Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Dragon of Wantley

This....THIS is the terrible and frightening dragon that brought such problems to Margery, her father Gubbins, Mauxalinda, and of course Master Moore of Moore Hall.
And all the villagers that ran away from it...the sheep, the cook......
But the orchestra played gloriously, the singers sang gorgeously, the dragon roared roariously and great fun was had by all.

And thanks once again to Charlie Lucke for the photographic evidence of the event!


Oh Dear.......Master Moore of Moore Hall has betrayed his betrothed.....and now has been found out!
Things are about to get sticky.....

Moore of Moore Hall

....and they all pleaded, "Oh save us all, Moore of Moore Hall"
...and he does! He does in that evil Dragon.
(Though the Dragon curses him "Oh, The devil take thy toe"....pretty rough stuff!)
He does it for Margery (the incredible Eileen Morris) who captivates him with her high notes and fancy ornaments!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

the cast...

Jeff Fields is coming from San Jose to sing the role of Gubbins, father of Margery. A neighboring gent who seems to feel that it must be Moore's job to slay the dragon. He sums up nicely at the end "Most mighty Moore, what wonders hast thou done? Destroyed the dragon, and my Margery won. The loves of this brave knight, and my fair daughter, in Roratorios shall be sung hereafter...."
And then they sing a Roratorio!

the cast...

The lovely Bonnie Brooks sings the role of Mauxalinda.......and certainly doesn't deserve to be jilted by that rascal Moore!
Opera is so cruel.....
Her duet with the upstart Margery is a wonderful bit of cat-fighting...
"Go, Trollope, go....."

The Dragon Cast.....

Corey Head is singing Master Moore of Moore Hall.
It is his job to slay the evil Dragon and win the heart of the fair Margery in the process....thus dumping the loyal Mauxalinda in the process. Typical opera betrayals, battles, and general villainy that ends happily. And he sings the should be famous drinking song, "Zeno, Plato, Aristotle all were lovers of the bottle"
Ah, the great opera lyrics......

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Who was Lampe?

John Frederick Lampe was born in Saxony in 1703 but spent most of his life in Britain. He played bassoon in one of the theater orchestras in London, wrote a textbook on thoroughbass and composed a fair amount, though did not actually have many successes.
Handel was the great composer of the city then and brought Italian style opera and many Italian singers to perform his operas. Thomas Arne, compose of "Alfred" (which contains Rule Brittania), was the active English composer. Lampe married the sister of Arnes wife in 1737. And that is the year he composed his best known piece, "The Dragon of Wantley". There is a preface to the early edition in which his librettist describes "many joyous hours...chopping and changing, lopping, ekeing out and coining Words, Syllables, and Jingles, to display in English the Beauty of Nonsense, so prevailing in the Italian Operas."
It seems clear that the satire was aimed at Handel and the rather unheroic hero, Moore of Moore Hall was was spoofing a popular Italian singer then in London, Farinelli.
So in the spirit of the Beauty of Nonsense, we present the Dragon of Wantley.

There was a sequel..."Margery, or a Worse Plague than the Dragon"
I'm afraid there is very little chance of any of us seeing did not do as well.