Careline Theatre Alcalali

Opera Gala 2001

About Viva La Ópera

Viva La Ópera was formed as recently as 1999. It all came about after a visit to Fontilles in 1998, when we were very impressed with what Careline Theatre managed had managed to achieve here.

We realised that the combination of a beautiful and fully functional theatre together with the lovely setting of Fontilles, provided an ideal venue for an opera gala based on the Glyndebourne theme in UK. Glyndebourne may be to opera what Royal Ascot is to horse racing and Henley Regatta is to rowing. It combines high quality entertainment with a chance for the aficionados to dress for the occasion and to take along their picnic and enjoy a very special occasion. Such has been the continued success of Glyndebourne over the years that the biggest stars of opera worldwide are attracted to perform and several, similar galas have become established, bringing the genre to a much wider audience.

Viva La Ópera is basically a small group of opera singers and specialists, keen to be involved in their art, but without a permanent base from which to operate. We discussed the idea with Careline Theatre and they were quick to see the potential for an area with many opera fans who had very little opportunity to see opera live on stage. A first opera gala was planned for September 1999.

Two remarkable things happened in the build up period. Firstly, we managed to attract the attention of Lord and Lady Harewood and they very kindly signified their intention to attend. Lord Harewood is a very keen supporter of opera in UK and has been deeply involved in opera administration over the years, so their visit was particularly welcome. The second development was that, when the tickets went on sale, they were all sold within one week and there was a clamour for more. At that stage it was decided to repeat the gala the following week and, again, all the tickets sold out in a remarkably short space of time.

The two occasions both proved to be a great success. Despite the inevitable limitations, what was presented on stage was extremely well received, particularly by those who really know their opera. Equally, those for whom opera was something of a new experience were pleased to find that many of the arias and melodies were not totally unfamiliar after all. The weather was kind and Fontilles generously supplied many tables and chairs for those who had not brought their own, enabling the mid­show picnic to be most enjoyable for everyone.

With the success of 1999 we have been encouraged to work towards making the opera gala an annual event, with every chance of it growing in stature in future years. Since music is an international language we thought it an excellent idea to bring all nationalities together under the same roof to enjoy the one thing we all have in common. We have moved the date to May this year to allow the best chance of ideal weather and we have increased the number of performances to three. We also have a larger cast and a specially recruited chorus.

This year we have increased performances to four and we will be looking to make even more progress in 2002 and, with that in mind, one step we would like to take is to create a permanent chorus.

Production Director

Stage Director

Artistic Director

Musical Director - Chorus Mistress


Stage Manager

Set and Costume Design

Scenic Artist: TATS TAYLOR
Properties: Viva La Ópera and Careline Theatre
Wigs and Hair: ELAINE FARROW
Construction: JOHN BENNETTS
Spanish Translator: MARGARET RAMSEY

Sound: Brian Hight
Follow Spot Operators: Terry Farrow, Tony Wilkins
Backstage Crew: Ray Baker, Roy Martin, Bill Parsons

Front of House Managers: JUNE A BOOTH, LINDA CHADWICK
Assistant Front of House Manager: PAT BETTS
Front of House Staff: Olive Baker, Shirley Barrett, Stan Betts,
Virginia Corcoran, Elaine Farrow, Sylvia Hight, Ann Hosking, lean Martin,
Angela McAdam, Owen Rawling, Su Rawling, Jenny Roberts, Hazel Worrall

Car Parking Staff: Ben Bloch, Brenda Cook, Roger Fish, Roy Martin, Colin Worrall

Bar Management: KAREN HALL
Bar Operators: Ray Baker, Bert Cook, Norman Hall, Peter Hosking,
Terry King, Linda Parsons

Box Office Ticket Sales: Ann Rosewell, Rick Rosewell
Programme and Publicity: Alan Brett, Gill Sloot

The Programme
Part One


La Traviata Act II     Scene 2
  Violetta Valery
Abigail Horro (soprano)
  Flora Bervoix Linda Morrell-Vessey (soprano)
  Alfredo Germont John Brecknock (tenor)
  George Germont Julian Moyle (baritone)
  Gastone Roberto Galán Cabexa (tenor)
  Baron Douphol Vicente Ordiñana (baritone)
  Marquis D'Obigny Peter Clague (baritone)
  Doctor Grenvil Alfred Runz (bass)
  Ladies and gentlemen of the chorus and ballet
Lakmé Act I      Duet
  Lakmé Abigail Horro (soprano)

Linda Morrell-Vessey (soprano)
Madama Butterfly Love Duet Act I
The Humming Chorus Act II
The First Part Act II
  Butterfly Manuela Muñoz (soprano)
  Suzuki Sybil Kent (mezzo-soprano)
  Pinkerton John Brecknock (tenor)
  Ladies and gentlemen of the chorus

Carmen Act IV      Finale

Linda Morrell-Vessey (soprano)
  Don José John Brecknock (tenor)
  Frasquita Gisela von Allmen (soprano)
  Mercedes Shirley Butcher (soprano)
  Ladies and gentlemen of the chorus  
The Programme
Part Two


Overture - Gold and Silver

Sián Carlin


Liebe du Himmel auf Erden

Manuela Muñoz



Abigail Horro



Julian Moyle


Gern hab' ich die Frau'n geküsst

John Brecknock


(Girls were made to love and kiss)



"It's the talk of the town"

Julian Moyle



Peter Clague


Cachucha. Spanish dance

The Ballet


Some day I'll find him

Linda Morrel-Vessey


Trinke Liebchen, trinke schnell

Manuela Muñoz



John Brecknock


In Wien gibts manch' winziges

Julian Moyle





Watch duet

Linda Morrel-Vessey



John Brecknock



Abigail Horro


Die Fledermaus Act Two Finale

Full Company

John Brecknock (Tenor)

John BrecknockJohn has sung in some of the very best companies and in some of the most prestigious venues throughout the world during a career spanning thirty years. In addition he has made many concert appearances, performed frequently on both television and radio in the UK and abroad, and his work is available on records and CD. He has even written a book, "Scaling The High C's" published in 1996 in both the UK and the USA. His glorious voice and impressivestage presence thrilled audiences at Fontilles in our Opera Gala fast year.

Born in Long Eaton near Nottingham, John studied at The Birmingham School of Music and then with the late Dennis Dowling, Principal Baritone with English National Opera. He joined Sadler's Wells Opera in 1967 and was there when they moved to The London Coliseum as The English National Opera. He sang many leading roles before he became involved with a new production of "Werther" in 1977 and was hailed as a leading exponent of Massenet's music. He went on to perform in the opera throughout Europe and North America.

John has performed in some of the very finest venues, including The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, and The Metropolitan Opera House in New York (opposite Dame Joan Sutherland in "Don Giovanni"). His work has also been seen and appreciated in the Paris Opera, the Vienna State Opera, the Victoria State Operain Australia, and acrossthe Atlantic in Ottawa, Edmonton, Toronto, San Francisco, Miami, San Diego, Tulsa, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Santiago (Chile) and Buenos Aires.

Abigail Horro (coloratura soprano)

Abigail HorroAbigail Horro was born in La Coruña and moved to Alicante as a child. At the age of seven she started her musical studies with the violin and then the piano. By the age of sixteen it was clear that she was also developing a singing voice of considerable potential and, at eighteen, started a new phase of her voice training by studying with Valencian soprano Manuela Muñoz. Soon her voice changed from a lyrical to a coloratura soprano. In 1999 she completed her violin studies at The Conservatory of Music of Santiago at Compostela, obtaining an excellent degree. Last year she also obtained the title of `Professional of Lyrical Song' and was awarded the prize for Extraordinary Professional Degree.

Abigail now teaches violin at the school of music in El Campello and plays with the Symphonic Orchestra of Alicante, where she is a founder member. She is also a key part of the `Orfeon Mare Nostrum' of Alicante, directed by D. Angel M. Teruel, with whom she has performed as soloist in venues in Alicante and throughout the province. For several years she has taken part in "Velados Musicales", which are celebrated each summer in the Santa Cruz area of Alicante. Recently Abigail sang as soloist with the Alicante Symphony Orchestra under its director D. Juan Iborra.

MANUELA MUÑOZManuela Muñoz was born in Valencia, the city in which she started her musical studies at Higher Conservatory of Music "Joaquin Rodrigo" in 1977. After being awarded the Special Prize for song and also the prize of the "Spanish Musical Union", she received a grant from the Culture Council to expand her studies at the Conservatory of the City of Vienna from 1988 to 1993. There she obtained the Final Diploma for the Speciality of Opera in 1991.

In 1996 Manuela received a grant from the Organisation of the International Courses, Manuela de Falla and Victoria de los Angeles'. She has studied vocal techniques with Victoria de los Angeles herself and with Elena Obratzova. Manuela has performed numerous concerts in Spain, Austria and the Czech Republic, sharing the billing with many well­known artistes.

She was a member of the panel of judges for the 'Ravel - Granados Regions Competitions" of Marseilles in 1995. She has been a teacher at the Higher Conservatory of Music 'Oscar Espla in Alicante since 1993 and elsewhere since 1994. She was invited to participate as a teacher of vocal technique in the fifth Lyrical Festival of Callosa d' en Sarriá, together with Elena Obratzova and Ana Luisa Chova. Since 1998 she has been an official teacher at the Professional Conservatory of Valencia and she has also given various courses in speech therapy for teachers, invited by "CEFIRE", Benidorm


LINDA MORREL-VESSEYLinda has been deeply involved with music throughout her life. She was born in Rotherham and her mother was a well-known mezzo-soprano who sang extensively throughout UK. Not surprisingly, some of that talent and love of music rubbed off onto Linda and she worked diligently with a number of teachers during her early days. Her training was completed under the guidance of another well­known mezzo-soprano, Margaret Duckworth.

Linda has played many leading roles, mainly in light opera and musicals, throughout northern England. Such has been her success that, as well as being invited to ‘guest' with many companies, she was also asked to direct several amateur productions, including "La Cage Aux Folles" for The Phoenix Operatic Society.

Husband Malcolm is a professional pianist and, since they met nine years ago, they have frequently performed together on the concert platform. Shortly after Opera Gala 2000, Linda and Malcolm will be off for an extended period of working as a duo in what, for them, will be a new venture. They have been engaged by the prestigious Travel Company, Page & May, to perform together on their famous Rhine Cruises throughout the summer.

JULIAN MOYLEAlthough born in Melbourne, Australia, Julian Moyle studied at The Royal College of Music in London.He was Principal Baritone with Sadler's Wells Opera [1960 - 1970), Welsh National Opera (1971 - 1982), and New Sadler's Well Opera (1983 - 1988). He has also appeared with such groups as Opera For All, The Oval Opera Covent Garden, Handel Opera and Neath Opera at Craig-y-Noo in Wales.

Julian has toured widely in Europe with Sadler's Wells and Welsh National Opera, including such centres as Barcelona and Lisbon. His leading roles include Figaro, and Bartolo ("The Barber of Seville"), Figaro and Bartolo  I he Marriage of Figaro"), Malatesta, Germont,
Thapless, Marcel and Alfonso, among many others, besides numerous leading roles in operetta and Gilbert & Sullivan.

Julian also has an extensive concert repertoire comprising Lieder, Melodies, Oratorio, ballads and songs. As if this is not sufficient, he enjoys teaching at his Cardiff studio.

Maite Gea Baños (Choreographer)

Maite Gea BañosShe runs her own dance studio, in which are offered various alternatives with coherence and continuity in the adequacy of each programme, amongst which is found the teaching of international ballroom dancing for mixed groups, with excellent results.

She has diplomas (is licensed) in classical ballet and in Spanish dance from the higher school of dance in Alicante. She studied International Ballroom dancing under the instruction of Professor D. Julian Sierra Jiménez. She has also studied classical ballet of the Russian school, superior level, with Uly and John Marshall.

Other studies include: - Anatomy applied to dance and coursed for prevention of drug dependence for young mediators from 1984 up to date, she has collaborated and choreographed in the artistic directing of shows at the presentation of "Fires" and at local Fiestas. Also in numerous shows, which have been carried out by her pupils of an amateur status.

Every year since 1979, she celebrates an end of term festival in which all of her students participate.
In 1996, she entered, together with Julian Sierra, the first National Championship of Spain for Ballroom Dancing and obtained the Classification of Sub champion of Spain in Latin Dance.

Alexander Herold (Production Director)

Alexander HeroldHas worked in the U.K. with the Glasgow Citizens' Theatre and Chichester Festival Theatre. After a time in Paris (at the "Casino de Paris"), then Rome , he returned to England to join the Birmingham Repertory Theatre, and then the Prospect Company at the Old Vic. He has directed many shows, from Shakespeare to West End musicals, plus many national tours including "Say Who You Are", Tom Stoppard's "Night and Day”, "House Guest"; "The Constant Wife", "They're Playing Our Song", plusthe Canadian productions of "Underground" with Raymond Burr. Productions in London include Christopher Hampton's "Total Eclipse".

In 1983 came his first contact with the comedy "Noises Off', in London's Savoy Theatre. He also directed a production of this play in Buenos Aires, ("Entretelones"); in Madrid ("AI Derecho yal Revés") with a Spanish cast. Later he also directed it in Barcelona ("Pel Davant.... iper Darrera") which was a huge success. This transferred to Valencia to the Teatro Princesa. Other Spanish productions include "Lend Me A Tenor" and "Not Now Darling."

In Opera, he was assistant to John Copley on "Norma", with Margaret Price, at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. In 1999 he directed Donizetti's "La Fille Du Régiment" forthe Ópera Cómica de Barcelona, and later directed Offenbach's "La Vie Parisienne" for the same company. Last year, at the Lincoln Centre in New York, he narrated and directed a concert version of his ancestor's opera "Zampa" conducted by Yves Abel. Future plans include Simon William's comedy "Nobody's Perfect" in Madrid.

John Bennetts (stage director)

John BennettsBorn in Penryn, Cornwall, John comes from a musical family and has been connected with show business from the day he was born. His mother played with a dance band and his interest in music was fostered, first by sitting him at the piano at the age of three, and then by sending him to a highly qualified teacher. By the age of ten he was performing in public, not only as a musician, but also as a naturally talented dancer!
John's cousin, a member of The Black and White Minstrel Show, introduced him to an agent in London, who showed great interest. It was he who suggested that John should train in ballet to add more poise to his style of dance. Jack Billings of Shepherds Bush accepted John as a student, where a great friend and fellow pupil was the now famous Brian Rogers. John was also attending classes at the Festival Ballet and often danced for them. Consequently, by the age of twenty-one, he was dancing ballet, tap and modern stage six days a week. John's big break came with a part in a Bristol show starring comedian Harry Worth and, from then on, there was no looking back. He went to work with many famous people, including Danny La Rue, Bob Hope, Jimmy Clitheroe and, at the prestigious London Palladium, Racquel Welch. He danced in Lionel Bart's musical film, Oliver, and made many appearances at top venues throughout Britain and on UK television.
After a long, enjoyable and successful career in dance, John went to work for Lee Spiller, a very well known theatre costumier, making costumes for the BBC. From there he moved to the Wardrobe Department of the English National Opera, and it was on an ENO tour that he was approached by ATV (later Central Television) in Birmingham to work in their Wardrobe Department. Over the years he worked his way up through middle management and held the position of Senior Production Buyer when he retired. John also worked on the film Made in Spain and has collaborated closely with Spanish television's TV2.

Siân Carlin (piano accompaniment)

Siân CarlinSiân Carlin is a native of Wales, and she trained as a musician at the Royal Academy of Music in London, England.

Her busy and varied career has taken her to Africa and also to the West Indies. Nowadays she concentrates on conducting choirs and she also writes music.

John A Booth (Chairman Careline Theatre Group)

John A BoothJohn retired to Spain in 1994 after over 40 years working in professional theatre. He learned the business in professional weekly rep with various companies before broadening his experience on the technical side dealing with lighting, sound, props and on to stage management as well as performing. It was then a short step into company and theatre management finishing as a theatre general manager. As he climbed the administrative ladder, the opportunities to `tread the boards' became more limited. The Careline Theatre situation not only allows him to exercise his talents in every aspect of the theatre, including acting and directing, but gives the rest of the members the chance to learn from him the professional ways and means as we go along. His breadth of knowledge of the workings of every aspect of the theatre must be almost unique and we are so fortunate that he cares to share his knowledge and enthusiasm with us. Without John's contribution, Careline Theatre would not have been a viable project from the start. The success we have achieved in so short a time is testament to his ability, training, experience and willingness to get his hands dirty and to help even the most raw of amateurs. John's overriding maxim, which he tries hard to instil in all of the membership is: `Never be satisfied'.
He now lives in Orba with his lovely choreographer wife, June, and a crazy Alsatian named Elsa and, at the moment, retirement seems as far off as ever!

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