Benjamin Britten’s opera, ‘Noye’s Fludde’, the Chester miracle play set to music, was presented by Chipping Campden School last Monday & Tuesday in Campden church, which was full on both evenings. It was a triumphant thing, the summit so far in the musical progress of a school which is a very musical place indeed.
It was an ambitious work for a single school to undertake at all. When schools attempt it, they usually combine their resources. It is the measure of the Campden confidence and the buoyant faith of Roy Whittingham in the school’s competence, that this turned out to be an exceptional occasion, perhaps an historic one.Stuart McTavish was the producer.
William Thomas sang Noye and his wife, Margaret sang Mrs. Noye. They were supported by no fewer than three most excellent boy sopranos, Paul Graham as Sem, Adam Broome as Ham, and Graham as Jaffett. Where else could such a combination be found?
And the prophet’s sons’ wives, too – Sarah Drinkwater as Mrs Sem, Catherine Smith as Mrs Ham, and Alison Jones as MRs. Jaffett, were three more very presentable operatic soloists, beautifully trained in voice and diction.
The reviewer will run out of superlatives as well as space so suffice to say that the whole performance was powerfully moving, wonderfully polished musical drama, which the Campden audiences were lucky to experience.People in other Four Shires towns where there are churches big enough to contain 200 or so singers, an ark, a rainbow, the sun, the moon and the stars should have an opportunity to see it.
For the record, the rest of the credits: the Raven was Margaret Kotowicz, the Dove, Shena Huntley, Mrs. Noye’s Gossips, Jill Rochfort, Jacqueline Gill, Gail Femwick, Francesca Mallard, Sarah Grove, & Karen Franklin. Propert Men: Anthony Hartwell, Stephen Morrey, Charles Marckwick and Graham Collicut.
Orchestra led by Veronica Bennet. Piano, Peter Forshaw, Organ, Phyllis Horne. Solo trumpeter and bugler, Gordon Bennett. Solo flute & recorder, Richard Bennett and Angela McCann. Solo celo, William Howells.
Set by Martin Fisher and Bernard Sproule, built by Robert Hope, Mark Watson, Trevor Young, Keith Bent, Colin Hood, & Stephen Morrey. Costumes by Eva Scudamore. Dances arranged by Elizabeth Harbour.