Arena Travel launches once-in-a-lifetime opera holidays with Stars of Stage

Do you dream of starring in a top-class opera? Do you sing in a choral society or tread the boards on the amateur dramatics circuit but long for more? If so, Arena Travel and The New London Opera Players have launched a new holiday to offer you a once-in-a-lifetime chance to perform alongside a cast of internationally-renowned soloists in Bizet’s Carmen.

The ‘Opera Experience’ will be spent with stars from the operatic world, including masterclasses with soloists from the Royal Opera House, to help develop your singing and acting skills. The week will culminate in a performance of Carmen in front of an audience at the Colyer-Fergusson Concert Hall, University of Canterbury, Kent, with The New London Opera Players.

The holiday is open to anyone who would like to have a go at performing in an opera. The emphasis is on enjoyment and taking pride in achieving excellence. “Our holidays are all about having fun: bringing together people with a love of opera and a desire to sing and perform – this is an opportunity to take part in an outstanding operatic performance with professional performers. We believe we’re offering something unique and providing an amazing experience for amateur and professional performers,” says Robin Pietà, Director of Productions of The New London Opera Players.

This short break (Mon 8 – Sun 14 September 2014) will be set in the historic town of Canterbury with rehearsals and accommodation on the University Campus. The majority of attendees on this one-week holiday will be accepted into the Chorus without audition; those wishing to be considered for a solo role will be invited to audition.

A cast of international soloists, led by director and lead tenor Robin Pietà and musical director Andrew Charity will première this fully-staged and costumed performance on Saturday 13 September 2013. Carmen will be sung in English using the popular Cramer edition, with the Parry Ensemble accompanying.

The New London Opera Players are also launching ‘The National Chorus’, the UK’s first national adult choir as part of these new opera holidays, and all attendees on this short break will be invited to become inaugural members. The holiday costs just £599 per person with breakfast and dinner included – no single supplements.

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Arena Travel

Arena Travel has developed a strong reputation for delivering high quality special interest holidays aimed at the 50+ market that are difficult to find anywhere else. Over the years these have included: fine art and antiques led by Eric Knowles; bridge playing holidays, patchwork and quilting led by Karin Hellaby; the music of Elvis or Queen; art and architecture; history; literature and food and drink.

Through the years the variety and number of tours has evolved, but the aim has always remained the same – to provide a truly personal service catering for both group and individual needs, leaving people free to enjoy their holiday to the full.

Robin Pietà, Director of Productions, The New London Opera Players

Robin Pietà is a tenor with a rich, dark tone that embraces the dramatic and Heldentenor repertoire, although he started out as a light lyric tenor. After five years as a choral scholar and lay clerk at Christ Church and Magdalen College, Oxford, then Canterbury Cathedral, he studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where he won several awards, including the John Ireland Prize; runner‐up in the English Song Award and the Great Grimsby International Competition.

He has a well‐established concert career, with a repertoire of over seventy works. He has performed across the UK and in Europe for such notable conductors as David Hill, Hartmut Haenchen and Brian Wright and at venues such as the Concertgebouw, Purcell Room, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Festival Hall and the Royal Albert Hall. Robin sang for many years with London Opera Players in a range of rôles. He sang for Welsh National Opera, English National Opera, The Netherlands Opera, The Nationale Reisopera and Pimlico Opera as well as many small touring companies. In a change of direction, he sang first in the West End production of The Phantom of the Opera, then as a member of the a cappella quartet, Cantabile. He then began a programme of retraining with baritone Neil Baker and is now focusing on the dramatic/Heldentenor repertoire: Don José, Carmen, Pinkerton, Madama Butterfly, Cavaradossi, Tosca, Otello (Verdi). He is currently playing Florestan, Fidelio and Cavaradossi for the New London Opera Players and next season will be singing Verdi’s Otello, Handel’s Samson, Turiddu in Cavalleria Rusticana and Don José in Carmen.

Since 1984 Robin has been involved in conducting community choirs and directing stage productions that bring amateurs and professionals together. He established the Kent Music School group singing teaching scheme, set up the Medway Youth Parliament and was Education Officer for Opera Players for many years. He is now Director of Productions for The New London Opera Players and Secret Opera. He has recently been appointed Director of the new Heyford Arts Festival, launching in August 2014.