After a century in obscurity,  the heroine of Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s long-lost opera, Thelma,  has finally found her voice.

The world premiere of this magical tale of passion and intrigue is presented by Surrey Opera as part of a year-long festival marking the centenary of the composer’s death. 

Joanna Weeks plays the lovely Thelma, with Alberto Sousa as the heroic Eric, Hakan Vramsmo as bad boy Carl and Rhonda Browne as a devout Gudrun. Oliver Hunt is a disarmingly devilish Djaevelen and Tim Baldwin a suitably regal King Olaf.  

“The opera is rich in melody and invention and its plot, based on a Norse saga, is equally absorbing,” sums up the festival’s artistic director Jonathan Butcher.

Coleridge-Taylor, best-known for his Song of Hiawatha, setting Longfellow’s poem to music, spent the last three years of his life working on Thelma, but after his death, the manuscript was lost. 

It was recovered after PhD researcher Catherine Carr found the acts filed separately at the British library, and pieced them together. 

Thelma is showing at the Ashcroft Theatre, Croydon, on 9, 10 and 11 February at 7.30pm.  Tickets priced £18 – £25 from the box office on 020 8688 9291

Thelma will feature in Music Matters on Radio 3  on Saturday 11 February at 12.15pm.


~ by A_A on February 5, 2012.

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