Singers answer Haddo call

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Haddo House Choral and Operatic Society’s preparations have been anything but smooth for their forthcoming production of Puccini’s opera La Boheme.

Of the six soloists booked in January, an unprecedented four pulled out, leaving the society frantically looking for replacements and having to make changes to the printed programme in time for next week’s opening night.

The singers playing Schaunard and Marcello withdrew last week for family reasons and have been replaced by Kiwi baritone Julien Van Mellaerts and Scottish baritone Douglas Nairne respectively.

Dougie is a regular at Haddo House and has squeezed this booking in between appearing as Onegin with Opera Bohemia and commitments in Spain and for Glasgow Cathedral over Easter.

Other soloists are Natasha Day, Gianluca Paganelli, Eleanor Dennis and Joseph Padfield.

The society’s musical director Alice Dennis said: “The cast is now secure and most have arrived at Haddo. They are bonding well and are starting rehearsals with conductor Timothy Dean whilst staying in a holiday house at Tolquhon.

“There is a real buzz about the production and everyone is enjoying singing the spectacularly beautiful music.

“The scenery is painted, costumes are being altered and the professional orchestra is due to arrive over the weekend.

“This is a great opportunity for the public, some of whom may never have seen an opera before, to see one of the world’s greatest musical dramas in the intimate and lovely setting of Haddo House Hall.”

Performances are on Friday and Saturday, April 18 and 19, at 7.30pm. There are some tickets left at www.hhcos.org.uk/boxoffice They cost £16 and £8 (under 25s). For further details call 01651 851111.