A dramatic concert staging

“A dramatic concert staging” is the way that we’re describing our revised plan to put on performances of Princess Ida, the Carnegie Hall not having the facilities that we would need to perform there in May. The show will be just as much fun for audience and performers, though shoe-horned into smaller performance spaces. We’re grateful to the churches that are hosting us, and we invite you to come to see us in action:

7:30pm on Friday 13 May at Gillespie Memorial Church, Dunfermline

2:00pm and 7:30pm on Saturday 14 May at Limekilns Parish Church

You’ll enjoy watching and listening to our chorus and principals in what will be much more than just a concert performance of this rarely-heard work, which will be directed by Rae Lamond and with Willie Campbell conducting.

Tickets are just £10 (£5 for children) from members or our ticket hot-line (07703 483083) or email ku.gro.ssagdnull@selastekcit. Seats won’t be reserved, so we’d encourage you to come early (doors will open 30 minutes before the show starts), especially if you want to buy tickets at the door.

What NODA thought …

Mike Pendlowski attended our Saturday matinée and reported on behalf of NODA:

Dunfermline G&S Society take to the stage, in person, once again – the first time since HMS Pinafore in February 2020. This time, they are presenting a performance, in concert style, of Princess Ida, sadly not one of the more frequently performed G&S operas, albeit with wonderful melodies and the usual Gilbertian topsy-turveydom of a plot. In fact to quote a gentleman sitting behind me in the audience, having read the very complete synopsis in the programme, “The story’s bloody complicated, isn’t it!”

First up, we meet the pompous King Hildebrand, played with suitable swagger by Martin Tarr, ably joined by his son and friends, namely Hilarion (Alex Gunn), Cyril (Nathan MacAuley-Dicks) and Florian (Matthew Sielewicz-Stanhope). Hilarion, progressing his father’s lead in to the plot, gives a very competent rendition of “Ida was a twelve month old” – just to further augment the convoluted nature of that which we are about to experience. We are joined by the menacing King Gama (Gordon Horne), Princess Ida’s father, together with his three sons Arac (Zorbey Turkalp), Guron (Andrew Campbell) and Scynthius (Paul Graham). The latter three boisterous buffoons excel, particularly in the Act Three stripping song, in which several pieces of armour in turn are “gently” removed by members of the ladies chorus.

Act Two brings us in to Castle Adamant, the ladies’ university itself. Suzanne Horsburgh portrays Lady Psyche, Professor of Humanities, as a person with whom you would be foolish to argue. This thought, however, has not reached Lady Blanche, Professor of Abstract Science (Liz Landsman), whose penchant for using ten words when one would do is evident throughout. Melissa, Lady Blanche’s daughter (Sinead Black) enters and joins Lady Blanche in a beautifully sung duet “Now Wouldn’t You Like to Rule the Roast”. A modicum of awkward cross-dressing ensues before we have the entry of the title character played by Gillian Robertson. Normally, when I report on Gillian’s performance I have to revert to adjectives such as first-class and flawless. Not so this time, I’m afraid. Here, I have to say that Gillian raised the bar to extreme heights – her performance of “Minerva” was exquisite, and her character, in general, was unassailable. Well done Gillian! Minor characters who must also receive a mention are Sacharissa (Rachel Allan), Chloe (Morag Riley) and Ada (Clare White). These three dependable “Girl” Graduates were put to good use when stage dressing required setting or striking, or one of Hilarion’s clan required a dance partner!

The Dunfermline G&S chorus never failed to achieve. Seated on audience level, either side of the action, they were kept busy with the choral requirements – so essential in a G&S opera.

Director Rae Lamond deserves full praise for an inventive production, bearing in mind the use of two differing production venues, which, necessarily, required minimal use of set pieces, but the use of heraldic banners helped to place Acts Two & Three. Musical Director Willie Campbell also brought out the singing to a high level for both experienced and inexperienced cast alike. The Company as a whole was provided with excellent backing by Carol Madden (Accompanist).

Well done DGASS! Look forward to seeing your fully staged production of Pirates of Penzance next February!


Rend the air with wailing …

Not just the words being sung during this scene at the end of Act II, when the inhabitants of the ladies’ college at Castle Adamant realise that Hildebrand and his army have stormed their fortress, but also the feeling of the whole company now that the show is over. We had so much fun – all the customary dressing room banter and mutual support and encouragement that we’ve missed since 2020 were back at full strength – and, what is more, our audiences were delighted by a spectacular show. The flier offered “A dramatic concert staging”, and it did much more than that.

Some reactions:

  • “Huge congratulations to everyone involved in Princess Ida tonight. Great chorus singing and the principals were great too! Wonderful to see some new faces – especially young men.” (Frances McCafferty after the Friday performance)
  • “People, to whom I sold tickets, told me they liked the format … they felt involved … they could hear the dialogue … they thought that the staging was very  cleverly skilfully planned – appropriate balance of principals and chorus in the stage area. Amazing performances by principals. Chorus determined to contribute. One person from the matinée said how much he enjoyed the harmonies.” (reported by Ellen Patrick after the run)
  • NODA’s report is at this link.

Thanks to everyone who took part. As Ellen put it: “9 months of rehearsals, postponement, covid, etc., etc., could easily have evaporated to nothing if it hadn’t been for your determination to make it happen.”

Thanks also to Craig Lindsay for taking photographs of the matinée performance, many of which will shortly appear as a slide show.

More music from Willie’s friends!

Many of you will know that Willie Campbell, our Princess Ida MD, also directs the Kingdom Singers, a choir where others of our Society are members. Fresh from the pleasures of Castle Adamant, Willie and the Kingdom Singers invite you to their Spring Concerts at Gillespie Memorial Church at 7.30pm on Thursday 26 May and Friday 27 May. A very mixed repertoire of music and even a glass of wine or fruit juice at the interval!

Tickets can be ordered from any choir member, through their Facebook page, via email (ku.oc.evilnull@sregnismodgnik), or by phoning 07793 564335 and leaving a message – your call will be returned.  Tickets are £10, which includes refreshments, but schoolchildren are free. [For those of you coming to the AGM tomorrow, why not ask Willie for a ticket!]

Tonight’s the night!

The surroundings are different – after all it’s a dramatic concert staging, rather than a full show at Carnegie – but the quality of the singing and acting is “superb, unparalleled” to borrow the words of King Gama (Gordon Horne), seen here exchanging views with Florian (Matthew Sielewicz-Stanhope). Gama gets an uncertain welcome at Hildebrand’s court, but you’ll be “treated as an honoured guest” if you come to see us tonight (Gillespie Memorial Church, Dunfermline) or tomorrow (Limekilns Parish Church). Details at this link. You don’t need to have pre-booked – you can part with £10 at the door – and we’ll guarantee you’ll have “nothing whatever to grumble at” by the end of Act III.

[Thanks to Lady Blanche (Liz Landsman) for the photograph]

2022 AGM

The 52nd Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Dunfermline Gilbert and Sullivan Society will be held on Wednesday 18 May 2022 at 7.30pm in person at Limekilns Parish Church and also via Zoom. The link will be emailed to members. The agendas may be downloaded from this link.

Recovering connections

Tickets are selling fast for the Kirkcaldy Orchestral Society (KOS) spring “Recovering Connections” concert at the Old Kirk, Kirkcaldy, on Sunday 20 March at 3:00pm. The programme of music is that originally planned for the spring concert in 2020, and includes Danzon No. 2 by Arturo Marquez, Concerto for Orchestra (Old Kirk Concerto No. 2) by John Gourlay, Benjamin Britten’s Five Courtly Dances from Gloriana and a wind band presentation of the march HRH Duke of Cambridge by Malcolm Arnold.

All tickets must be booked and paid for in advance of this event as KOS will not be selling tickets on the day, so buy your tickets now from Ellen Patrick.

More details on the flier linked to the image.

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Next appearance

Pirates 2023

Your next chance to see the Society on stage will be on 16–18 February 2023, when we are back at Carnegie Hall, Dunfermline, for our twice-delayed 50th anniversary production of The Pirates of Penzance.

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