Before The Bear goes into hibernation…

The Bear

Goodnight and Thank You from our tired but happy Bear

Before The Bear finally goes into hibernation we wanted to say thank you to everyone who came along to our first ever SmallStages tour, and to all the venues who have looked after us so well along the road!

Altogether 1199 people have seen the show in 16 venues from churches and village halls to miners’ welfare theatres and community run venues right across Wales.

We’ve had a brilliant reception from audiences everywhere – from 19-year-old Amanda from Ystrad Mynach who saw the show in Cwmbran:

“A brilliant performance, wonderful singers and musicians, well put together and a very interesting approach to opera.”

From a gentleman who joined us in Hay for his first opera at the age of 71

“A wonderful experience, live opera in Hay and my first opera at 71 years of age, marvellous.”

We’ve had feedback in Russian “ОЧЕН ХОРОШО. СПАСИБО!” – which we hope means “very good, Thankyou.”

And we’ve entertained everyone from seasoned opera-goers who know and love opera like this lady from Presteigne who got in touch via Facebook:

“Have just seen/heard your wonderful performance in Presteigne. Brilliant and funny. Talented musicians and singers. Loved every minute and hardly stopped giggling – have never seen opera like this. Perhaps I won’t need to travel to London for my opera fix any more. Can’t wait to see Onegin in Brecon.”

There was a group of young ladies in Cwmbran who came along to see what an opera might be like – and loved every minute despite the lack of teddy bears…

“My first time and enjoyed it but was waiting for a proper bear”

A huge thanks as well, to our venues – for the make-shift dressing rooms sets up in vestries, the help with loading and unloading, the tea, coffee and patience and for putting up posters and helping to get the word out to the audience as we’ve been on tour.

This has been our first tour working with Night Out as well – the brilliant Arts Council of Wales scheme which helps volunteer promoters bring live arts programming to the heart of communities across Wales. Thanks so much to our Night Out promoters in Aberdaron, Denbigh, Cilgerran, Aberystwyth Museum, Barmouth, Aberdovey, Hay on Wye and Cwmbran for being brave and sharing our vision of bringing opera to everyone!

We weren’t sure what to expect from our first SmallStages tour – we knew we wanted to take live opera, with a reduced arrangement and musicians rather than just a piano – to places where you would never normally see it. We wanted to share our passion for opera – and to break down some of the barriers which stop people coming along because they think it’s not for them.

We’ve been blown away by the reception we’ve had (as well as by the 50mph winds in Aberdaron) – diolch o galon!

We’re already planning our next Autumn Adventure and we can’t wait to bring more live opera to more communities across Wales in the Spring with Eugene Onegin!

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