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A night at the Opera

23 September 2016


Gala Evening presenting Donizetti's Don Pasquale

Thursday 22nd September 2016

Yesterday’s fantastic performance was the culmination of our collaboration with Diva Opera and for the promotion of Chickenshed. Thirty boys forming the Chorus have been working on their two scenes in the opera since May. They had a rehearsal for two hours on Wednesday morning, along with ten 6th form boys who joined the cast for the show. Then, while the upper years of the school were playing rugby, the 1st and 2nd forms attended a sparkling demonstration of operatic performance, which was also attended by children from Arbour Vale school. Everyone loved this, but particularly the visiting children who were entranced by the singing and acting. One little girl could hardly contain herself, and at the end she ran and threw her arms around ‘Norina’ the leading lady to thank her. It was really very moving.

Thursday saw the lorry arrive in the morning, and the Centenary Hall transformed into an auditorium. There was another short presentation to the 3rd and 4th Forms, followed by a second rehearsal for the chorus and cast. They achieved a huge amount in those two rehearsals and enjoyed working with such expert and skilful but fun and modest professionals, directed by Wayne and inspired by Ernesto’s singing and his abundant encouragement and appreciation of their efforts and participation.

Meanwhile, the garden was prepared with a marquee and tables in readiness for the Champagne reception, the piano polished, and the final touches put to the auditorium. Guests began arriving in Black ties and ball-gowns. The performance was a tremendous success; funny, dramatic, emotive and very vivaciously delivered by the brilliant Diva Opera leads and Caldicott boys. In the interval families and friends all met up for picnics around the garden in the fading light, returning to a blacked-out theatre for the revealing of the plot and the conclusion.

It has been a great journey of discovery for all of us. Thank you to Diva Opera for giving us all such a wonderfully entertaining, dramatic, musical and educational experience.



Reflections from the boys:


This night was an interesting and exiting night and I did not see a disappointed face throughout the crowd for the duration of the performance. Luckily for us the weather was sound and before the show I could hear a light buzz of anticipation ringing from the scene which added to the tranquillity of the atmosphere. After the wonderful performance no-one could wait to share their views of how amazing it was and what was their favourite part as anyone would after an amazing show. Everyone from boy to staff to photographer loved the show and enjoyed the opera experience. 


H Heffer

This was a thrilling night for all. Especially for me because I was a part of the cast, therefore I got to meet all the actors back stage and hear them warm up which was really amazing because of all the techniques they used. And when I came on stage the audience was massive and gave me a rush of excitement.


A Chambers

On Thursday 22nd of September at 18:15 in the centenary hall, Caldicott School hosted the Diva Opera. It was extraordinary to view a real opera so close. I enjoyed the performance very much. It was not what I expected at all because it was not only a fantastic display of musical and operatic skill, but also a humorous and interesting story. Whether it was the hilarious argument between Don Pasquale and his “wife” or when Don Pasquale’s wig had to be re–adjusted because it had moved out of position due his shouting.


T Bracken

On Thursday 22nd September Diva Opera performed at are School in the Centenary Hall. It was a thrilling performance half way through the performance we stopped we were given a delicious dinner after this we went back into the hall to finish the performance some of the boys joined in with the Opera. To sum it all up the Evening was a night to remember.


L Saville

Last night in the centenary hall, the diva opera told a very intriguing story, with the help of caldicott, fancy lighting and many Italian lyrics, which we wouldn’t have understood if it weren’t for the convenient subtitles behind them. All the people who were involved were very talented.

I found it very entertaining because the cast really brought it to life with their loud booming Italian words and an extremely funny story!

I really enjoyed the whole thing and look forward to doing something like this again.


A Summers

Diva Opera Hello my name is Alex and I’m going to be talking to you about the Diva Opera that came to preform yesterday in the centenary hall. 

Here is a picture a really interesting part of the opera in my opinion. I am going to tell you the story behind this. The story is about an old man called Don Pasquale and he had a nephew that was like a son to him and Pasquale wants him to marry someone so he can give him his money when he dies 


A Tsereteli

The opera was a blast for both the boys watching and the boys performing, including the parents. The singers were incredibly good at projecting their voices and maintaining the note. They also reached out to the audience and made them feel like they were part of the performance. In the audience it was amazing as you watched them in both their acting and their singing.

Back stage it was incredible as we met and talked to the performers. We talked about previous performances they had done. We found out that they have had wide differences in venues from the small churches to proper theatres.


G Carpmael and M Adam

Don Pasquale was a very amusing opera. Both boys watching and performing had lots of fun and got to spend time with their parents and maybe grandparents. 


H Wheatland

The evening started off with an extravagant solo scene by the main character, Donizetti Don Pasquale.

I also really enjoyed the picnic half way through.


G Coomber

On Thursday 22nd Sepember. The Diva Opera company performed a great performance called Don Pasquale.Luckily, I got to have a small, non-speakig role in this opera where I acted as a house cleaner. There were also several other boys in 5th form as well as a few in the 6th form that were cast in the concert as well.It was a great and unforgettable experience that I will never forget. It was thrilling o not only get close to professional operatic performers but to act with them. I was great to see boys throw themselves into the action by giving themselves fake moustaches or dirt on their face to make it seem like they were just up a chimney. Not only were there boys performing on the stage yet there were also boys helping with lighting and staging. Overall it was a great event and unforgettable vent that will stay in people’s memories for a long time.


W Conyers

On Thursday the 22nd of September at 18:15 Diva Opera presented us with their outstanding performance of Don Pasquale. It was brilliant to see everyone in the audience enjoying such a beautiful operatic display. Some boys from the school were included and were good alongside the professional performers. It was good to see them throwing themselves into with great gusto with fake moustaches and the like. Some sang elegantly while others less cape able I the singing department but perhaps more so in the drama acted. It was brilliant to see them put so much effort into something new. Overall it was a great evening which everyone enjoyed.


W Hope

We went in with a sense of excitement for many of us had never heard opera before. People flooded in in their amazing costumes. The audience hushed as Don Pasquale took stage. The first scene when he was cutting out pictures from the magazine was very funny. Just as we were starting to wonder when the singing would begin we heard the operatic actors wowed us all by the incredibility of their voices. Mr Wild had kindly taught us a bit about all the different types of opera singing so we would be able to recognise it in the actual opera. The picnic in the interval was magical as all the parents and all the boys gathered around on the dark evening and reflected on what they had just seen. For some of us when the opera began were hiding up on the balcony for the short period of time that we had been practising for for so long. Suddenly we ran out of our hiding place and surprised everybody as the Caldicott boys started to sing. It was an incredible sight on the balcony, lots of family's all in the crowd clearly enjoying themselves. Everything went to plan and the opera was a huge success. Everybody left, most people where in awe by the incredibility of the whole thing. It had been an incredible evening with all the boys who weren't participating all in white shirts to finish off the incredible evening. We all went to bed with the sound of opera still buzzing in our ears. It was a great evening and we all hope that we could do something the same in the future.


O Alcock

I thought it was very nice the fact that you could actually interact with the adult performers as it made you feel really special. Also the fact that you could be with your family was nice and it made it very professional and a nice way to see your parents after a few days of boarding.


C Rollo

Having seen Don Pasquale before, on the trip that Mr. Wild took us on, I was really intrigued to find out what happened behind the scenes. I was luckily chosen to take part as the back stage crew dressed fit for an opera in white bow ties!

One of our jobs was to help bring to life the characters of our friends by using a multitude of charcoal pencils. We also had the important role of adding a moustache to our baker! We also had to change the scenes throughout the opera. 


F Lovejoy

This event was very inspirational. Especially for me as I was a member of the cast and got a real sense of the atmosphere. At the start I felt nervous but as soon as I entered onto the stage the butterflies turned into energy. As the performance progressed I realised how amazing the main actors and actresses were.


J Symonds

I was sitting in the front row and had a really good view of the stage. I thought the play was very good because the acting and singing was very good and also it was interesting to see what Italian singing is like. It was nice being close to the singers because at other operas you are 20 rows back and don’t have a good view. Overall it was extremely good. 


K Patel


Here is the first edition summary of the Opera night at Caldicott.