The live performance closing Signal, presented by the Mezzo-Soprano Bronwen Stephens-Harding, was the icing on the cake of the festival: three different arias in three different languages, showcasing three different characters and their views on love.
The first one was in what is often championed as the language of love: French. The opera was the famous Georges Bizet “Carmen”, long criticised for its focus on everyday life. Bronwen interpreted the aria “Habanera” and the vision of Bizet’s bold heroine Carmen, who lives her life unfettered by conventions and convictions when it comes to love.
The second opera was by the Austrian composer Robert Stolz, “Der Favorit”, a beautiful painting of post-second world war Berlin, constrained and slaughtered, where the singer is conjuring a magical world filled with thousand thoughts of love.
“Du sollst der Kaiser meiner Seele sein”
“Ich weiß ein Land, das ohne Schranken …”
The last opera, by the Italian author Gioachino Rossini, is called “L’italiana in Algeri”, and it depicts the brave Isabella leaving for a long journey to rescue her lover, who had been captured and enslaved by the Turkish Empire. The adventure of a thousand vicissitudes shows how powerful a woman in love is, who uses all her cunning and weapons of seduction to save her man.
3 languages, 3 countries, 3 characters, 3 different stories, that moved us, regardless of our mother tongue, because no matter what language we speak, love and music is the one and only universal language, understood by all despite any differences.
It was a moving, riveting and truly uplifting performance and the perfect way to end the festival.
About Bronwen Stephens-Harding
At the age of eight, Bronwen declared her wish to be an opera singer. After a varied career, combining corporate marketing with busking, choral singing, opera performance and singing studies, she is now pursuing her dream full-time.
After achieving a Diploma in Opera & Performance from Associated Studios in London and working in the UK and Europe, Bronwen founded Rogue Opera in 2018 with a vision of bringing opera to new audiences and unconventional spaces. As well as singing the title role in Rogue Opera’s inaugural season of Bizet’s Carmen, Bronwen directed the production and saw it performed in a variety of venues.
Working with a dedicated troupe of musicians and seeing her concepts come to life on the stage have been a high point in her musical career, which continued with the company’s second season, presenting a vibrant, contemporary reimagining of Mozart’s Don Giovanni in 2019, which Bronwen directed. In the second revival tour she also performed the role of Donna Elvira.
The challenges presented by Covid-19 in 2020 have taken Bronwen and Rogue Opera into new ventures, broadcasting over 45 livestream performances and building an archive over 100 video performances of arias and ensembles, providing creative work for Rogue Opera artists and introducing new audiences to opera.
Delighted to be back to in-person events, Bronwen and Rogue Opera tour the country for gala performances and she has recently has created, written the English libretto and directed this new a production ‘A Modern Opera Love Story’ for Fuller’s Opera in the Garden.
The festival was a one-day event packed with insightful talks, networking opportunities, a panel discussion and a live opera show. Read more on what we did, connect with speakers and be inspired.