Why I love Blackheath Halls Opera

The eighth Blackheath Halls Opera, Rossini’s The Adventures of Count Ory, is sadly over and things are gradually getting back to normal at Blackheath Halls.

Time to reflect on our eighth Blackheath Halls Opera:

I enjoyed last year’s Macbeth so much that I didn’t think I would like The Adventures of Count Ory as much. How wrong I was, I LOVED IT! The production was very funny and at the very end, when the women and children were reunited with the men returning from war, I was really moved. The music and words were really catchy and are still going around in my head. Another triumph!

I love all the attention to detail of the production. It was really interesting sitting in the office and hearing the stage management team discuss what kind of coffee cup the Tutor should use and where they could find a statue of the Madonna. I saw the production three times and each time I noticed new things – the village scene at the very beginning was full of interesting costumes and the hikers even had a map with Formoutier Castle on the front!

I am involved in Blackheath Halls Opera in two ways: as Development Manager I am responsible for raising funds for our opera, with input and support from Project Manager Rose and General Manager Keith, and I also blog about Blackheath Halls Opera and tweet.

As Development Manager I am always overwhelmed by the support so many individual donors give to Blackheath Halls Opera. People are very generous and many of our donors support Blackheath Halls Opera year after year. We are also very grateful for the continued support of Arts Council England, Lewisham Council, The Fischer Fund, The Hearn Foundation and The Samuel Gardner Memorial Trust. We couldn’t do the opera without you!

As blogger and tweeter about Blackheath Halls Opera, I love going to rehearsals at the primary and special schools and to the chorus and orchestra rehearsals at the Halls, the Sitzprobe and the dress rehearsals to take photographs of all what happens behind the scenes of Blackheath Halls Opera and then write about it on the blog and on Twitter. Photographing the performances I happily leave to our wonderful professional photographer Lena Kern! It is a real privilege to experience all the work and thought that goes into making a Blackheath Halls Opera and to meet all the professionals, performers and creative team, who make Blackheath Halls Opera what it is, an opera of high artistic value.

What Blackheath Halls Opera means to me personally:

• I have developed a love for opera and as a result, I have been going to opera at other venues. I went to Eugene Onegin at Glyndebourne recently and, having seen it four times at Blackheath Halls and therefore knowing it really well, I was able to appreciate the opera much better;
• Having seen how everyone enjoys taking part in the chorus, I would now like to take part and am taking singing lessons, so that perhaps I will be ready to sing in next year’s opera…
• I have overcome my fear of blogging and tweeting and love it, learning about it more all the time (must now wean myself off looking at Twitter on my mobile constantly …)
• I have developed an interest in photography and am planning to take a course in September to learn how to do it properly;
• I enjoy the sense of camaraderie the opera brings and, when shopping in Sainsbury in the last few months, I would often bump into people of the chorus or orchestra and ended up chatting about the opera!
• It is so great to be working in Blackheath Halls in the summer months, see the opera develop and get to know the music which filters through to the office.

Here are a few photographs of the lunch I hosted for my friends before the Sunday performance. Friends from North and West London and beyond come for an early lunch, after which we all go to the opera and come back to my house for pudding. I have been doing this for a few years now and this year friends from Northern Ireland came to join us and really enjoyed The Adventures of Count Ory. Most of these friends have also become generous donors and the Sunday lunch and opera have become a tradition!

We are now looking forward to the ninth Blackheath Halls Opera in 2015 and the fundraising process has already started.


Helma Zebregs
Development Manager Blackheath Halls




2 thoughts on “Why I love Blackheath Halls Opera

  1. Thank you for all your hard work, and tireless dedication to the fund raising Helma. You are a star!
    It’s great that you have overcome Blogger’s Fear in order to join the Blogosphere!
    Very best wishes,
    Meg Dinkeldein

  2. This was the fourth year I’ve attended – better and better each year! Such a wonderful combination of a really professional production and the fun of a local, very inclusive endeavour. I know it is a lot of effort – but well done! (Already, I’m looking forward to July 2015!)

    Debbie Ivory


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