Welcome to Opera 74


Carmen is arrested - an excerpt from our recent production of Carmen

Based in Bolton, we are one of the North West's leading opera groups.

Opera 74 have just finished their very successful production of Gounod's Faust.

Rehearsals are held on Tuesdays from 7.30pm to 9.30/10pm. Rehearsal venue is The Christ Church Centre, Markland Hill, Heaton, BoltonBL1 5AH.

Further information from Doreen on 01204 695165


HISTORY OF OPERA 74

THE EARLY YEARS

It was over 40 years' ago in 1974 when Margaret Lindsay and Michael Greenhalgh made the decision to start an opera group which they decided to call Opera 74. What energy and determination they had in those far off days, but what an abundance of local talented singers there were in Bolton to give them the confidence to embark on such a madcap idea.

Their initial plan was to present early Operas, which they rightly believed required smaller orchestral forces, and smaller choruses. So their first Opera was Gluck's masterpiece "Orfeo". Margaret sang the part of Orfeo, one of her first memorable performances with Opera 74. Not only did she sing, but she also made all the wonderful costumes. This she continued to do until she decided to retire from the company.

Thus with 44 Subscribers and many singers eager to become members of Opera 74, Margaret and Michael began to explore the shelves at Manchester Music Library in search of interesting early operas. With scenery designed and built by Michael Sefton, who also directed for the first six years, they introduced little known operas by baroque composers such as Monteverdi, Pergolesi, Cimarosa, Purcell and Cavalli. Of course they did not neglect Rossini or Mozart. Indeed the performance of The Marriage of Figaro was the first of many of his operas that were also given in the Great Hall at Houghton Towers. Now under the direction of Jean Hansen they were always wonderful occasions.

The culmination of these early years was the superb production of Carmen in 1984 with Margaret in the title role. Margaret gave an electrifying performance, and for those who were there it was a never to be forgotten experience.

The Little Theatre stage was now no longer big enough for the much larger cast and orchestra demanded by the Romantic Operas that many wanted to do. It was therefore decided in 1985 to move to the beautifully restored Albert Halls. With Offenbach's Tales of Hoffmann the Albert Halls became "home" to Opera 74

THE PRESENT

The Albert Halls continued to be "home" to Opera 74 with annual opera productions until 2013. In 2014 Opera 74 went back to their roots at the Bolton Little Theatre with a production of Carmen for their 40th anniversary production.

Today Opera 74 continues to flourish with opera productions, concerts and the very popular '2 'til 4' coffee afternoons,

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