OMTF // Opera Restor'd
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Address:Opera Restor'd
54 Astonville Street
London SW18 5AJ  
Tel:+44 20 8870 7649
Peter HolmanArtistic Director/MD
Caroline AndersonManager
Let's Make an Opera - The Bard goes Baroque in an 18th Century SatireMay 2015
Hand Made Opera teams up with Opera Restor'd to revive an 18th century comedy based on Shakespeare's Pyramus and Thisbe

In 1745 the thing to see (and be seen at) in London was Italian opera, especially Handel.  It was immensely popular and there was little enthusiasm for the homegrown product unless it was ballad opera like The Beggar’s Opera or parodies that made fun of the fashionable Italian product with its melodramatic plots, elaborate music and scenic effects, and infamous, competitive divas.  J.F. Lampe, whose day job was that of a basoonist in Handel’s orchestra, was particularly adept at this and his most famous parodies such as Pyramus and Thisbe were very successful.

The entrepreneur Mr Semibrief plans to revitalise English opera and make his fortune by taking the successful Italian model and combining it with an English text and singers (avoiding the necessity to “purchase performers at exorbitant prices”).  He takes his text from the familiar comic interlude within A Midsummer Night’s Dream (including a melancholy moon, a cowardly lion, a disgruntled wall and two bumbling Roman lovers) and his music from J.F. Lampe, whose Handelian parody The Dragon of Wantley, a few years earlier had been a smash hit.  When demonstrated to a potential patron Pyramus and Thisbe reveals all the foibles of a full-blown Italian production and doesn’t have quite the effect he intends...

Opera Restor’d’s successful touring production is being recreated for the York International Shakespeare Festival by Hand Made Opera.  The period instrument orchestra will be directed by Opera Restor’d founder and acclaimed early music expert, Peter Holman.

The Opera Restor’d/Hand Made Opera production of J.F. Lampe’s Pyramus and Thisbe can be seen at the York International Shakespeare Festival on May 10 at the National Centre for Early Music, York.