BATH OPERA’S NEXT FULLY STAGED PRODUCTION WILL BE ‘THE MERRY WIDOW’ BY FRANZ LEHAR, A WELL-LOVED LIGHT-HEARTED SHOW OF COLOUR, ROMANCE, AND INTRIGUE.

The Merry Widow will be performed at 7.30pm on Thursday February 16th, Friday February 17th and Saturday February 18th 2023.

The venue will be the modern and spacious Roper Theatre at Hayesfield Girls School, Upper Oldfield Park, Bath BA2 3LA.

The Musical Director will be Rupert Drury and we welcome for her first Bath Opera production a new Stage Director in Alison Paine.

Auditions

Principal characters will be auditioned on Wednesday 27th July, 5 – 8pm
The Wessex Room, King Edward’s School, North Road, Bath BA2 6HU

Minor characters will be auditioned on Sunday 31st July, 1.30 – 4pm
The Wessex Room, King Edward’s School, North Road, Bath BA2 6HU (tbc)

Potential Principals who cannot make the 27th July may also audition by arrangement on the 31st.

Auditions for all characters will involve singing a piece selected by the Musical Director, some sight reading from the Libretto, and some very simple dance movement.

Please find and download the pieces for your part from the attachments below.

Bath Opera auditions are open to all to attend whether auditioning or not.

Character descriptions may be found below, followed by the pieces needed for each character. Please download those you need. NB age ranges given are playing age guidelines only. Ability and suitability are both more important than age.

If you intend to audition please email secretary.bathopera@hotmail.co.uk indicating the role/s for which you wish to audition, and which day you will be coming. Please also complete the audition form here Merry Widow Audition form, and attach it to your email or bring it with you.

Character Descriptions and Audition Pieces

Principals (27th July)

Principal Characters are Anna, Danilo, Baron Zeta, Valencienne, Camille and Njegus.

Anna, Madame Glavary, The Merry Widow Age 20s-40s. High Soprano
Pretty, intelligent, witty widow, extremely wealthy.

Singing – #10 “Vilia” vocal score pages 78-83
+ Duet with Danilo – #7 “It goes to Show” vocal score pages 39-43
Libretto pages 17-18, 22, 34-35, 63-64

Danilo, Count Danilovitsch Age 20s-40s. High Baritone
Aristocratic playboy attaché at the Pontevedrian Embassy in Paris.
Gay, debonair, irresponsible, very attractive, fond of wine and women.

Singing – #6 “You’ll find me at Maxim’s” vocal score pages 33-38
+ Duet with Anna – #7 “It goes to Show” vocal score pages 39-43
Libretto pages 22, 25-26, 63-64

Baron Zeta
Pontevedrian Ambassador in Paris. Age 50s-70s. Baritone
Pompous, comic when trying to be official, bit of an old rogue, but likeable.
Foolishly over-confident of his wife’s virtue.

Singing – Part of #1 “Pontevedro in Paree” vocal score pages 12-14
Libretto pages 9-14, 25-26, 34-35

Valencienne, Baroness Zeta Age 30s-50s Soprano
The Ambassador’s foolish but would-be faithful wife.
Naïvely amorous, she lacks the courage to stray from the path of virtue, but cannot bring herself to dismiss the young man who tempts her away from it. Needs to dance – but not necessarily very well!

Singing – #3 “A Highly Respectable Wife” vocal score pages 17-23
Libretto pages 9-14, 17-18

Camille, Count de Rosillon Age 20s-40s Light Tenor
Ardent young Frenchman, in love with Valencienne.

Singing – #3 “A Highly Respectable Wife” vocal score pages 17-23
Libretto pages 9-14, 17-18

Njegus Age 20s-40s
Baron Zeta’s factotum. Sly, amusing, manipulative – a character.
Baritone, very little singing but acting and dancing important.

Singing – #1 “Pontevedro in Paree” vocal score pages 12-16
Libretto pages 11-14, 34-35

Minor Characters (31st July)

5 male and 3 female Minor Characters: St Brioche, Cascada, Kromov, Bogdanovitsch, Pritsch, Olga, Sylvia and Praskovia.

St Brioche and Cascada Age 20s-40s Baritones
French Diplomatic guests at the Embassy. Though entangled with married ladies already, they are rivals for the hand of the Widow. They are both conceited, shallow and rather ridiculous.

Kromov Age 30s-50s Baritone
Pontevedrian Attaché, forever nagging his wife for flirting. Self-important and pompous.

Bogdanovitsch and Pritsch Age 50s-70s Baritones
Pontevedrian Attachés at the Embassy.

Olga Age 30s-50s Contralto
Wife of Kromov.

Sylvia and Praskovia Age 30s-50s Mezzo-Soprano and Contralto
Lady Guests at the Embassy.

Audition pieces for the above:

Sylvia, Olga, Praskovia, St Brioche, Cascada, Kromov
Singing – #1 “Pontevedro in Paree” vocal score pages 12-16

St Brioche, Cascada
Singing – #4 “So Many Men Admire Me” vocal score pages 25-28

Cascada, St Brioche, Bogdanovitsch, Olga, Praskovia, Pritsch
Libretto pages 9-11

Dancers

We will also be auditioning at a later date for 8 dancers (6F and 2M) to appear in Acts 2 and 3 in two high energy dances. The six female dancers will be the Grisettes – Lolo, Dodo, Jou-Jou, Frou-Frou Clo-Clo and Margot, Can Can dancers from Maxime’s in Paris. If you wish to be considered for one of these, please email the director on alison@anthonypaine.com

Downloads

Finally, we give a warm welcome to a director who is new to Bath Opera – Alison Paine.

Here is a little about her theatre experience as an actor, director and singer.

Alison is an actor and director with 50 years’ experience, mainly as a serious amateur but with 8 years as a professional actor during the 1990s. Over the years she has directed ten plays including two musicals, and acted in sixty more, twelve of them in the professional theatre under the name Alison Hopwood. She has performed in seven musicals including as Sally Bowles in Cabaret and Desiree in A Little Night Music, and directed two.

Alison moved to Bath from London in 2007, and since then has worked mainly with Next Stage Theatre Company at the Mission Theatre, where she has appeared in seven plays (most recently as Amanda in The Glass Menagerie) and directed four: Speed-The-Plow (2010), Blithe Spirit (2016), Habeas Corpus (2017), and Plenty (2019). In 2021 Alison directed Hamlet Act 6: A Comedy, a touring production for Shakespeare Live.

Experience as a singer included 2 years’ early training in opera and oratorio at Morley College and later with Geraldine Frank. She sings Soprano with the Bath Bach Choir.