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A Night at the Opera – and cake

March 4, 2011

By John Gaye

Dorset Wildlife Trust Trustee and Chairman of Sherborne Group, who spent A Night at the Opera in aid of Dorset Wildlife Trust’s 50th Anniversary

It was a brave decision to start a concert last Saturday with Bizet’s Carmen, coming as it did within minutes of the end of the England v France rugby match. Fortunately England had won, so 20 minutes of glorious singing in the French language as the opening piece did not in anyway interfere with our pleasure.

This concert was held in the lovely surroundings of the Sherborne Methodist Church and was an evening of opera laid on by Virginia King and her colleagues in ‘Opera Artists’. Virginia, who lives in Toller Porcorum close to our Kingcombe Centre, had very kindly offered to donate a percentage of the ticket price to our 50th Anniversary Fund and in addition invited the Sherborne Supporters Group to provide the tea and stickies at half time thus raising substantial additional funds.

So in turn I had inveigled Sally Dearling, Patrick and Gillian Constable and Sheila Dawsey to bake a cake each and come along to provide teas and coffees for the audience during the interval. A couple of days earlier, Fiona Sansom, who was coordinating the whole support effort, heard that there were likely to be more than 200 people attending and so had also set to in her kitchen to add more culinary delights to the home team’s offerings.

Andrew Morton and Virginia King take us to the opera

And I can modestly say that the excellence of the refreshments was only bettered by the wonderful performance of Opera Artists. Virginia was supported brilliantly by the melodious tones and humour of the tenor, Andy Morton (whose father, poor man, once tried to teach me maths so many years ago!) and accompanied on the magnificent grand piano that is a permanent feature in this venue by the very talented Arwel Treharne Morgan, who was equally chuffed by Wales’s earlier rugby victory over Italy in Rome.

Love duets par excellence

The programme was an eclectic mix of operatic arias from La Boheme, Turandot, La Traviata, Tosca and West Side Story as well of course as Carmen. The cakes, just as importantly, were also an eclectic mix and included: carrot, chocolate in various forms, ginger, sponges and cup cakes. Thanks to Fiona’s parsimonious portion control we just managed to make them stretch out for all those who had paid their £2. So I like to feel that the quality of the performance by the headline acts on the main stage was ably supported by the interval team.

Quality rugby, quality opera and quality cake – what more could you want from an excellent day? And we also made over £400 profit for the Anniversary Fund and defeated the French.

John Gaye

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