Private Hatstand Opera Performances

Tanks for the memory: two divas and a pianist on a Chieftan tank

Tanks for the memory: two divas and a pianist on a Chieftan tank

We’re performing Vocal Vices for a private members only club in Henley on Thames on Thursday, and we know it’s going to be a great evening, because we’ve been entertaining there for the last nine years!

They keep inviting us back because we always offer them something new for their members; the latest show, or a bespoke show created especially around their chosen theme. I think that’s what has made Hatstand Opera so successful over the years; the ability to create innovative, fun shows that entertain all comers, for almost any venue and event!

Her’s some of the special shows we’ve created for clients:

• An operatic wine tasting – Music of the Vine – featuring guest expert wine tasters including Malcolm Gluck, Oz Clark and Charles Metcalfe.

• An operatic cookery demonstration with “Ready, Steady, Cook!” star Lesley Waters.

• The Opera Grand Tour, singing under specific paintings in exhibitions and collections at galleries such as London’s National Gallery, Dulwich Picture Gallery  and Courtaulds Gallery

• Site-specific events with tailor-made programmes in locations such as Trafalgar Square, the Broadgate development (six stories up on an unfinished Norman Forset building), National Trust properties including Belton House and Clandon Park, and the Tank Museum Bovingdon!

So, if you’ve got an unusual venue or event (or both), give us a call and challenge us to create something special for you!

A few words from our Hatstand Opera fans..

It’s always nice to know what our audience think of our shows, so we were particularly chuffed with some comments we received about recent Vocal Vices performances. Pardon us while we revel in the glory for a moment!

All of our party went home completely bowled over.
AF, Begbies Traynor, on “Vocal Vices” at Exbury Gardens

Wow what a fantastic evening! It was absolutely brilliant and all those many hours of planning and preparation certainly paid off. I think we have raised the standard of how we stage fundraising events and have the makings of a fantastic template for the future.
CM, Ashton Gray Recruitment, on “Vocal Vices” at Exbury Gardens

I wanted to write and thank you once again for a wonderful performance on Tuesday night. The show was so well put together and covered such a different range of music. This has been a difficult year for me and I have enjoyed the great comfort that music has bought me. To hear you all sing on Tuesday really lifted my spirits and I thank you all for that. I do hope that you have already been booked for next year!
KS, audience member, on “Vocal Vices” at Frinton-on-Sea

Couldn’t have put it better ourselves…

The Hatstand Opera show must go on!

What a superb night we had at Frinton yesterday – blue skies, a still and warm evening, and the nicest audience, who loved every minute of the show.

Once again, as I predicted, we attracted a crowd of passers-by who even abandoned a cricket game to come and watch us for a while. And we had a chance to meet again one of the nicest public toilet attendants in the UK, who pipes classical music through the spotlessly clean clifftop loo block in honour of our visit, and sits outside during the show to make sure he can hear us sing!

One group of young local lads were so keen to be part of a Hatstand Opera show in some way (we presume) that they decided to literally pull the plug on the marquee’s electricity supply halfway through our show-stopping rendition of ‘Delilah’. Plunged into darkness, we couldn’t even sing on, as our digital piano needs its 13amps to make a noise!

Yet within a couple of minutes (if that) the marquee technical crew had the power back on, and after we’d got over our giggles, we managed to finish the show to rousing applause and general delight all round.

The performance was dedicated to Australian soprano Toni’s sister Joy, who passed away last week. Toni managed to fly home to see her for the last day, and then returned to sing this performance in her sister’s memory, after a round trip to Sydney and back in just six days.

So, thanks to the good people of Frinton and we hope to entertain you all again next year.

Hatstand Opera are Fond of Frinton!

Hatstand Opera are back in Essex on Tuesday 4 August, presenting Vocal Vices at the Marquee on the Greensward, Frinton-on-Sea.

We’ve been performing in Frinton since 1996, entertaining audiences first at the WI Hall for the Music Society, and more recently in the marquee on the picturesque clifftops. In the marquee, we’ve had glorious sunny evenings, high winds that rattled the marquee (shaken but not stirred, I might add!), and gentle soft rain, but we always enjoy ourselves immensely, as the audiences are great!

And it’s not just the audience sitting in the seats that enjoy our shows; we tend to attract a crowd of people walking dogs, ‘ultra-cool’ teenagers, and rather lost Japanese tourists, standing just outside the open end of the marquee, curious as to why they can hear opera drifting across the clifftops! Often they are still standing there 30 minutes later, while the dogs have given up and are snoring at their feet!

What a super show ‘Vocal Vices’ has evolved into – audiences adore it. It follows the classic Hatstand Opera formula; bits of opera you’ll know from films or advertisements, operetta that tugs the heartstrings, and a whole series of songs that you’ll probably be itching to sing along with!

Tuesday 4 August at 7.30pm
Vocal Vices
Marquee on the Greensward, Frinton-on-Sea, Essex
Time: 7.30pm
Tickets: GBP6, available from:
Frinton Free Church, Connaught Ave – 01255 679585,
Frinton Parish Church, Old Road – 01255 679164,
& The Marquee on the Greensward (from 1st August).
Part of Frinton Mission week

Hatstand Opera and Matters Musical

July for Hatstand Opera is always a busy month of performance, but also for selling our Spring 2010 tour dates.

So, it’s been great to catch up with venues and promoters on the phone over the last week, as I have known some of them for over 15 years!

Since we first started performing opera highlights 16 years ago, Hatstand has enjoyed close associations with several of the UK’s top event organisers – or party promoters / entertainment agencies / corporate event organisers / music agencies / corporate event companies – take your pick!

One of our favourites by far is Matters Musical, run by Frank Warren, who says his company provides “the very best in live global music, dance and physical arts.”

What we love about Frank is that, to be in his database of performers, it’s always about the quality of the music. If you want to be associated with Matters Musical, you have to be good, full stop. As he says, “Our performers are the best in their individual fields, tried and tested for reliability, professionalism and ability.” Of course, you also need to give a great performance and entertain too, which is, I suspect, why Frank likes Hatstand Opera!

So, we are more than happy to give Frank and his company a big shameless plug, as he’s a great chap to work with, and shares our values of excellence and professionalism.

And his new website is really nice too! Give it a spin at

New tour date for Hatstand Opera’s Vocal Vices

Yes, another date to add to your diary!

Join us for this special Sunday show at Holywell House, at Swanmore, near Bishop’s Waltham, Hampshire.

Enjoy your delicious lunch, served in our special marquee in the delightful grounds at Holywell.

Then, sit back to enjoy your fabulous and funny performance of “Vocal Vices” by Hatstand Opera.

Book a table and bring a party – the more, the merrier!

Sunday 13th September 2009 at 12 noon
Vocal Vices
Holywell House, Swanmore, nr Bishop’s Waltham, Hants
Tickets: £15 including lunch
Available from: The Pinder Centre 01962 779 498
All proceeds to The Pinder Centre for Hydrotherapy and Physiotherapy

Hope you can join us!

Rocky Horror Show creator Richard O’Brien at Exbury!

I am so thrilled – Rocky Horror Show creator and Crystal Maze star Richard O’Brien is going to be presenting the prize draw after our show at Exbury Gardens this Saturday!

When I was a drama student, the Rocky Horror Picture Show was big, so big that it was probably a requirement to see it before you could pass your degree. It was gloriously indulgent, seedy yet decedent and naughty in the extreme, so having Richard (who also played Riff-Raff in the film) appear at the end of our ‘Vocal Vices’ performance is a perfect fit. He may even sing or tell a joke or two…

Full booking details for our Exbury Gardens performance at

See you there, and I’m the one in the electric blue fishnets…

What do you think of Hatstand Opera so far?

Rather than us keep telling you what a great show “Vocal Vices” is, or indeed what fun a Hatstand Opera show can be, we thought we’d let our audiences do the talking instead! Here’s a short Hatstand Opera video (OK, slide show with audio) of what the good folk of Chatteris said earlier this month about our performance of the Hatstand Opera show, “Lights, Camera…Action!”
HSO_audience_voxpop @ Yahoo! Video

Remember, all our Vocal Vices tour dates are under the “Tour Dates” tab (funny that), or here’s a quick summary:

Saturday 20 June 2009 at 7.30pm
Vocal Vices
St John’s Church, Walton, Chesterfield
Information: 01246 567118 / 861997 hatstand_opera.html

Tuesday 23 June, 6.45pm for 7.30pm
Vocal Vices (cabaret edition)
Sun Pavilion, Harrogate
Ticket includes 3 course meal & pre-event drink
Box Office: 01423 322 586

Saturday 27 June at 7.15pm
Vocal Vices
Exbury Gardens, Exbury, Hants
– Rides on Exbury’s Steam Railway and Hot Air Balloon available.
– A prebooked Guided Walk by John Anderson, Head Gardener of Exbury
– Refreshments available to purchase.
– Bring your own picnic, or picnics can be pre-ordered from Antonia on 023 8089 8737.
Book online at
Call 020 7902 1243 or email

Sunday 28 June at 7.30pm
Vocal Vices
Exeter Northcott Theatre, Exeter
Book online and see the seating plan!
Theatre box office: 01392 493 493

Tuesday 4 August at 7.30pm
Vocal Vices
Marquee on the Greensward, Frinton-on-Sea
Tickets available from 1 July from:
Frinton Free Church, Connaught Ave – 01255 679585
Frinton Parish Church, Old Road – 01255 679164

We look forward to seeing you soon!

From Exbury to Exeter, Holymoorside to Harrogate!

Busy doin' nothing? I think not...

Busy doin' nothing? I think not...

This summer, Hatstand Opera performances are like buses; none for days, then four of them come along at once!

The busy week in question starts on Sat 20 June, when we are performing at the Holymoorside and Walton Arts Festival. With barely a night off for good (or bad) behaviour, we’re at the Sun Pavilion in Harrogate on Tues 23 June as part of the North Aldborough Festival. (With us so far?). Then a fabulous weekend, starting with an open air performance at the gorgeous Exbury Gardens in the New Forest Hampshire on Sat 27 June, then a fab drive along the Jurassic coast to Exeter’s Northcott Theatre for a performance as part of the Exeter Festival on Sun 28 June.

Which only proves there really is no rest for the wicked!

Full details on how to book any of these performances are on our Tour Dates page – just clock on the tab above.

Vocal Vices “Best Show Yet”

Ooh the glamour: tenor Richard Owen backstage in Alderney

Ooh the glamour: tenor Richard Owen backstage in Alderney, Channel Islands

It’s official, because our audiences on the Channel Islands told us so, “Vocal Vices” is Hatstand Opera’s best show yet!

One of the great benefits of a tour is that you get feedback on the same show from different audiences night after night. All the performers go out after the show to meet the happy punters as they leave, and our audiences are more than happy to say what they think!

They loved the mix of music, combining opera in the first half with musicals and songs in the second half. They adored the fun, energetic style and obvious enjoyment we have on stage. But most of all, they loved the ‘clever’ stuff, from Bryan Kesselman’s super arrangement of “Busy Doin’ Nothing” that manages to reference everything from Bach to ballet, to our completely OTT version of the Tom Jones hit “Delilah”.

Mind you, we were glad of a rest afterwards, since the hectic schedule involved 4 shows, 4 school workshops, 4 different venues on 4 different islands, 5 flights, 2 ferry trips (1 on a cargo boat), 6 taxis, 2 tractor transfers and 2 radio interviews – in just 4 days!

If you want to book Vocal Vices for your autumn festival or theatre season, give us a call – and delight your audiences with sinfully good singing this year! Or catch us on tour – see the Diary tab above for details.

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