New – 2011 performance diary

We’ve just popped up some of our 2011 public performances at our main website at

Apologies for the gaps in info such as ticket price – still gathering that info ourselves!

Vote for our new Hatstand Opera show title!

Here’s your chance to be part of Hatstand Opera history! We’re looking for a show title for our 2011 sequel to “A Laugh at the Opera”, and we’d love your input.

Just one quick note before you start. You know much much fun a Hatstand Opera show is, because you’ve seen us in action before, but a show title has to appeal to you AND those who have never seen us before.

In our poll box below, you’ll see four options, each written as “title: strap line”. (The strap line is the explanation line below the main show title on a poster or flyer.) Just click on the one that you like best.

If you don’t like any of them (and we’re not proud about this), feel free to type in your own version in the last box.

No winners or prizes I’m afraid, but shedloads of appreciation from this end for your contribution!

What opera singers do during August

Soak up the sun, boys!

Here at Hatstand Opera, we usually rest up a bit in August to enjoy the summer weather, and thank goodness this year, we’ve got some to enjoy! Hurrah! But we don’t sit around idle, never fear…  here’s what is on our “To Do” list:

1. Devise a brand new show for 2011. Yes, we’re cooking up something fun, frothy, entertaining and a total antidote to depressing news and dark economic forecasts. Title tbc – all witty (and clean) ideas welcome!

2. Make do and mend costumes. Our costumes and props can be used up to four times a week, all year round, so this is a chance to restore lost buttons, mend broken spears and repaint anything that doesn’t move too fast. And hoover the digital piano – most important after dusty outdoor gigs in hay-filled fields.

3. Research new music. We are always on the lookout for new music to sing, and there is nothing so relaxing as sitting down with a glass of chardonnay (or six) and skipping through tracks on cds you bought back in the January sales and have not even got the plastic shrink-wrap off yet.

Whatever you’re doing this August, enjoy!

Birthday Shows for Hatstand Opera Director

Pity the poor opera singer born in July, the season of outside performances and summer festivals. Hatstand Opera’s director Kirsty is nearly always singing on her birthday, and this year she’ll be playing boys and old bags (again) at our Opera in the Orchard “Golden Moments from Opera” performance.

So, we decided to see what other notable persons were born in July, which include:

B.T. Barnum, American showman and circus founder (200 years ago)
Gustav Mahler, Austrian composer and conductor (150 years ago)
William Hanna, American animator, co‐founder of Hanna‐ Barbera Productions (‘Tom and Jerry’, ‘Huckleberry Hound’, ‘Yogi Bear’, ‘The Flintstones’, ‘The Jetsons’) (100 years ago)

And noted some memorable events that happened on the same date:

11 Jul 1950
The BBC’s children’s TV show ‘Andy Pandy’ was first broadcast. (Kirsty’s least favourite tv show as a child, by a mile. And no, she didn’t see the first broadcast, thank you.)

11 Jul 1960
Harper Lee’s novel ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ was published. (Kirsty is an English graduate from Birmingham University – if that’s not a contradiction in terms…)

11 Jul 1985
The Coca‐Cola Company agreed to resume selling the original formula ‘Classic’ Coke after complaints from irate customers about New Coke. (A victory for teenage tastebuds, probably a disaster for dentists.)

The knotty problem of food in opera

Tuck in, everyone...

The first half of Hatstand Opera’s Vocal Vices show ends with a routine where we juggle buns during a particularly spirited rendition of “Now to the Banquet We Press” from Gilbert & Sullivan’s operetta “The Sorceror”.

In the past, we have made do with real current buns wrapped in clingfilm, but our lives were made so much easier when we discovered knitted food on eBay.

Yes, knitted food. And jolly effective our knitted buns are too, perfect for juggling and they never go stale, or green and hairy. We love ’em!

When we first bought our knitted buns, there were only two providers on eBay. Now, however, several suppliers will sell you anything from knitted ice cream cones to a knitted tin of baked beans (yes, really).

Sadly, it appears that the French lady who used to sell hand knitted full roast turkey dinners with all the trimmings has given up, but my eye was caught instead by smudge995 from Kidderminster who is offering a hand knitted tea set including teapot and cups of tea. We are very, very tempted…

yummy knitted cake photo by ‘freeform by prudence’ at

Choose Your Words – And Your Vice

A nice old vice!

How do you find things you need on the web? Chances are, you type a few words into Google or a similar search engine, and see what comes up.

Every month, we do the same with our show titles at Hatstand Opera, just to see what comes up. But we don’t just look at the search results, we also look at keyword results, the words you good people actually type in, not what we think you type in!

Now, the long and short of it is, “Vocal Vices” is not a phrase generally searched for much, so Google suggest other words that might be associated with that phrase, with some rather odd results…

Bench Vices – yes, Kirsty’s dad has one on his workbench, but it doesn’t sing very well

Vice cubes – another type of woodworking vice, we gather, not those vodka jelly cubes so popular at student parties a decade or so back

Vocal metal – we presume heavy metal, as in Black Sabbeth et al, but perhaps robots are finding their voices?!

Milling vices – a cocktail party for those who have strayed from the straight and narrow?

Hobby vice – yes, we know it’s a small vice for home use, but some might construe it otherwise…

Just to say that our next performance of Vocal Vices (the show) will be at Huntingdon on Friday 21 May – click on the dates tab for more info!

nice old bench vice pic by vipa at

Hatstand Opera go Into The Woods

Long time, no see?

We’re busy gearing ourselves up for the the first performance after our three month break by doing all those terribly unglamorous chores, such as running repairs on costumes and redesigning props that have suffered in transit over the last year.

For example, we needed to redesign our Wolf’s ears (for our item from Sondheim’s  ‘Into the Woods’). Originally, these were attached by Velcro to his hat, so they could be removed in transit. However, that didn’t hold them firmly enough, as he ended up with a nasty case of Droopy Ear Syndrome.

So we looked at gluing them on instead, but the combination of fur ears and felt hat was even worse, so his ears fell out sideways. Not a good look.

It was at that point that we remembered those craft sessions at school, when you made puppets from card and brass fasteners. Remember those? You know, the type that have a round head holding two prongs that you can open out to fix things, and stab your fingers if you’re not paying attention.

Much to our surprise, they are still readily available, and they are perfect for holding wolf ears firmly onto a felt hat. Admittedly, our wolf now have pierced ears in three places, but at least they now stay in place as our most charming Wolf sweet talks Little Red Riding Hood in the forest…

Opera, art and a Ferrari

A Ferrari 430 Badge (in case you were wondering)

Spring is definitely with us, and so an opera company’s thoughts turn to  – photo shoots!

Next week, we’ll be disporting ourselves across a Ferrari (well, someone has to) to promote our appearance at the Summer Art Exhibition at Project Workshops in Hampshire. Let’s hope the sun shines on the righteous – and us as well…

Friday 7 May 2010
Gala Opening of the Project Workshops Summer Exhibition
Project Workshops, Lains Farm, Quarley, Nr Andover, Hants, SP11 8PX
time: 6pm-9pm
tickets: £15
available from: 01264 889 889
In aid of Alzheimer’s Society

Hatstand Opera performance dates 2010

Don't be a chump - book your tickets now!

The Hatstand Opera performance diary is now online to October 2010, so get out your diaries and book a date or six!

And yes, booking early really does pay off this year!

Our shows include some special ‘early bird’ booking offers, such as buy one get one free for Opera in the Orchard.

Just click on Laurel or Hardy to see the diary!

Vocal Vices for Valentines Day

red heart for Valentine's DayWant to give something wickedly different as a gift this Valentine’s Day? How about a Hatstand Opera performance! OK, we probably can’t get it together for the actual day itself, but how about ringing us to discuss an opera performance by Hatstand Opera as the ultimate romantic present for 14 February 2010?

Every year, Hatstand Opera perform at private parties, dinners, anniversary celebrations, weddings and ‘significant birthday’ bashes for delighted guests and happy hosts. It’s easy to host a Hatstand Opera performance; all you need is a suitable space (which can even be your living room!), access to a 13 amp plug, and soprano-proof windows!

Call us on 01252 511 762 and solve your Valentine Day gift problems today.

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