 April 2022, 2.30pm Tickets are £35, £25, Concessions £15.

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