About Kennet Opera

Kennet Opera is an amateur company formed by a group of friends who wanted to perform the music they loved in their home town. Since our first performance in 1994, our 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. November 2019 saw us present The Magic Flute at Arlington Arts just outside Newbury.

In November 2018 we were at Arlington with a Purcell-and-Sullivan double bill. Below is the finale from 2017's main production, Figaro.

Finale of Figaro

Check our 24 years of grand opera ….

The concert stage

Concert performances in halls, churches and other local venues, through the spring and summer months, are a vital part of our year's work. For 2019, in Viva Verdi! we showcased some of the composer's finest work.

A very special performance came in September 2019, when we celebrated our first 25 years with a gala concert and supper. The music started with "Soave sia al vento" from our very first opera, Cosi fan tutte; and finished with the finale from The Magic Flute, which we're presenting in November 2019. Two moments:

ko25th-8508 ko25th-8472

Out and about

You'll see us fundraising (for ourselves or other good causes) at summer outdoor events like Newbury's Waterways Festival. And for Christmas 2018 here we were singing carols at a village market: Woolton Hill, near Newbury.



We normally meet Wednesday evenings in The Majendie Hall, Church Lane, Speen, Newbury RG14 1SA. Free parking! We'll be restarting rehearsals, after a break following Amahl and the Night Visitors, on 12 February at 7.30pm. If you're not on our mailing list you may want to contact us in advance to double-check.


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.


We were delighted in February 2018 to welcome Justin Bindley as our musical director. Based in Swindon, Justin 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."

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