Too Hot to Handle?

Rupert Hannah wedding

It was Bath Opera’s 2006 production of ‘The Elixir of Love’ which brought Rupert and Hannah Drury together when they were cast in opposite roles. Now in different positions as musical director and principal soprano soloist for this month’s Faust we find out more about this couple brought together by music…

Tell us about yourselves and your musical training..

Hannah:I began singing at a young age, studying opera as part of my music degree at Bath Spa University under Judy Davis. Since then, I have also gained a Diploma from ABRSM and a Licentiate from London College of Music, along with a PGCE and QTLS.”

Rupert:I started out as a chorister at Ripon Cathedral, and read music at Durham University, before doing a post grad in performance at the Royal Academy of Music under Diane Forlano. I then also studied for a PGCE.

Was it music that brought you together?

Both:We met in 2005 in Bath Opera, and the rest, as they say is history.”

Hannah was singing her first role with the company, as Oscar in A Masked Ball. Rupert joined the group in the chorus, and a year later, they successfully auditioned for roles opposite each other in The Elixir of Love.

What is special about Bath Opera for you?

Not only did they meet singing with Bath Opera, but Rupert also arranged for the company to perform the big chorus number from the Elixir of Love as he proposed in 2014! Many of the company joined the flash mob at their wedding! 

Both:So Bath Opera holds a very special place in our hearts.”

Tell us about your respective roles in Faust and your attraction to this opera…

Rupert takes on the rather important role of Musical Director in his first Music Directorship with Bath Opera.

I can’t think of a better, more supportive group with whom to debut – although, this particular soprano can be too hot to handle sometimes!

Hannah sings the gritty and challenging role of Marguerita. It offers the heady coloratura, mixed with the deeply moving, lyric lines. 

And what an emotional journey Marguerita makes, too! The role combines hope, drama, love, lust, religion, despair, mourning, and more!

You are both so involved in this production, do you ever manage to switch off?

Both:To be honest, no, not really!

But somehow they manage to combine their passion for opera with Musical Department Leadership roles in schools. But combined with the demands of bringing up two young children there is very little time to sing together. 

There have been moments when our chat in the coffee break of a rehearsal is the first and only chance we have had to catch up all day! But with music playing such an enormous, important role in our lives, we are quite used to be enveloped by a musical project!

What are you most looking forward to in the performance?

Rupert is very excited to be leading the company from the front, with the fabulous orchestra. But dramatically, looking forward to the audience experiencing the drama of the arrival of Méphistophélès and his powerful manipulation. 

There is something in this opera for everyone – so many colours from grand waltzes to intense choruses!

Hannah has always been fond of an operatic soprano death scene and this one is like none she has done before! 

I won’t give it away, but it’s a breathtaking moment…

Bath Opera: Faust 

20 – 22 February 2020

Faust:  Robert Felstead
Mephistopheles:  John DesLauriers
Marguerite:  Hannah Drury
Valentin:  Rick Fitzsimmons
Siebel:  Harriet Kirk
Wagner:  Edward Harper
Marthe:  Gill Clark

Musical Director:  Rupert Drury
Stage Director:  Dave Key-Pugh

Buy tickets for the Gala Night on 22 February

A limited number of tickets are available for the final performance of Gounod’s Faust. For a supplement of just £15 on top of the standard ticket price you can attend a special Gala Night Reception with introductory canapés and Prosecco, and hear an introduction to Gounod’s Faust by Bath Opera’s patron, distinguished operatic soprano Isobel Buchanan.

Call the Gala Ticket hotline on 01935 475219

Standard price tickets are still available for all three performances on 20-22 February at the Roper Theatre at Upper Oldfield Park in Bath.

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