‘No delusions of grandeur just happy music lovers out to enjoy themselves’

One of the region’s premier musical societies don’t want people to be put off or daunted by their pre-concieved ideas about opera.

Tuesday, 14th January 2014, 7:00 am
Preston Opera Group
Preston Opera Group

Preston Opera are an amateur operetta group who regularly perform at the Charter Theatre Guild Hall.

The group was formed by Frank Salter in 1966 and members are hoping more people will embrace the entertaining form of musical theatre.

Committee member Tony Leydon said: “please do not be put off by terms such as ‘Grand Opera’. “When I first joined, I was daunted by those words. But at my very first rehearsal, none of the people I met were particularly ‘Grand’.

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Preston Opera Group

“They were the same cross section of people you might find in any society, no pretensions, no delusions of grandeur just a very happy band of music lovers out to enjoy themselves.”

The group’s first production was Mozart’s Don Giovanni and their most recent performance was Pagliacci in October 2013.

And Leydon said: “The bit that the public see, is only the tip of the iceberg.

“Behind the scenes there are other teams, costumes, both design and manufacture, make up, stage set design and construction, lighting design, stage management, property procurement, and management.

“There is something for everyone. In my case it is the thrill of being part of a group who can produce such wonderful sounds.

“But to achieve the high standards for which Preston Opera is noted, calls for dedicated team work.”

The company has around 100 active members and they are currently preparing for their next production La Belle Helene in June.

The performance will be staged at the Charter Theatre on June 5, 6 and 7.

The group are looking for singers with opera, opretta or no experience at all to join the production.

Props manager Sonia Brett said: “Preston Opera has given me fun, friendship and fulfilment for over twenty years.

“I’d encourage people to join as the joy of singing in a group supported by like minded people is uplifting.

“La Belle Hélène, is a good opera to start with, as it is light- hearted and funny with lovely music.”

Natalie Lamb of Buckshaw Village’s favourite role was that of temptress Giulietta in Offenbach’s The Tales of the Hoffmann.

“Opera might not be seen as the thing to do when you’re younger and some people give you a quizzical look when you tell them.

“But it’s fun! You get such a sense of accomplishment when you master some tricky music, and when all the chorus all come together it sounds wonderful.

“I love the thrill of performing and you never know, you might meet your future husband or wife at the club –I did!”

Preston Opera’s secretary Barbara Walsh wants more people to give the classical performance a try.

She said: “I had enjoyed watching several Preston Opera performances and decided that I would like to join.

“I went along to my first rehearsal in 2005, hoping that the place wouldn’t be full of theatrical ‘luvvies’. It wasn’t, and I have made some great friends over the years.

“If you appreciate wonderful music and find the idea of performing on stage exciting, why not come along to our next rehearsal on Thursday evening?”

If you wish to join Preston Opera pop down to rehearsal every Thursday from 7.30pm at the Carey Christian Centre, Pole Street, email Barbara at: [email protected] or visit


Preston Opera rehearse at 7.30 every Thursday night at the Carey Christian Centre in Preston’s Pole Street. They are currently preparing for their next performance of La Belle Helene in June. The thriving group is always on the look out for chorus singers, especially tenors and basses.