Pop-Up Opera Company at Soul in the City

La Serva Padrona & Rita


St Mary's Church, Upper Street
7.30pm Monday 3 June 2013
Admission free - doors will be closed when the venue is full.

Director: Darren Royston
Producer: Clementine Lovell
Assistant Producer: Fiona Johnston
Musical Director: James Henshaw
Pianist: James Henshaw/Elizabeth Challenger


Uberto - Oskar McCarthy/Antoine Salmon
Serpina - Penelope Manser/Melanie Lodge
Gasparo - Simon Wallfisch/Alex Learmonth
Pepe - Cliff Zammit Stevens
Rita - Clementine Lovell
The Servant - Darren Royston

Two one-act operas take place on the same stage, their scenes and stories intertwined. One mute servant appears in both, tying the two tales together.

A scene of commotion arises when the dominating Rita and her timid husband Beppe receive an unexpected visit from Rita’s first husband Gaspar. Each believing the other to have died, Gaspar unknowingly arrives seeking Rita's death certificate so he can remarry. Beppe sees it as an opportunity to escape, as Gaspar is still Rita's legal husband. The two men agree to a game, the winner of which will have to stay with Rita. Each of them tries to lose, but Gaspar cunningly manipulates Rita and Beppe to fall in love again.

Meanwhile, wealthy old bachelor Uberto is kept under the thumb of his maid Serpina.

He enlists his manservant Vespone to help him get rid of Serpina by finding him a wife. Serpina convinces Vespone to trick Uberto into marrying her. Their elaborate plan works and by the time Uberto has agreed to marry Serpina he realises he has loved her all along.

Simon Harvey interviews Clementine Lovell, in ahead of the performance at Soul in the City.

Pop-up Opera is an innovative touring opera company dedicated to bringing professional opera to intimate and informal venues. Breaking the boundaries between audience and performers in a way that's thrilling and new for seasoned Opera-goers and first timers alike, this is a unique operatic experience. Productions showcase the exceptional up and coming talent of young professional singers in an exciting and engaging way under the direction of Darren Royston. Their production of L’elisir d’Amore was described by Matthew Parris in The Times as ‘a two hour explosion of beautiful music, top-class singing, and exceptional acting’.
“The hidden door to opera has been opened”, come and experience it for yourself.

'A performance of Don Pasquale which fulfilled its aim of making opera enjoyable and inviting, without diminishing the quality of the music' Opera Magazine

'I cannot imagine anyone, of any class, age or tastes, who would have been bored or unmoved' The Times

Find out more about Soul in the City Neighbourhood Festival 2013.