For the past few years, I have been involved in the wonderful and eccentric event that is the Stoke Newington Opera Cabaret. It’s a simple enough idea – the audience crowds onto long tables and listens appreciatively while we (a select band of pro singers) perform serious and less serious numbers from the operatic repertoire, linked by a running commentary from compère Adey Grummet. The interval allows everyone to eat their Glyndebourne-style picnic and buy more wine from the bar (proceeds to charity), after which the audience is much more disposed to join in the audience-participation section of the evening, which traditionally includes Va pensiero from Nabucco (in Italian, of course). After a few years of regular attendance, many people now have it off by heart.
This year the Cabaret took place on November 9 at the Round Chapel in Hackney. The event used to happen in Stoke Newington Town Hall, but had to find other premises when the Town Hall was refurbished, and the quirky charm of the Round Chapel now suits it very well. Indeed the event is so popular that it sells out well in advance, raising significant sums of money for charity and providing a fantastic local get-together. The idea works so well that there are now plans for a sister event in Primrose Hill.
It’s not just a lovely event for the guests, who undeniably have a great time, but also for the performers. A big friendly space to sing into and a big friendly audience which is conspicuously on the performers’ side, together offer a wonderful opportunity to try out new repertoire in a same environment.
The Primrose Hill Cabaret will be on April 19, 2015 – more information here.
Get your tickets now. I suspect they may sell out rather fast!