About Kennet Opera

Kennet Opera is an amateur company formed in 1993 by a group of friends who wanted to perform the music they loved in their home town. Over the years, this ever-widening group has remained dedicated to bringing opera and concert song to Newbury, West Berkshire and places nearby.

In everything we do we strive for high professional standards, while always remembering that the point of our existence is to give pleasure to our audience, and in doing so to have a really good time ourselves.

We are a registered charity, number 1110637.

Main productions

We present one large-scale production, sung in English, each year. In November 2017 we returned to Arlington Arts just outside Newbury with The Marriage of Figaro (below) and in 2018 we'll stage a Purcell-and-Sullivan double bill.

Finale of Figaro

Check our 24 years of grand opera ….

The concert stage

Concert performances in halls,churches and other local venues are a vital part of our year's work. 2017 saw our most ambitious and original concert production visit Newbury, Wantage, Hungerford and Stockcross. '1791: Mozart's Last Year' was a semi-staged performance, with music from the Requiem, The Magic Flute, Don Giovanni and La Clemenza di Tito, as recalled and introduced by Emanuel Shikaneder (Don Crerar).

Rehearsals

We normally meet Wednesday evenings in The Majendie Hall, Church Lane, Speen, Newbury RG14 1SA. Free parking! We've begun rehearsals for 2018, but you may want to contact us in advance to be sure.

If you haven't sung with us before, or are considering returning, do come along. We'll be very happy to meet you.

People

At our February 2016 AGM, James Mitchell was elected Chair. James has been an opera lover, both as performer and spectator, all his life. He is currently Artistic Director of Opera Unmasked which aims to encourage enjoyment and understanding of Opera. He is determined to build on the strong foundation of Kennet Opera.

justinbindley

We were delighted in February 2018 to welcome Justin Bindley as our new musical director. Based in Swindon, Justin, who has now begun taking rehearsals, sang professionally for over thirty years as an operatic baritone with major companies including English National Opera, Scottish Opera, Opera North, New D'Oyly Carte Opera, Carl Rosa Opera, New London Opera Players and English Bach Festival. He has sung in Britain and abroad and made several BBC recordings and proms appearances in such widely differing pieces as HMS Pinafore and Mussorgski's Boris Godunov.

In recent years Justin has concentrated on musical direction and coaching, having worked as MD for such groups as Voices2Go, the Salveo Singers and Ormond Opera. In 2011 he also conducted the world premiere of Liz Upham's Carmelite Mass.

KO chair James Mitchell said: "Justin is bringing a wealth of experience to the company and considerable ideas as to how we can move forward. We are looking forward to a long association with him."


Many members of the company remembered their colleague and friend David Bunney at a memorial service in Hungerford's United Reformed Church, 15 January 2018. The tributes to David speak for themselves, and you can see David in great form as Antonio the gardener in our Figaro, staged last November.

Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter