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Aylesbury Opera

23 May @ 12:45 pm 1:45 pm

£7 Adults

Tickets on the door (cash or card). Under 18s and carers go free

Doors open at 12:15 pm

Aylesbury Lunchtime Music

View Organiser Website

St Mary the Virgin

Church Street
Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire HP20 2JJ United Kingdom
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Elinor Popham


Chiara Carbone

Mezzo soprano

Philip Hayes


Aleksi Koponen


Harriet Lawson


Notes on the performers

A quartet of principal singers from Aylesbury Opera will present a varied programme of solos, duets and ensembles from across the 18th-20th century opera and chamber repertoire. Featuring Elinor Popham (soprano), Chiara Carbone (mezzo soprano), Philip Hayes (tenor) and Aleksi Koponen (baritone). Piano accompaniment will be provided by Harriet Lawson, who spent her career working in opera houses across Italy before retiring to Bucks.

Harriet Lawson studied the piano, harpsichord and voice at the Royal College of Music and as a post graduate répétiteur at the RCM Opera School. Her career was based in Italy, working as a répétiteur at the Teatro Verdi in Trieste, the Teatro Massimo in Palermo and Teatro Piccolo in Milan. She collaborated with Giorgio Strehler on his last production, Cosí fan tutte, touring in China, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and Spain. She worked for six years at the Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro as Maestro di sala e al cembalo, collaborated with Théâtre de l’Opéra de Bordeaux, L’Orchestra Verdi Milano, Glyndebourne Festival, with Radio France and with Radio Suisse.

Harriet’s concert work as an accompanist has taken her all over Europe – Salle Gaveau in Paris, opera houses in France, Germany, Italy Portugal, Spain and Switzerland, and numerous festivals. She has collaborated with the Britten Pears School in Aldeburgh and the Solti Peretti Masterclasses in Italy and was, for ten years, a teacher and pianist in the Walton Foundation masterclasses and concerts in Ischia. Since 1988 she has been teaching at the Accademia di Lirica di Osimo.

In 2015, after 35 years in Italy, Harriet returned to the UK, taking up bee keeping, building a vegetable garden and planting an orchard at her home in Beaconsfield. In her spare time, she has collaborated with the London Bel Canto Festival, occasionally with Arcadian Opera and Aylesbury Opera, and twice been Music Director of the Chiltern Shakespeare Festival. In 2021 she joined the Wooburn Singers, a great auditioned local choir.


Programme notes

Claudio Monteverdi

L’incoronazione di Poppea

Duet: Pur ti miro, pur ti godo

L’incoronazione di Poppea (SV 308, The Coronation of Poppaea) is an Italian opera by Claudio Monteverdi. It was Monteverdi’s last opera, with a libretto by Giovanni Francesco Busenello, and was first performed at the Teatro Santi Giovanni e Paolo in Venice during the 1643 carnival season.

Source: Wikipedia

George Frideric Handel


Thy glorious deeds

Samson (HWV 57) is a three-act oratorio by George Frideric Handel, considered to be one of his finest dramatic works. It is usually performed as an oratorio in concert form, but on occasions has also been staged as an opera.

Source: Wikipedia

George Frideric Handel


Ombra mai fu

Xerxes; HWV 40) is an opera seria in three acts by George Frideric Handel. The opera is set in Persia (modern-day Iran) about 470 BC and is very loosely based upon Xerxes I of Persia. The opening aria, “Ombra mai fu”, sung by Xerxes to a plane tree (Platanus orientalis), is set to one of Handel’s best-known melodies, and is often known as Handel’s “Largo” (despite being marked “larghetto” in the score).

Source: Wikipedia

George Frideric Handel

Giulio Cesare

Piangerò la sorte mia

Giulio Cesare (HWV 17) is a 1724 opera seria by Handel. The libretto was written by Nicola Francesco Haym who used an earlier libretto by Giacomo Francesco Bussani, which had been set to music by Antonio Sartorio (1676). The opera was a success at its first performances, was frequently revived by Handel in his subsequent opera seasons and is now one of the most often performed Baroque operas. The opera’s plot is loosely based on historical events during the Roman Civil War of 49–45 BC.

Source: Wikipedia

George Frideric Handel


Waft her, angels

Jephtha (HWV 70) is an oratorio (1751) by George Frideric Handel with an English language libretto by the Rev. Thomas Morell, based on the story of Jephtha in Judges (Chapter 11) and Jephthes, sive Votum (Jeptha, or the Vow) (1554) by George Buchanan. Whilst writing Jephtha, Handel was increasingly troubled by his gradual loss of sight, and this proved to be his last oratorio.

Source: Wikipedia

Felix Mendelssohn

Herbstlied: Duet

Mendelssohn wrote six duets, Op 63.

Source: Wikipedia

Edvard Grieg

Zur Rosenzeit

Tornami a vagheggiar

Between 1884 and 1888, Grieg composed six songs: Zur Rosenzeit, Op 48.

Source: Wikipedia

Roger Quilter

Now sleeps the Crimson Petal

Now sleeps the crimson petal has been a favourite among singers ever since its publication in 1904. It is a drawing-room song raised to a higher plane by its sensitivity to the words, resulting in flexible barring rarely seen at the time.

Source: Michael Pilkington

Robert Schumann

Die Lotosblume

Die Lotosblume is a poem written by Heinrich Heine and set to music by Robert Schumann in 1840. This Lied is part of Schumann’s Myrthen collection (op. 25 no. 7). The piece speaks of the blooming of a lotus flower, who hides from the sun and only reveals herself at night to her lover, the moon.

Source: Wikipedia

Robert Schumann

Wenn ich ein Vögelein wär

Translates as ‘If I were a bird’. The song, which expresses the longing of a person whose thoughts constantly revolve around the absent loved one, was widely received in the 19th century.

Source: Wikipedia

Franz Schubert

Quartet: Lebenslust

Lebenslust was composed in 1818 by Schubert.

Source: Wikipedia

Gaetano Donizetti

Don Pasquale

Com’è gentil

Don Pasquale is an opera buffa, or comic opera, in three acts by Gaetano Donizetti with an Italian libretto completed largely by Giovanni Ruffini as well as the composer.

Source: Wikipedia

Engelbert Humperdinck

Hänsel und Gretel

Duet: Abendsegen

Hansel and Gretel is an opera by nineteenth-century composer Engelbert Humperdinck, who described it as a Märchenoper (fairy-tale opera).

Source: Wikipedia

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

The Magic Flute

Ach, ich fuhl’s, es ist verschwunden

Duet: Bei Männern welche Liebe fühlen

The Magic Flute (Die Zauberflöte, K 620) is an opera in two acts by Mozart to a German libretto by Emanuel Schikaneder. The work is in the form of a Singspiel, a popular form during the time it was written that included both singing and spoken dialogue. This aria is from scene 4: A hall in the Temple of Ordeal. Tamino begins to play the flute, which summons Pamina. She tries to speak with him, but Tamino, bound by his vow of silence, cannot answer her, and Pamina begins to believe that he no longer loves her: (“Ach, ich fühl’s, es ist verschwunden” / Oh, I feel it, it is gone). She leaves in despair.

Source: Wikipedia

Gioachino Rossini

La cenerentola

Come un ape ne giorni

La Cenerentola, ossia La bontà in trionfo (“Cinderella, or Goodness Triumphant”) is an operatic dramma giocoso in two acts by Gioachino Rossini.

Source: Wikipedia

Ludwig Van Beethoven


Mir ist so Wunderbar

Fidelio, originally titled Leonore, oder Der Triumph der ehelichen Liebe (Leonore, or The Triumph of Marital Love), Op. 72, is the only opera by German composer Ludwig van Beethoven.

Source: Wikipedia