Tune into opera: great music, intimate Stokey venue, fine company, good price. Nuff said?

© Andreas Grieger

* Update 060419: As good as Covent Garden is the verdict on the performance Loving Dalston saw last weekend. The singing was stunning, especially that of the lead Fiona McIntosh in the strenuous role of Mary, and the intimacy of the venue allowed all present to see the facial expressions of these fine singer-actors. Even the plot, often nonsensical in grand opera, about political betrayals, resonated with Brexit-weary audience members



OPERA MAY not be on everybody’s bucket list but if you want to see why its appeal has lasted so long, you have only to go to Stoke Newington for an answer.

OperaUpClose is staging the tuneful Mary, Queen of Scots, an English version of Gaetano Donizetti’s Maria Stuarda, at the Old Church. Said to be the only Elizabethan-era church left in London, the ancient St Mary’s (a Victorian namesake is opposite) stands in Church Street, near the southern entrance of Clissold Park.

As if squeezing grand opera into such a tiny venue is not enough of a challenge, the Olivier Award-winning company, whose performances Loving Dalston has been savouring for several years, will take the show to unusual venues in Gloucester, Exeter and Glastonbury Abbey, as well as Clerkenwell.

© Christopher Tribble
In with a prayer: trying to make a big opera work in a little church

For the Clerkenwell performances, in a grand hall called the Charterhouse, tickets cost more, and even more, £100, for the gala night. That includes tours of the 650-year-old building and wine and canapés.  

David Altheer 030419

Mary, Queen of Scots is on in London at these two venues:

* the Old Church, Stoke Newington Church Street N16 9ES until Saturday 13 April, 2019, 7.30pm-9.45pm, tickets £10-£35 (concessions available) 

* the Charterhouse, Charterhouse Square, Clerkenwell EC1M 6AN, Wednesday 24 April-Monday 29 April 2019, 7.30pm, tickets £35-£65, concessions available. Gala night £100. Booking for both venues

Oldchurch©DA16: St Mary's Stoke Newington Lon N16 100216 © DavidAltheer[at]gmail.com
St Mary’s in Hackney N16, aka the Old Church, is more than 500 years old
* Pix: main Andreas Grieger, interior Christopher Tribble, church exterior David Altheer

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