Wednesday, 21 August 2019

Opera singers return to the Fold for picnic concert

Opera singers return to the Fold for picnic concert

HENLEY-based charity Opera Prelude will again honour the memory of stage and screen star Beatrice Lillie with an outdoor concert later this month.

Titled “Jolly Boating Weather”, the concert will take place on Friday, August 16, at Peel Fold in Mill Lane, where Lillie lived for many years.

The recital starts at 6.30pm but the riverside gardens will be open for picnics from 3.30pm.

A spokesman for Opera Prelude said: “When famous stage and film actress Beatrice Lillie bought a magnificent riverside house at Henley, she often took friends such as Noël Coward, Ivor Novello, Laurence Olivier, John Gielgud and other celebrated actors, playwrights and critics on cruises up and down the river in her electric canoe, Beazie.

“Filled with candles, Beazie was often to be seen on the water in the evenings, with Lillie and friends on board singing at the tops of their voices. What a sight that must have been!

“At the peak of her performing career in the Twenties and Thirties, Beatrice Lillie was a star on both sides of the Atlantic.

“A performer of prodigious talent, her name is synonymous with the golden era of revue comedies and music-hall entertainment.

“Thanks to the generosity of the present owners, and in aid of three local charities, Opera Prelude’s young artists will recreate some of this past magic in an outdoor evening recital in this beautiful riverside setting.

“Featuring some much-loved musical favourites by Coward, Porter, Gilbert & Sullivan, and other personal friends of Lady Beatrice Lillie, rivers and seas everywhere are celebrated.

“In particular we rejoice in the venerable and multifarious Thames with its sun-soaked rowing contests, its pleasant boating trips, its proud naval history, intrepid explorers and pirates.”

Soloists set to perform on the night include soprano Mimi Doulton, mezzo soprano Felicity Turner and tenor Xavier Herrington, with pianist Natalie Burch accompanying.

Established in 2010, Opera Prelude is dedicated to supporting the next generation of operatic talent.

A share of the profits from the recital will go to three local charities — Thames Valley Adventure Playground, the Chiltern Centre and the RAW Workshop.

Tickets are £35 in advance only. For more information and to book, call 0207 183 7323 or visit

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