Past shows at West Road Concert Hall
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Stitches 狹路相縫March 2023Hong Kong, 2003 — a period-accurate depiction of two teens navigating queerness through an elitist school, two conservative families and three romantically and financially entangled grown-ups. Stitches is a timeless and humanistic tale, from a city which has been subject to wounds, healing and mending, where all of us crave space for ourselves. Oh also, did we mention: there will be modern pop dancing, numerous solo performances and a live band?
The Magic FluteFebruary 2023In one of Mozart’s final masterpieces, childlike adventure collides with fantasy, satire, and comedy. Underpinned by Mozart’s kaleidoscopic score, the music captures the timeless themes of love and deception whilst presenting some of the most popular music in the classical repertory, with show-stopping arias and fast paced ensemble numbers. After being saved from death by the three servants of the Queen of the Night, the prince Tamino meets Papageno, a bird catcher, before setting out to save his love, Pamina. Guarded by Sarastro and his priests, both Pamina and Tamino learn that all is not what it seems. Enter an enchanting land of adventure, and follow Tamino on his quest for love in the fantastical world of the Magic Flute.
The Pirates of PenzanceFebruary 2023An apprentice to a band of pirates, Frederic has turned 21 and has chosen to leave piracy forever. As he says farewell to his former colleagues, who should appear but the beautiful Mabel, daughter to the esteemed Major General Stanley, and her many sisters. The two fall in love, and despite the group initially being captured by the pirates, they are soon released as the pirates have a soft spot for orphans, which Major General Stanley exploits. But despite a seemingly perfect life ahead for Frederic and Mabel, the pirates soon find a way to get at Frederic's sense of duty to the pirates... We're excited to be bringing Gilbert and Sullivan's (arguably) most famous work - The Pirates of Penzance to the West Road Concert Hall!
Sleeping BeautyMarch 2022A powerful fairy. An evil enchantress. A prince who longs for love. And a beautiful princess trapped in endless slumber... Featuring Tchaikovsky's timeless music and the dancers of the Cambridge University Ballet Club, this ballet brings the classic fairytale of Sleeping Beauty to life. When an evil fairy curses Aurora to die on her sixteenth birthday, the good Lilac Fairy does everything in her power to save the princess, changing the sentence of death to one of slumber, an endless sleep that can only be broken with true love's kiss.
Die FledermausFebruary 2022
The GondoliersFebruary 2022The Cambridge University Gilbert and Sullivan Society are delighted to return to West Road Concert Hall to present The Gondoliers as our Mainshow in Lent 2022! Set in sunny Venice, The Gondoliers tells the story of the Palmieri brothers who hold mastery over the city's canals and the hearts of the local girls. But the arrival of the Spanish aristocracy along with the Grand Inquisitor presents a royal revelation and a serious identity crisis to the Gondolieri and their brides. With romance, political satire, roses white and roses red, The Gondoliers will be a show to remember. Of that there is no manner of doubt, no possible doubt whatever!
The Gondoliers [CANCELLED]February 2021N.B. this show has been cancelled Set in sunny Venice, The Gondoliers tells the story of the Palmieri brothers who hold mastery over the city's canals and the hearts of the local girls. But the arrival of the Spanish aristocracy along with the Grand Inquisitor presents a royal revelation and a serious identity crisis to the Gondolieri and their brides. With romance, political satire, roses white and roses red, The Gondoliers will be a show to remember. Of that there is no manner of doubt, no possible doubt whatever! The Cambridge University Gilbert and Sullivan Society are delighted to return to West Road Concert Hall to present it as our Mainshow in Lent of 2021!
A Midsummer Night's Dream And Other Dream Stories from the BalletFebruary 2020Cambridge University Ballet Club presents its annual Lent Show 2020. Overview This exciting show will feature not one, not two, but three ballets in a triple bill! The programme will be fast-paced and plot-driven, and provide lots and lots of opportunities for the club members of all experience levels to shine in various different ballet roles. The ballets are all connected by the theme of 'dreams', and all are presented as unabridged ballets just with about two hour of total running time. The performance will take place again at West Road Concert Hall, with three shows on 28 and 29 February 2020. This is an original production in terms of story adaptation, choreography, and theatrical aspects. With each story, the ballet club aims to deliver completely different atmospheres and vibes. Even though the main focus is on the classical ballet, the choreography is also inspired by various other dance styles - neoclassical, contemporary, Indian dance, and more. Plot The first piece on our programme will be The Sorcerer’s Apprentice music composed by Dukas. In this ten-minute story, we meet a young apprentice of magic who attempts to automate their task of filling a basin of water while their master the Sorcerer is away, to nearly disastrous effect. The broom that the apprentice enchanted to carry buckets of water proves to be unstoppable, and before long a whole army of brooms marches across the stage spilling water everywhere! For our second piece, we will be presenting to our wider audience - Scheherazade, an original ballet produced by the club that successfully debuted as an ADC Late Show last year. This ballet is set to Rimsky-Korsakov’s symphonic interpretation of the Persian Folktale - One Thousand and One Nights. It tells the story of Scheherazade, a courageous young woman determined to end the murderous regime of a jealous Sultan by becoming his bride. She does so by telling stories, including those of Sinbad the Sailor and the Roc Birds, Alaeddin and the Wonderful Lamp, and Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves. After one thousand and one nights, Scheherazade runs out of the tales that have been keeping her alive, and the Sultan orders her to be executed at dawn. But as the Sultan sleeps, he dreams Scheherazade and the tales she told, and as he is haunted by the stories' characters, he begins to piece together the metaphor of his own life that she had woven into them. Shahryar awakens to see Scheherazade standing before him, heartbroken, and he embraces her tenderly, promising to spare her life and to love her forever as his Queen. The third and featured piece on our programme will be A Midsummer Night's Dream. Set to Mendelssohn's famous incidental music, this ballet tells a story of fairy mischief and pranks, adapted from the Shakespeare play of the same name. The Fairy King Oberon schemes to get back at his wife Titania for refusing to gift him a changeling child by making her fall in love with a man enchanted to look like a Donkey. Meanwhile, the mischevious Puck meddles in the affairs of two mortal couples, who in the end all marry happily.
La Cenerentola (or 'Cinderella')February 2020La Cenerentola is Rossini's exquisite opera based on the classic fairytale Cinderella. The story follows the kind and gentle Angelina, forced to live a life of drudgery by her vain and vacuous step-family. When it is announced that the Prince, Don Ramiro, is seeking a bride, Angelina has the chance to free herself. Rossini's retelling is more grounded than many versions, but no less magical and romantic. This ambitious production, the 2020 CUOS Mainshow, places the story in 1950s Rome, inspired by the classic Hollywood romance starring Audrey Hepburn, Roman Holiday. Beautiful sets and costumes evoking the Eternal City combine with Cambridge's finest singers and musicians to create a breathtaking night of opera.
The SorcererFebruary 2020Starry-eyed young lovers Alexis and Aline wish everyone in their village could be as happily besotted as they are. In a moment of well-meaning inspiration, Alexis hires John Wellington Wells, a sorcerer with questionable intentions, to brew a love-potion for their fellow citizens. All that remains is to slip the potion into the tea at the wedding feast... but though the villagers fall in love, they do so with the first person the see, no matter who it is - or how much they hate them! Will true love win through? Or are the villagers doomed to a life of joyless love? The Sorcerer is a funny, touching, and exciting fairy tale wrapped up in a wonderful comic operetta. The Cambridge University Gilbert and Sullivan Society are delighted to return to West Road Concert Hall to present it as our Mainshow in Lent of 2020!
Don QuixoteMarch 2019The Cambridge University Ballet Club presents their annual Lent Term show 'Don Quixote'. Set to the music of Ludwig Minkus and based on Miguel de Cervantes' famous novel 'Don Quixote de la Mancha', the ballet follows the journey of the ingenious nobleman 'Don Quixote' in his quest to achieve great feats and bring glory to his name.
CarmenFebruary 20191980s Seville. Carmen declares that any person she loves should beware. However, even she is unprepared for what will happen when she decides to seduce Don José, an army corporal who initially appears uninterested in her charms. Don José soon abandons his sweetheart Micaëla and his army job for Carmen, and joins her and her smuggler friends in the mountains. But Carmen quickly wearies of Don José's possessiveness. When she turns her attentions to the dashing toreador Escamillo, Don José's jealousy erupts into violence. This ambitious production, performed in the original French (with English subtitles) with full orchestra, will bring together some of Cambridge University's finest musicians, actors and dancers to create a truly spectacular evening.
The MikadoFebruary 2019Nanki-Poo loves Yum-Yum. Just one snag. She’s betrothed to Ko-Ko, the new Lord High Executioner. And Ko-Ko needs to find someone to execute. Otherwise, it’s his own neck on the block. Maybe Ko-Ko and Nanki-Poo can come to some arrangement… without anyone losing their head? Exchanging 19th-century Japan for 1920s Brooklyn, this production of the best-loved of Gilbert and Sullivan’s operettas promises to be one of the theatrical highlights of the Cambridge year.
Swan LakeMarch 2018One of the most popular ballets of all time, Swan Lake tells the story of the beautiful princess Odette who is turned into a swan by the evil sorcerer Rothbart’s wicked curse, so strong it can only be broken by the power of true love. Over 100 dancers from the Cambridge University Ballet Club are coming together to choreograph and perform this four-part ballet. Join us from 2nd-3rd March 2018 at West Road Concert Hall to share in what will be an unforgettable experience.
L'elisir d'amore (The Elixir of Love)February 2018The CUOS mainshow is the operatic highlight of the Cambridge calendar, this year bringing Donizetti's sparkling comedy to the Music Faculty. Sung in Italian (with English surtitles), and with full orchestra and chorus, this stars many of the University's finest singers, including Anna Wagner, Henry Websdale, Olivia Brett, Louis Wilson and James Quilligan, under the baton of Edward Reeve. This is a fully-staged production, suitable for all the family, directed by Gareth Mattey and Judith Lebiez.
RuddigoreFebruary 2018A terrible curse condemns each baronet of Ruddigore to commit one crime per day or die. Sir Ruthven Murgatroyd has gone into hiding to avoid the curse and lives in a Cornish village where he has fallen in love with the fair Rose Maybud. His prospects are ruined when his foster brother Dick Dauntless betrays him to Sir Despard Murgatroyd, the acting baronet. Ruthven is forced to take on the baronetcy and its curse, enforced by an entire portrait gallery of ghastly ancestors. Ruddigore is an operatic satire of victorian melodrama and combines comic opera with some of Sullivan's most majestic music.
The Rake's ProgressFebruary 2017Cambridge University Opera Society presents Stravinsky's neoclassical opera at West Road Concert Hall. Based on Hogarth's paintings, this is a Faustian tale of decadence, corruption and retribution, oozing with of wit and dark humour.
Giselle - CU Ballet Club Annual ShowFebruary 2017
HMS PinaforeFebruary 2017Aboard the HMS Pinafore, sailor Ralph Rackstraw loves but loves, alas, above his station in this tale of love, loss, rank and class. With rousing anthems, beautiful arias and some of Gilbert's best writing, HMS Pinafore is one of the most famous and well-loved of all the Savoy Operas and this production is sure to be a spectacle that is not to be missed!
R+J: a new interpretation of Prokofiev's Romeo and JulietFebruary 2016
A Midsummer Night's DreamFebruary 2016This year's CUOS Mainshow is A Midsummer Night's Dream, an opera by Benjamin Britten - an enchanting adaptation of the famous play by William Shakespeare. There will be three evening performances of the production, plus a matinee performance on the Saturday afternoon at 1330.
IolantheFebruary 2016A troupe of Lords tangle with a swarm of mischievous fairies as they try to woo the much-desired Phyllis. However, Phyllis is in love with Strephon – half-fairy, half-mortal, a lowly shepherd and nephew of the Fairy Queen). When the pompous lords break up the happy couple, the fairies vow revenge. Installing one of their own, the hapless Strephon, in Parliament, they incite liberal rebellion. Frivolity ensues as lofty lords and feisty fairies collide in the ever bumpy road to love.
Eugene OneginFebruary 2015Tchaikovsky's celebrated lyric opera tells a tragic story of love, friendship and betrayal. On one of his visits to the countryside to court his beloved Olga, Lensky brings along his friend Onegin. Olga’s sister, Tatyana, falls madly in love with the stranger, and writes him an impassioned letter. Onegin spurns her advances, but his rash behaviour leads to accusations of foul play between him and Olga. Lensky challenges Onegin to a duel, which Lensky loses. Years later, Onegin meets Olga, now married, again; Onegin realises he is in love with her, and begs her forgiveness but, bound to her marriage, Olga must leave him dejected and alone. This production sets the drama in 1920s Russia, and sees the agonising human drama mirrored in the descent of revolutionary optimism into the realities of life under Stalin's rule. CUOS’ annual Main Show is the biggest and most exciting production of the year! It’s an amazing opportunity for students to produce a high quality opera in West Road Concert Hall, which will be seen by 1000-2000 people.
Kiss Me, KateJanuary 2015Kiss Me, Kate centres on the production of a musical version of Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew and the on and off-stage tensions between Fred Graham, the show's director, producer, and star, and his leading lady and ex-wife Lilli Vanessi. As the musical progresses, the lives of the actors begin to mirror the action of the plot, and the lines between backstage and on-stage are blurred. A secondary romance concerns Lois Lane, the actress playing Bianca, and her gambler boyfriend, Bill, who runs afoul of some gangsters. Kiss Me, Kate is a fun, frothy and fizzy romantic comedy that's too darn hot to handle!
CUPO presents 'Great Adventures: From the Enchanted Forest to Middle Earth'January 2015Following the phenomenal success of 'An Evening of Rodgers and Hammerstein Classics', CUPO returns to West Road Concert Hall to perform a magical evening of adventurous classics. Featuring Paul Patterson's work inspired by Roald Dahl's 'Little Red Riding Hood' and Howard Shore's iconic music from the Lord of the Rings films. This event is not to be missed!
CUPO: A Rodgers and Hammerstein SpectacularOctober 2014CUPO returns for its first concert of the 2014/15 Season, following the success of Disney in Trinity 2: The Bells of Notre-Dame. Featuring a selection of Rogers & Hammerstein's greatest hits, in their original glorious orchestrations, this event is not to be missed. The numbers will be performed by the top instrumental musicians in Cambridge, with a top choir to match and the highest quality soloists around. Visit www.campops.co.uk for more information.
The Phantom of the Opera in ConcertJune 2014A University Concert Performance by arrangement with The Really Useful Group Ltd. The most successful stage musical of all time comes to Cambridge for a special one off concert, performed exclusively by Cambridge University students. The Phantom of the Opera has wowed audiences for a record breaking 28 years on the West End, and with special permission from The Really Useful Group Ltd., West Road will become Phantom’s Opera House on Friday 13th June 2014. Using the new orchestrations from the 25th Anniversary Concert at The Royal Albert Hall, 45 exceptional musicians combined with Cambridge’s finest singing talent will perform this spectacular score in concert form. Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber Lyrics by Charles Hart Additional lyrics by Richard Stilgoe Book by Richard Stilgoe & Andrew Lloyd Webber Based on the novel “Le Fantome de ‘l’Opéra” by Gaston Leroux Originally directed by Harold Prince Orchestrations by David Cullen & Andrew Lloyd Webber Original production by Cameron Mackintosh Ltd. and The Really Useful Group Ltd.
Don GiovanniFebruary 2014From the moneyed aristocracy to the working classes, freedom seems on the horizon. Zerlina and Masetto are getting married. The Commendatore’s daughter is tying the knot, too. It seems that hope is finally in the picture. Soon to put a spanner in these happy works, though, is the return of the wealthy libertine Don Giovanni. After years of hedonistic womanising, he goes on leave from his military service for what he thinks will be the ultimate weekend of decadence and debauchery. As Don Giovanni is confronted with lovers past, present and future, his quick wit and ambition begins to get the better of him, and his web of seduction starts to unravel.
The Pirates of PenzanceFebruary 2014The Cambridge University Gilbert & Sullivan Society proudly presents THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE. This timeless comic opera comes to West Road Concert Hall from 5th to 8th February. Frederic has just finished his apprenticeship with a band of pirates; Mabel is out with her sisters for a day at the beach – they meet, and it's love at first sight. But the pirates have an unpleasant surprise in store for our hero… One of Gilbert & Sullivan’s best-loved comedies, The Pirates of Penzance features classic numbers such as ‘The Pirate King’, ‘I am the Very Model of a Modern Major General’, and ‘With Cat-like Tread’. Join a crop of not-so-ruthless pirates, not-so-fearless policemen, and not-so-helpless young maidens for a swashbuckling and hilarious adventure. FAMILY MATINÉE Child tickets for our matinée performance are half-price with the purchase of an adult ticket. Families can sign up to attend a free post-matinée tea and biscuits reception with the cast by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Group discounts are available through the box office for bookings of more than ten persons.
AtalantaApril–May 2013The free-spirited Princess Atalanta has escaped to the forest to live as a huntress. Smitten Prince Meleagro will do anything to win her affection – even disguise himself as a lowly shepherd. When the royal pair get mixed up in the romantic tribulations of a real shepherd and shepherdess, comedy and heartbreak inevitably ensue. Handel’s delightful pastoral opera includes all the hallmarks of his style: lightness, energy, humour and passion, culminating in jubilant celebration once the course of true love finally does run smooth.
The Cunning Little VixenFebruary 2013Deep within the woods, a naive fox cub stumbles into a Forester's clutches. Tied up in a yard, she grows up dreaming of freedom. Battling the banality of her existence, surrounded by egg-layers and stick-fetchers, her frustration builds until, in a moment of fury, she breaks loose. Pursued by her captor, she returns to the wild for the first time since her childhood. Around her, the forest teems with life. Dragonflies dance, badgers doze and a riot of animals resound the coming Spring. As the months pass, the Vixen discovers the world, topples established order and finds love. But before the last season is out, she and the Forester will meet one more time. From a simple folk tale, this opera weaves a dazzling evocation of nature - of life and death, marriage and regret, drunkenness and unrequited love, fear, pride, grief and, of course, foxes. Janáček fills the stage with all forms of life, human and animal, in a rich tapestry of stories which ultimately coalesce to tell just one – that of the Cunning Little Vixen. Cambridge University Opera Society’s 2013 Mainshow will combine dance, song, movement, music and more to bring this profound, beautiful, unsentimental opera to the West Road stage, assembling the university’s top performers and creative talents to create a visually spectacular, musically stunning, unmissable show.
A Dream within a Dream: Purcell's Fairy Queen Re-ImaginedNovember 2012Purcell’s opera, “The Fairy Queen”, is based on William Shakespeare’s “Midsummer Night’s Dream”. However, the original spoken text that links the musical episodes together no longer exists, leaving a fragmentary selection of arias sung by drunken poets, frustrated lovers, and mischievous fairies. Taking the incomplete nature of Purcell’s “Dream” as a starting point, this production plans to put on a “Fairy Queen” like you’ve never seen before: William Shakespeare is struggling with writer's block, and after resorting to the bottle out of desperation, falls asleep over his desk. The dreams that follow will provoke an unmissable night of reverie and revelry, interweaving Purcell's original music (accompanied by a live orchestra) with extracts from several of Shakespeare’s plays, the poetry of T.S Elliot and Edgar Allen Poe, and even the writing of Sigmund Freud. The same team that brought you “Orpheus and Eurydice” in Clare College Chapel in April is looking for a talented performance troupe of 8 singers – 2 soprano, 2 alto, 2 tenor, 2 bass (1 to play the role of William Shakespeare throughout), who are all guaranteed prominent solo roles, as well as sustained stage presence in additional chorus roles. Arias will be cast following auditions, and singers will inhabit multiple roles. Singers will ideally return to Cambridge in September having learnt their parts over the summer, and rehearsals will begin as soon as term starts for the performance in Week 5. There may also be the possibility for additional performances in Michaelmas in more alternative venues…
Die FledermausFebruary 2012Cambridge University Opera Society’s production places this much-loved farce in the privileged world of twenty-first century young socialites. Bubbling with infectious energy and fizzing with melodious charm, Strauss’s Die Fledermaus will leave you as giggly as those onstage (champagne optional). Prince Orlofsky is throwing a party, and Falke has orchestrated some real-life drama for the Prince’s entertainment. All in revenge for the time his best friend Eisenstein left him in the middle of town, passed out and dressed as a bat... Everyone who’s anyone is going to be there. They just don’t want each other to know. Eisenstein should be in prison so he’s keeping a low profile, especially as police-chief Frank is also there in disguise. Eistenstein’s wife, having left her former lover locked up in her husband’s prison cell, is also keen to conceal her identity. Their maid Adele should be tending to her sick aunt, not partying with her sister. With the help of a bit of waltzing and copious amounts of champagne, everyone’s identities will be exposed, and their philandering revealed.
Far from the Madding CrowdFebruary 2012'Far from the Madding Crowd' is a new opera written by Barnaby Martin, a student in Trinity College, based on Hardy's novel. It is the epitome of addictive love stories. Set in the rural landscape of Hardy’s fictitious ‘Wessex’, it follows the turbulent affairs of Bathsheba Everdene and her relationship with three men, all of whom fall deeply in love with her. It is a dramatic portrayal of love and loss and everything in between. This is the first time ever that a new full-scale opera has been put on in Cambridge.
Peter and the WolfOctober 2011Experience the charms of Prokofiev’s children’s fairytale, Peter and the Wolf which has inspired generations of young musicians and is a treat not to be missed! This special performance for schools and families will draw on the talents of Cambridge University musicians to bring alive a beautiful piece of music which will capture the imaginations of all the young people attending and introduce the world of classical music in a magical way. The performance will be conducted by Harry Ogg, narrated by Oskar McCarthy and a new set of graphics will be designed and displayed by Daniel Strange to help bring the performance to life. The concert will also include an interactive guessing game based on a performance of The Carnival of the Animals to get the children more involved in the music.
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