In January we welcomed Opera company Grassroots Opera to Endelienta. To find out a little bit more about them and what we can expect from their latest show ‘Orfeo ed Euridice’ we had a chat with company founders Anna Marie McLachlan and Chloe Stratta about all things operatic.
Tell us a little bit about Grassroots Opera and what made you decide to start the company?
Anna: Grassroots Opera was founded at the beginning of 2018 by soprano, Chloe Stratta, and mezzo-soprano, Anna Marie McLachlan. We had worked together on previous projects and wanted to bring a small company of young, professional singers together to present opera in an innovative and accessible way to rural locations. We hoped to perform opera, in its original language, in intimate settings to audiences who might not otherwise attend the big opera houses.
What’s the story of Orpheus and Euridice and what’s inspired this production?
Orfeo ed Euridice focuses upon the grief of Orfeo at the loss of his wife Euridice, and his journey into the underworld when given by Amore (the personification of love) one last chance to retrieve her from eternal bliss.
For our initial production, we wanted to find an opera with a small cast and an easily recognisable story. Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice, with its plot originating in Greek mythology, fits this perfectly. In our production, we managed to adapt the opera so that Amore takes on different guises, including the chorus line, therefore we did not need a chorus.
You work in the original language of the operas, does this ever present any difficulties?
We wanted to present the opera in its original language to keep the authenticity and beauty of the work. In order to make this accessible to our audience we provide a clear and detailed synopsis in our programme notes. The deep emotions are so poignant in the original text. However, we are aware that to convey them, to greatest effect, our gestures and characterisations have to be clear.
Finally, what drives you to produce work for rural locations and what are the biggest challenges and rewards?
We love bringing our production to communities which would not otherwise readily have access to opera. I have family roots in Somerset and Chloe lives in Devon so we both have an affinity with the West Country. The challenges are publicising to more scattered communities and choosing suitable, affordable venues. However, the rewards have been immense. It has been wonderful performing to audiences of all generations and receiving such positive feedback from regular opera goers and those who have attended an opera for the first time.
Orfeo ed Euridice is on at Endelienta on the 12th January 2019, tickets are £10 and free for accompanied under 16’s. For tickets and more information, please see: https://endelienta.org.uk/product/saturday-12-january-igrassroots-opera/