Penelope Keith turns opera star!

Dame Penelope Keith performs in her first opera, Opera South's Bizet Gala at Charterhouse School on October 16 at 6pm.

Dame Penelope
Dame Penelope

Company spokeswoman Alison Dudgeon said: “Opera South are performing what may well be a world premiere of Bizet’s short comic opera, Don Procopio and in this version a narrator is called for. This is the role that Dame Penelope will perform – so no operatic skills required!

“This evening has been arranged to appeal to those who have never attended an opera before but who are likely to recognise some of the great opera hits being performed, such as from Bizet’s Carmen, as well as to more seasoned opera goers who will be thrilled at the opportunity to attend this world premiere” of such an enjoyable opera.

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“Mark Austin, Opera South’s brilliant young director and professional conductor has played true to this small charity opera company’s roots, which has mostly aimed to perform lesser known operas from famous composers. The cast is made up of superb young up and coming singers, backed up by the young professional Faust Chamber Orchestra and accompanied by the Opera South choir.

“As the version that Opera South is performing requires a narrator, the charity is very grateful to national treasure and local supporter of good causes, Dame Penelope Keith who has kindly agreed to offer her time to Opera South to perform this role. Her consummate professionalism and wonderful sense of humour will add much to the already superb event. Mark Austin is particularly delighted by her kind participation, having had the pleasure of working with her whilst conducting the Bach Choir for her most recent Radio Four Christmas Concert.

“As Don Procopio runs for just over an hour, the second part of the concert pays homage to Gounod, Bizet’s teacher and to Donizetti whose Don Pasquale was the muse for Don Procopio with famous arias from their works along with a selection from Carmen. (A full list is available on the website at”

Alison added: “The concert will take place in the beautiful setting of the Hall at Charterhouse. Charterhouse, Godalming, which has a long musical tradition dating back to the late 1800s when the famous British composer Ralph Vaughan Williams was a pupil shortly after the school first moved out of London

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