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This jewel of an opera is best known for the famous ‘Flower Duet’, which has become one of the most familiar numbers any composer, in any genre has ever written, even used by our national airline on TV ads as the peaceful accompaniment to a jetliner floating through wispy clouds!

As so often with operas that become famous for a particular tune however, Lakmé contains many other hidden musical gems including the stratospheric and challenging ‘Bell Song’. Like other French operas of the period, it captures the ambience of the Orient seen through Western eyes and, topically for today, tells of religious tensions and conflict leading to personal sacrifice, heartbreak and death. Like Delibes’ music for his famous ballet Coppelia, the orchestral scoring for Lakmé is delicious and as the opera remains a relative rarity, don’t miss this golden opportunity to hear and see this ravishing piece.

We are setting the production in India during the Raj of the 1880’s, sung in English and accompanied by chamber orchestra. With lovely costumes designed by Gabriella Ingram it will be performed by some of the finest singers and orchestral players in the country. Thanks to funding from ACE, ACW we are also teaming up with fine local choirs to supplement our core of professional choristers. Our thanks go to them for undertaking the project so enthusiastically and professionally.

Touring to 18 theatres through the UK, audiences can discover more about the importance of design in staging an opera with our free pre-performance talks when Brendan Wheatley, Swansea City Opera’s Artistic Director, talks about the Delibes’ life and music and the challenges of creating a new production for the stage (please contact theatre for time).

Cast & Biographies

Click on our cast members to find out more

  • Lakme - Madalina Barbu

    Madalina Barbu


    12109933_47Madalina Barbu

    Born in Bucharest, Romania, Madalina first started singing at the age of 4. She attended the George Enescu music school, studying piano, until the age of 14. Following this period she started opera lessons and soon she was accepted at the National University of Music in Bucharest gaining 2nd place under the guidance of Prof. PhD. Eleonora Enachescu.

    After her BA Mus qualification she went on to study for a  MMus degree. During this period she made her debut with the National Romanian Opera in the role of Zerlina. Taking part in Master Classes with Mariana Nicolesco and Marina Krilovici she was praised for her abilities and was offered engagement in concerts. At the present moment she is studying for a PhD under the guidance of Octavian Nemescu in Romania as well as embarking in a series of roles and concerts.
    She has sung Queen of the Night in The Magic Flute, La Fee, Zerlina, Gilda, L’Amour, Najade and Suor Genovieffa. She has performed in concerts with conductors including Tiberiu Soare, Gabriel Bebeselea, Ralf Sochaczewsky, Traian Ichim, Maximilano Cobra
    Her recent recordings include, Queen of the Night and Zerlina. Recent opera engagements include L’Amour(National Opera from Iasi) and Lucia(National Opera from Bucharest)

  • Lakme - Hannah Sawle

    Hannah Sawle


    Hannah Sawle col

    Hannah Sawle studied at Chethams School of Music, the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and on English National Opera’s Opera Works Course. She is currently studying with Janice Chapman. Whilst at the GSMD she won awards for her English and Contemporary Song and she has been guest soloist on BBC World Service, Radio 3 and Radio 4. Solo recordings include Giles Swayne’s Four Passiontide Motets with the NYCGB and Respighi’s La Pentola Magica with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra.

    Roles include the Queen of the Night (Magic Flute) for Iford Arts/Charles Court Opera, Diana (Orpheus in the Underworld) for Opera Danube, Papagena (Magic Flute) for English Touring Opera, Gianetta (L’elisir d’amore) and Lady Dunmow (A Dinner Engagement) for Wexford Festival Opera, Frasquita and Micaela (Carmen) for Opera Up Close and English Pocket Opera, Zerlina (Don Giovanni) for Westminster Opera, Fiordiligi (Cosi fan tutte) for Jackdaws and Nedda (Pagliacci) and Mademoiselle Silberklang (The Impresario) for Garden Opera. In concert she recently sung Strauss’ Brentano lieder and Mahler’s 4th symphony with Bristol Metropolitan Orchestra at St George’s Bristol.

    Upcoming engagements include Lakme with Swansea City Opera, Queen of the Night with Charles Court Opera and covering Ismene in Mozart’s Mitridate, re di Ponto for the Royal Opera at Covent Garden.

  • Gerald - Luke Sinclair

    Luke Sinclair


    Luke Sinclair

    Luke was born in London and studied at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland with Scott Johnson. He was a major prize winner at the 2015 Kammeroper schloss Rheinsberg International singing competition and sang the tenor lead ‘Julian’ in the World Premiere of Marc Aurel-Floros’ Adriana at the renowned Opera Festival in Rheinsberg, Germany to excellent reviews.
    Other recent engagements include Rodolfo La Bohème (In both Dresden and Edinburgh), Tebaldo i Capuleti e i Montecchi (Buxton Festival Opera – Cover), Dancairo Carmen (Scottish Opera – Cover), Chevalier de la Force Dialogues des carmélites (Scottish Ballet), Fenton Sir John in Love and Le Mari Les Mamelles de Tirésias (RCS) and Don José Carmen (Fife Opera)
    Upcoming engagements include his Cadogan Hall debut as Sali (Romeo) in Delius’ A Village Romeo and Juliet with New Sussex Opera and a return to Buxton to sing Malcolm (and cover Macduff) in Verdi’s Macbeth. In concert, he will appear as the tenor soloist in Puccini’s Messa di Gloria and Rossini’s Stabat Mater and give a recital of Mahler and Strauss song at Merchant House, Glasgow.

  • Gerald - Daniel Joy

    Daniel Joy


    Daniel Joy

    Daniel studied music at Durham University where he gained a first class music degree and was awarded the Eve Myra Kisch Price Prize for outstanding academic achievement. He then studied on the postgraduate vocal course at The Royal College of Music and has just graduated with distinction from the opera course at Guildhall School of Music and Drama, studying with Adrian Thompson. These studies were generously supported by The Countess of Munster, The Arts & Humanities Research Council, The Josephine Baker Trust, The Michael James Music Trust, The John Wates Charitable Trust, The Sir Richard Stapley Trust, The Kathleen Trust, The Worshipful Company of Innholders and The Vandervell Foundation. Daniel is also the recipient of several Grange Park Opera study scholarship and currently studies with David Pollard.

    Daniel made his professional stage debut as Kozak in Statkowski’s Maria for Wexford Festival Opera, also broadcast on BBC, Schweizer Radio DRS and RTE Radio Ireland. He has returned to Wexford to perform The Poor Horn Player (Delius’ A Village Romeo and Juliet) and Gherardo in Gianni Schicchi , he sang the title role in Albert Herring at GSMD, cover various roles in Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea for Glyndebourne Festival, Adolfo/Gobin/cover Prunier in Puccini’s La Rondine for Opera di Peroni / Go Opera, The Duke (Rigoletto) and Goro (Madama Butterfly) both for Opera Brava, touring the France and the UK as The Duke (Rigoletto) for Opera Loki, Peter Quint (The Turn of The Screw) for Artwork Opera, Fabrizio (cover) in Martinu’s Mirandolina for Garsington, the title role in Britten’s The Prodigal Son and Hermann in the UK premiere of Mendelssohn’s Heimkehr aus der Fremde for the Ryedale and Grimeborn Festivals, cover of Cassio (Otello) for Opera North, Renard in Stravinsky’s Renard with the Helios Collective, cover of Tchapalitsky (Queen of Spades), Prince (Rusalka) and Melot (Tristan und Isolde) all for Grange Park, the lead role of Jimmy in John Estacio’s Lillian Ailing at The Banff Centre, Canada, in a joint production with Vancouver Opera, Remendado (cover) in Carmen for Scottish Opera, Alfred in Die Fledermaus for Kentish opera , José in the premiere of Edward Lambert’s Opera With A Title at Kings Don Jose in Camen for MJ-UK Arts, Tamino for Opera Ddraig and The Schoolmaster in The Cunning Little Vixen for Woodhouse Opera.

  • Nilakantha - Håkan Vramsmo

    Håkan Vramsmo


    Hakan Vramsmo

    Håkan has appeared at major venues and festivals including the BBC Proms’ opening night, Wigmore Hall, Bridgewater Hall, Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Stuttgart Liederhalle, Sibeliusacademin, Aldeburgh, Bath, and Cheltenham with such pianists as Iain Burnside, Julius Drake, Bengt Forsberg, Graham Johnson, Roger Vignoles, Llyr Williams and Andrew West. He has also appeared with the Hebridies Ensemble, Carducci Quartett, Gabrieli Consort, Sharoun Ensembles, BBC Symphony, Jerusalem, City of Birmingham, Bournemouth, English Chamber, Wroclaw, Zagreb, Barcelona, Gothenburg, and Malmö Symphony Orchestras conducted by Martyn Brabbins, Paul McCreech, Leonard Slatkin, Sir David Willcocks and Leon Botstein. He has frequently recorded for BBC, Private Joe by Panufnik for Polish radio, B-minor Mass on Signum Records and Elisabeth Maconchy’s opera The Departure for Chandos Records. His has sang 25 operatic roles and he created Axel in Meredith’s Tarantula in Petrol Blue, Carl in Colerige-Taylor’s Thelma and Pascoe in Huw Watkins’ In the Locked Room. Håkan teaches singing at Citylit Institute in London and is invited to Masterclasses at the Koninklijk Conservatoire Brussel.

  • Mallika - Katarzyna Balejko

    Katarzyna Balejko


    Katarzyna Balejko

    Young Polish mezzo soprano, Katarzyna Balejko has recently graduated from the Opera Course at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Her future and current engagements include Mallika in Delibes’s Lakmé, Lucretia in Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia, Opera Makers performance at the Clore Studio, Royal Opera House, Colombina Le donne curiose E. Wolf-Ferrari under Mark Shanahan
    This summer she also joined Alvarez Young Artist Programme at Garsington Opera, where she understudied the role of Olga in Eugene Onegin.
    Other operatic and concert performances include Opera Scenes at the Studio Theatre in Milton Court and at The Buick Grand Theatre in Shanghai (China), the alto solo part in Verdi’s Requiem at St. Bartholomew’s Church in Brighton and a recital of arias and duets in La Pedrera Casa Mila in Barcelona.

  • Frederick - Mark Saberton

    Mark Saberton


    Copy of Mark Saberton

    Mark studied at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama and comes from Suffolk. He has sung with many opera companies including Royal Opera, English National Opera, Opera North, Raymond Gubbay, Scottish Opera, Garsington Opera, Longborough Festival Opera, Opera Holland Park, Mid Wales Opera and Savoy
    Opera Roles include Mephistopheles (Faust) and Schaunard (La boheme) for Swansea City Opera; Bottom Midsummer Night’s Dream) for Longborough Festival Opera; Antonio (Marriage of Figaro) for Garsington Opera at the Barbican conducted by Jane Glover; Narumov (Queen of Spades) for Opera Holland Park; Krusina (Bartered Bride) for Mid Wales Opera, and the Hotel Waiter/Boatman (Death in Venice) for the Aldeburgh and Bregenz Festivals under Paul Daniel. He has recorded the role of Ben Budge (Beggars Opera) with the City of London Sinfonia and Royal Opera conducted by Christian Curnyn. He has recently been working with English National Opera on the role of Zurga in The Pearlfishers by Bizet.

  • Ellen - Georgina Stalbow

    Georgina Stalbow


    Georgina Stalbow
    Originally from Milford Haven in Pembrokeshire, Georgina studied at Birmingham Conservatoire and Wales International Academy of Voice under the tutelage of Dennis O’Neill. Opera credits include Sacerdotessa, Aida (Teatru Astra, Gozo); Asteria (cover), Tamerlano and various roles in Louise (Buxton Festival); Barbarina, The marriage of Figaro (Swansea City Opera); Peep-Bo, The Mikado (Co-Opera Co); Amore, Orfeo ed Euridice, Echo, Ariadne auf Naxos and Emmie, Albert Herring (Fondazione Cantiere di Montepulciano). Future engagements include Miss Wordsworth (cover), Albert Herring and Celia (cover), Lucio Silla, (Buxton Festival). Chorus credits include Lucia di Lammermoor and Giovanna d’arco (Buxton Festival) where Georgina was directed by Elijah Moshinsky. Georgina sang incidental music for the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Richard II in the Barbican Theatre, London with David Tennant. She also sang the role of Woman 2 in the World Premiere of David Blake and Keith Warner’s Scoring a Century. Other world Premiere’s include Norberto Oldrini’sSwimming Paradise with Quartetto Ascanio (Fondazione Cantiere di Montepulciano.) Recordings include soprano soloist in Fauré Requiem (Convivium Records) and soprano soloist in Eric Jones’ Great is the Story: The Nativity and The Fulfilment (Alto Publications). Georgina also teaches singing on the music performance course at Coventry University and is head of singing at the School of Theatre Excellence and SOTE College in Birmingham.

  • Rose - Jess Robinson

    Jess Robinson


    Jess Robinson

    Welsh Soprano Jessica Robinson recently graduated from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama gaining a distinction in MA Opera Performance During her time at the RWCMD, Jessica also gained a first class honours undergraduate degree along with the Aneurin Davies memorial award, The Mansel Thomas prize, The Margaret Tann Award and the Elias Soprano award.
    Jessica appears in concerts all over the UK and Internationally in New York, China and Italy. Concert highlights include performing with the CBSO in a performance of Vaughan Williams’ ‘Serenade to Music’ for Radio 3, performing the soprano solos of Handel’s Messiah at the Wales
    Millennium Centre and most recently as a Soloist at the Royal Albert Hall for the 1000 Male Voice choir Gala. Operatic engagements include Countess Marriage of Figaro, Lady Billows Albert Herring and Fox Cunning little Vixen (RWCMD) , Nora Riders to the Sea (Bute Park Opera) Worker/Semi Chorus Gair ar Gnawd (Welsh National Opera/S4C) and Heavenly Voice (Grange Park Opera). Jessica is the 2016 Prince of Wales Scholar and is generously supported by the Worshipful Musicians’ Company Award, The Pantyfedwen Trust and The Arts Council of Wales.

  • Miss Bentson - Rhonda Browne

    Rhonda Browne

    Miss Bentson

    Rhonda Browne 1

    Rhonda’s passion for singing began with the internationally acclaimed NZ Youth Choir. After catching the bug in Opera New Zealand’s chorus, she made the move to London to pursue a solo career. Rhonda won the London Wagner Society’s Bayreuth Bursary and was a finalist in the ROH Jette Parker Audition rounds 2014. She studied at the National Opera Studio on their Singers of Tomorrow Scheme and currently studies with Jacqueline Bremar and coaches with David Gowland (ROH), Kathryn Harries (NOS) and Ludmilla Andrew.
    Rhonda’s roles include Erda DAS RHEINGOLD/SIEGFRIED and Schwertleite DIE WALKÜRE – Longborough Festival Opera, Baba the Turk RAKE’S PROGRESS – Bury Court Opera, Auntie PETER GRIMES – Nottingham Philharmonic, The Duchess GONDOLIERS and Ludmila BARTERED BRIDE – Surrey Opera, The Witch HÄNSEL UND GRETEL – Open Door Opera and Opera in Space, Zia Principessa SUOR ANGELICA – Talent Unlimited and Giornata Opera, Zita GIANNI SCHICCHI – Fulham Opera. She covered First Norn and Flosshilde – Longborough Festival Opera and sang Rossweisse DIE WALKÜRE – Mastersingers. She also created the role of Gudrun in the world Premiere of Coleridge Taylor’s THERMA – Surrey Opera.
    Recent engagements include Baba the Turk RAKE’S PROGRESS – Bury Court Opera, cover Ulrica UN BALLO IN MASCHERA – Iford Arts Festival and cover Erda RHEINGOLD/SIEGFRIED, Grimgerde/Schwertleite DIE WALKÜRE and 1st Norn GÖTTERDAMMERUNG – Opera North and concerts in New Zealand including Wagner’s Wesendonck Lieder – Manukau Symphony Orchestra.

  • Hadji - Bo Wang

    Bo Wang


    Bo Wang

    Bo has worked for English National Opera, Garsington Opera, Opera Holland Park, Opera Rara and BBC Proms. Bo graduated in 2011 gaining a distinction in his second Masters in solo performance and awarded The John Cameron Prize for Lieder at the Royal Northern College of Music. He was supported with a full scholarship from the ABRSM. Bo gained his first Master’s degree in Musicology from Beijing Normal University in 2008 and gold medal in the Fifth Singapore International Music and Dance Competition. Bo has also been given the Gil Rodriguez Scholarship Award 2016. Bo’s opera experience includes Piquillo (La Perichole, Opera de Bauge), Tito (La clemenza di Tito, Midsummer Opera) , Goro (Madama Butterfly, Opera de Bauge), Trin (La fanciulla del West, Midsummer Opera), Alfred (Die Fledermaus, Epsom Light Opera Company), Normanno (Lucia di Lamermoor, Opera Seria), Hermann (The Queen of Spades, Park Opera), Phoehus/Autumn/Chinese Man (The Fairy Queen, Benslow Opera), Jenik (The Bartered Bride, Manchester City Opera), Lynceus (Les Danaides, University of Leeds), Don Basilio (Le Nozze di Figaro, British Youth Opera),Thyrsis (Euridice, British Youth Opera),Nencio (L’infedelta delusa, RNCM), Achilles (La Belle Hélène, RNCM).

  • Tenor chorus - Richard Hansen

    Richard Hansen

    Tenor chorus

    Richard Hansen

    New Zealand born Tenor Richard Hansen has completed a Master of Music and Postgraduate Diploma in Solo Performance at the Royal Northern College of Music with Thomas Schulze.
    Richard’s Operatic roles have included Don Basilio and Don Curzio (Le Nozze di Figaro), Monostatos (Die Zauberflöte), Ruiz (il Trovatore), Gaston (La Traviata) Iro (il Ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria), Tamino (The Magic Flute) Nemorino (l’Elisir d’Amore) Count Almaviva (The Barber of Seville) Nanki Poo (The Mikado), Frederick (The Pirates of Penzance), Mr Upfold (Albert Herring), Box (Cox and Box), Camille (The Merry Widow) and Remendado (Carmen). He has also appeared with the chorus of Opera Holland Park, Scottish Opera and the National Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Company. Most recently, Richard has appeared with Opera Australia in Sydney, at the BBC Proms with Opera Rara and with the chorus of Wexford Festival Opera.

  • Tenor chorus - David Fortey

    David Fortey

    Tenor chorus

    David Fortey

    David is a graduate of the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama where he gained a Bmus (Hons) Degree and a Postgraduate Diploma. Whilst at the college David was awarded the Manning Prize for Tenors and the Sir Geraint Evans Vocal Scholarship. Operatic roles at RWCMD include ‘Albert’ in Britten’s Albert Herring, ‘Tamino’ in Mozart’s The Magic Flute, ‘Tom Rakewell’ in The Rakes progress, ’Jupiter’ in Offenbach’s Orpheus in the Underworld, and ‘Tobias’ in Sondheim’s Sweeny Todd for Welsh National Youth Opera. David began his professional career with Glyndebourne Festival Opera Chorus and Garsington Festival Opera.
    Since 2008, David has been a principle member of the classical Brit award-winning male ensemble Only Men Aloud. He has recorded extensively on television and radio and was privileged to be part of the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic games. Sought after as both a chorister and soloist internationally his versatility on the concert platform has given him the opportunity to work with some of the finest musical ensembles in some of the world’s most prestigious venues.

  • Bass chorus - Simon Grange

    Simon Grange

    Bass chorus

    Simon Grange

    British bass Simon Grange graduated from the Royal College of Music in 2015, where he was a Cuthbert Smith Scholar supported by a Soirée d’Or award and Douglas and Hilda Simmonds and Hans and Mary Romney award. He was previously a student and choral scholar at Oxford University. Recently he has covered Reinmar in Wagner’s Tannhauser for Longborough Opera Festival, as well as performing in their production of Janáček’s Jenufa. He has also appeared as Zuniga in Bizet’s Carmen for the Northern Aldborough Festival, as Pietro and Fiesco in Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra for Fulham Opera, and as Pasquino in Bizet’s Don Procopio for Opera South. Future plans include Sparafucile in Verdi’s Rigoletto for Regent’s Opera.

  • Musical Director - John Beswick

    John Beswick

    Musical Director

    John Beswick 2

    John was organ scholar of Hertford College, Oxford before postgraduate studies at the Guildhall School of Music (repetiteur) and The Royal College of Music (conducting). He has worked on the music staff for Icelandic National Opera and Grange Park Opera, and has conducted for companies including Pimlico Opera, London City Opera and Swansea City Opera. He has conducted many shows, including Les Miserables (West End), Miss Saigon (UK Tour), Avenue Q (West End) and Damon Albarn’s opera Monkey: Journey to the West (Monkeys’ World at the O2); and has also played keyboards on a great many others including Jersey Boys, Legally Blonde and The Full Monty. John has also worked on many youth music theatre shows and student productions at home and abroad, and has clocked up almost 6 months ‘inside’ having thrice been Musical Director for Pimlico Opera’s prison projects. Currently he is Musical Director for Swansea City Opera and Principal Conductor of Redhill Sinfonia.

  • Director - Brendan Wheatley

    Brendan Wheatley



    Brendan Wheatley was born in Hinckley, Leicestershire and studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama where he was awarded a three-year scholarship on the performers course. Another scholarship awarded to him at the end of this course enabled him to attend the Opera Course for a further year but this was cut short when he auditioned for Glyndebourne Festival Opera and was immediately offered a contract.
    Brendan sang for three seasons with Glyndebourne, making his debut as The Keeper of the Madhouse in the internationally acclaimed production of Stravinsky’s The Rakes Progress, designed by David Hockney. After leaving Glyndebourne, Brendan pursued his career as a freelance singer working with many companies both in Britain and abroad, and has now sung many major roles – from Don Giovanni to The Flying Dutchman – he also created the role of Figaro in the world premiere of Giles Swayne’s Le Nozze di Cherubino. His concert and oratorio work has taken him to such prestigious places as The South Bank, Royal Albert Hall, Huddersfield Town Hall and many cathedrals and churches throughout Britain. In 1989 he founded the touring company Opera Box with his partner Bridgett Gill and in 2004 the company received funding from the City and County of Swansea, and became Swansea City Opera. Over the years Brendan has directed and designed many operas for the company.

Lakme Synopsis

Lakme Synopsis

Lakmé , ACT 1

Nilakantha, a high priest of the Brahmin temple, is outraged that the British forces occupying his city forbid him to practise his religion. A group of Hindus make their way to a secret place in the forest to worship, and Nilakantha meets with them to lead them in prayer. After Nilakantha has left his daughter, Lakmé , stays behind with her servant, Mallika. Lakmé and Mallika walk to the stream to bathe. They remove their jewels (as they sing the famous Flower Duet) and place them upon a nearby bench before getting into the water. At the same time and place, two British officers, Frederic and Gerald, are on a picnic with two British women and their governess. They accidentally stumble across Nilakantha’s secret place and the girls spot the lovely jewellery. They are so impressed by the jewels’ beauty, they request copies of the jewellery to be made, and Gerald agrees to make the sketches for them. The small group continue on their stroll, while Gerald stays behind to finish his drawing. As Gerald is finishing his pictures, Lakmé and Mallika return. Startled, Gerald hides. Mallika departs and Lakmé is left alone with her thoughts. Lakmé catches a glimpse of Gerald out of the corner of her eye and instinctively cries out for help. However, when Gerald meets with her face to face, they are immediately attracted to one another. When help arrives, Lakmé sends them away. She hopes to find out more about this British stranger. Alone with him once more, she realizes her folly and tells him to leave and to forget that he ever saw her. Gerald is too captivated by her beauty to heed her warning, and so he disregards her commands and continues to stay. When Nilakantha finds out that a British soldier has trespassed and defiled his secret Temple, he swears vengeance.

As a ploy to draw out the unknown trespasser, Nilakantha forces Lakmé to sing the “Bell Song” in the middle of the crowded bazaar. Lakmé hopes that Gerald took her advice to forget her, but, ironically, as she sings the captivating aria, Gerald is entranced by her voice and draws close to her. Lakmé faints at his appearance but Nilakantha now knows who he is, and plots with his conspirators to kill Gerald at the Festival of Durga Puja that evening. They surround and stab him, but Gerald is only slightly wounded and in the chaos of the scrambling villagers, Nilakantha’s servant Hadji, helps Gerald and Lakmé escape to a secret hiding place deep within the heart of the forest. Lakmé nurses Gerald’s wound and helps him fully recover.
In their hiding place within the forest, Lakmé and Gerald hear singing in the distance. Gerald is frightened, but Lakmé smiles and assures him of their safety. She tells him that the singers are a group of lovers that seek out the waters of a holy spring. The waters ensure eternal love to any couple that drink from the spring. Lakmé has fallen deeply in love with Gerald and she tells him that she will return with a glass of that water. Gerald hesitates, torn between his duty to his country or his love of her. Lakmé , blinded by love, rushes off to the holy spring. Frederic has found Gerald’s hiding place and enters. Frederic reminds him of his duties and leaves. Lakmé returns with the water, but when Gerald refuses to drink it, she realizes that his attitude has changed. Rather than to live with dishonour, she tears a flower from a poisonous datura tree and bites into it. She tells Gerald what she has just done and they drink the water together. Nilakantha finds them and enters as Lakmé is dying. She tells her father that she and Gerald drank together from the holy spring and that Gerald must now be protected. Instead, she will give her life to appease the Gods and in that instant, she dies.

Press Reviews

Press Reviews

Third Act Critics

by Helen Joy at Sherman Theatre Cardiff

4 Stars4 / 5
Absolutely beautiful – the colours of India, the sentiments of its time, the tragedy of love over birth – exquisite.

It makes me cry. I have loved the music from this rarely performed opera for years and years. It is absolutely beautiful. And the characters are all visually believable – both leads are young and lovely looking, their voices ardent as their passion. No one is miscast, no one is out of place.

It is as gentle and as curiously English as a Wildean play but with the underlying expectation of tragedy teasing us along the way. It is Madam Butterfly meets Passage to India. I wonder whether I may feel less or more affected were it sung in the original French and conclude a handsome, manly colonialist colliding with a hidden jewel of a local lass will sound the same in any language where it is sung with conviction.

The clash of backgrounds, religions, family and commitments is very predictable and the terrible messy tragedy of it all plays out predictably too. Delibes opera is based on Pavie’s story. But this is a predictable tale prettily told, beautifully visualised and fabulously well sung.

The Flower Duet between Lakme and Mallika is exquisite, Lakme’s Bell Song heart-achingly lovely with the sopranos comfortably balanced by the tenor of Gerald and the bass-baritone of Nilakantha.

The set feels a little clumsy initially but its simplicity allows us to concentrate on the opera and enjoy the music, the period costumes and the sublime singing. How lovely it is to revel in Lakme performed as it might have been at the turn of the last century.

But yet again, I leave a performance wishing I could take it home with me somehow – I want to listen to it all again and again and I can’t – I want to take Lakme home with me, fill my house with her voice, send it out into the darkness of the night so others can hear her, feel her hope and her sorrow, scent the flowers in her garden, scream at her not to take the poisonous datura…

I am left bereft.



Swansea City Opera’s triumphant return to Theatre Severn

Swansea City Opera/Dinas Abertawe

Theatre Severn

3rd March 2017

The greatest thing one notices at an Opera performance in Shrewsbury is the huge diversity of people that make up the audience. Could this be because of the town’s incredibly eclectic, music scene? It might be; however whatever the reason, theatre goers tonight were treated to the wonderful music of Léo Delibes and the seldom performed Opera Lakme.

The narrative is relatively straightforward, almost in a parallel to Romeo and Juliet it is a tale of forbidden love, of occupation and prejudice, the British Raj and a lovers triste that can only ever end in tears. Gerald our hero, was slightly wiser than Romeo and kept the death count cleverly down to one as he cheats death, but his poor Lakme dies after digesting some deadly poison from a flower. Had the Father not been so closed minded and judgmental, Lakme could have been alive and happily married. Alas!

The question it raises about army occupations of foreign lands to us in this current time, seems innocuous now tempers have settled and we have a better understanding of what we did back then. Who now wouldn’t question Britain’s behaviour in the Raj? Or any other unlawful occupation that was made in the great cultural leap forward that we took off the backs of others.

Lakme was first performed in 1883 a full 84 years after the French revolution and maybe Délibes thought his voice on the issue of Immoral/Moral occupations should be heard. Seeing how one hundred and fifty years later we are still performing his material he maybe as right now as he was then!

So, to the players themselves. Lakme was sung by Hannah Sawle and the strength and beauty of her voice is a gift as precious as porcelain but as robust as steel. That girl has great power she also shows understanding of the music and timing that one would not find tighter anywhere. She sang the part as Fonteyne would have danced Swan Lake. She made it her own and we all collectively fell in love.

When Lakme and her maid Mallika sing the most famous song of the show, The Flower Duet (now famous for promoting some Bank or other on the TV) one was present to a sound of such beauty .The live orchestra and the voices twizzled and entwined together and the match was breathtakingly spectacular.

Mallika sung by Katerzyna Balejeko, was the perfect maid for Lakme and the relationship status was happily blurred due to their love for each other’s company. Their friendship and joy of the beauty around them is so sweetly delivered in the Flower Duet.

However The Bell Song sung by Lakme in the market square was spectacular. Reaching notes that others singers could only dream of Ms. Sawle held the audience in the palm of her hand as her vocal acrobatics were so utterly enchanting.

Today Lakme’s old fashioned Father may be seen as a prejudiced and closed man, he is unaware that his daughter can only ever be happy with the love she has found. Given the value of such a commodity her Father Nilakantha, sung so powerfully by Håkon Vramsmo, decides the best thing he can do, to keep his daughter’s virtue intact is to stab Gerald. I am sure that in 1883 the loyalty would have probably have been with the Father who is trying to keep his daughter safe. Today I am not so sure! So villain or saint Nilakanatha’s contribution is vital to the story and raises such fascinating issues of culture and change.

Swansea City Opera pride themselves with using local choirs and employing them in the busy scenes. Tonight’s scene and choral singers were provided by Temponilla and the Haverfordwest Operatic Society. They too fulfilled their rolés with a consummate professionalism that is in fact the trademark for this, one of our nearest full time Opera Companies. If anyone has ever been hassled in an African or Indian street market by the constant gaggle of vendors, one would see they captured that atmosphere and brought it to the stage in Theatre Severn to share with us all. They got that so right..

The Swansea City Opera Orchestra played so strongly from the pit and the relationship between notes they produced and voices was quite spectacular. Although backing tracks can be so clearly produced they have worked their way into some company’s M.O.; but the clarity and freshness of newly produced notes is inimitable , live music is heard in the heart and in the soul as well as through the ears.

One hopes this wonderfully productive relationship between Orchestra and singers continues to motivate S.C.O. and then residents of Shrewsbury and further afield can be sure that there will be a seal of quality in whatever this highly skilful company can produce next.

This Is A Four Star Review

Owen J.Lewis

A Night to Remember with Swansea City Opera

Keswick Reminder  – Review by Jonathan Denny

The audience at Keswick’s Theatre by the Lake was treated to a performance of rare quality in Swansea City opera’s production of Delibes’ Lakme, and one which will live in the memory for a long time.

Scintillating performances by the lead characters combined with very effective minimalist set, colourfully authentic costumes and superb musicianship from the eight piece orchestra, to give a truly satisfying production. The opera tells the tale of religious tensions and conflicts in British India in the 1880’s, and the production captured the ambience of the period effortlessly. Lakme, daughter of Brahmin priest Nilakantha, breaks the rules of her religion by falling in love with British army officer Gerald. Her despair when he answers the call of his regiment leads her to poison herself, rather then living without him in dishonour.

Soprano Madalina Barbu, as the titular priestess Lakme, is first head offstage and she gave a stunning performance throughout. Her delivery of the beautiful ‘Flower Song’ duet with her servant Mallika, played by the mezzo soprano Katarzyna Balejko, was very moving and all that it was expected to be.

Madalina excelled throughout and particularly shone in the ‘Bell Song’ an act two, a particularly difficult aria which requires incredible vocal gymnastics the singer imitates the sound of a bell. The coloratura soprani effects were mesmerizing as her voice soared into the stratosphere.

It was a shame that the servant Mallika didn’t have a larger part in the opera so that the voice of Katarzyna Balejko could be heard more, but lead tenor Luke Sinclair as Gerald gave a convincing portrayal of a man smitten by love and torn by duty. Luke effectively portrays the character’s confusion as his duties as an officer and a gentleman conflict with his love for Lakme. His strong and accurate singing throughout aptly portrayed his anguish and his love.

Bass Hakan Vramsmo gave a towering performance as Lakme’s father, both literally and figuratively. His powerful and rich voice accurately portrayed his hatred of the British, and also his real love for his daughter.

The secondary characters all played their parts with gusto and skill, baritone Mark Saberton (Frederic), Bo Wang (Hadji), Georgina Stalbow and Jessica Robinson as English ladies and in particular Rhonda Browne as the comedic Mistress Bentson.

The opera, which was sung in English, produced a highly satisfying night of entertainment that left the audience wanting more.

Swansea City Opera – Lakme

Abergavenny Chronicle- review by Liz Davies

It must be pretty galling for a composer to slave for over a year to create an opera packed with passion, drama and pathos only to find that the standout number comes within the first five minutes.
Such was the lot of poor Leo Delibes whose fate was pretty much sealed when a hundred years after his opera Lakme was first performed, British Airways picked the famous Flower Duet to be the track for its famous advertising campaign which almost set the standard for so-called crossover classics.
This double edged sword may have guaranteed that there are few people who don’t cry out ‘I know this one’ when the first chords sound, but does perhaps mean that the rest of the opera is slightly underrated, which is a great shame because it is a little gem.
The story is as old as time – the innocent daughter of a spiritual leader of a subjugated people, falls for a dashing soldier from the occupying force, whose head is turned by the chance of an exotic alternative to his pale, uninteresting love interest.
As ever, because it is opera after all, fate intervenes, and all goes swiftly downhill until Lakme facing abandonment eats the flower of a poisonous datura tree and dies, sadly just before her lover chooses her over his military duty but in time to ensure there’ll be no repercussions from her anguished father.
With its timeless themes Lakme is prime fodder for updating, thankfully with its touring production which reached Abergavenny’s Borough theatre last week, Swansea City Opera resisted any temptation and set its flag firmly in the British Raj of the late nineteenth century.
If anything simplicity was the keynote of this production – the pared down set worked beautifully, combined with Gabriella Ingram’s costume design and the evocative lighting which brought to life the lushness of the riverside garden and epitomised all that comes to mind when we imagine this time and place.
Brendan Wheatley’s direction, as ever, was sound and the small scale orchestra worked well even if occasionally they fell a little short of bringing out the full depth of the music.
Which brings us neatly back to the music. With one standout duet out of the way within ten minutes there is a danger that the rest of the opera bubbles along to its conclusion without anything to really exercise the listener and while there is a slight element of this with Lakme, Delibes did have an ace up his sleeve for Act 2 when he presented the eponymous heroine with the opera’s most famous aria – The Bell Song, thus establishing his reputation for creating one of the most famous operatic duets and the gold standard of coloratura arias.
With its pyrotechnics, the aria was a favourite of the great Dame Joan Sutherland and while not quite hitting the Australian for six, Swansea City Opera’s Hannah Sawle gave an impressive performance of this most challenging piece to the huge appreciation of the Abergavenny audience.
Equally impressive performances came from Luke Sinclair as Gerald, Hakan Vramsmo as Nilakantha and Mark Saberton as Frederic, with support from Katarzyna Balejko as Mallika, Bo Wang as Hadji and Georgina Stalbow and Jessica Robinson as Ellen and Rose.
Rhonda Browne did a lovely comic turn as the harassed governess Mistress Bentson especially in the opening Gilbert and Sullivan-esque moments when I fully expected Major General Stanley to join his excited charges on the beach at Penzance at any moment.
As has become traditional, members of the Gwent Back Society – this time joined by members of the Haverfordwest Operatic Society provided excellent choral support and added immeasurably to the performance.
Once again with this hugely enjoyable, well sung and directed production Swansea City Opera has further laid claim to its poll position in the Welsh arts scene.
Brendan Wheatley and Bridgett Gill have worked long and hard to establish this company’s reputation for bringing high quality opera to small scale venues and venues where opera would not normally be high on the agenda, and it is sad to see that like so much arts provision its funding is under threat.
I’m reminded of the apocryphal story of Winston Churchill, who when told to cut arts funding during the dark days of the Second World War responded ‘Then what are we fighting for?’


Opera Magazine May 2017 – review by Martin Dreyer

There are at least two reasons why Lakmé is a good choice for a small company outside London – it is seldom performed so has rarity value, and there is so much exoticism in Delibes’ score that the imagination needs little help from elaborate sets. That, at least, must have been the reasoning behind Brendan Wheatley’s production, sung in a serviceable new translation by Bridgett Gill. The set was pared down to a series of plinths, and the costumes, designed by Gabriella Ingram, played the major role in conjuring up the British Raj in the late 19th century. The market scene, largely peopled by members of Queen Ethelburga’s choir, was a riot of silks and brocades, the choristers slotting smoothly into the ensembles, eliminating any distinction between them and the pros.

In the title role Madalina Barbu shaped her lines musically and was engagingly flexible in her Legende, the so-called Bell Song. She was well supported by the reassuring mezzo of Katarzyna Balejko as Mallika. Daniel Joy’s Gérald took a little time to find full throttle but came into his own in Act 2. The clean lines of his tenor would be enhanced if he could vary his facial expressions. HåkanVramsmo ‘s bass as Nilakantha was at first too fearsome for this area, but became altogether smoother when he later moderated his tone. Lesser roles were well taken. Rhonda Browne was well cast as the governess Mistress Bentson, chafing amusingly under the humidity. Mark Saberton made a suitable stiff-upper-lipped Frédéric, Gerald’s fellow officer, with Georgina Stalbow his charming fiancée and Jessica Robinson her lively companion. Bo Wang made his mark as Hadji, Nilakantha’s slave. John Beswick conducted his orchestral octet with unfailing commitment, eliciting stylish ensemble. The two principal roles were double-cast:the alternates were Hannah Sawle and Luke Sinclair. the company’s financial tightrope looked like a noose when Swansea City and County withdrew its funding, but fortunately the Arts Council Wales and Arts Council England now seem to be picking up the slack. The tour continues until May 27, using local choirs along the way. A valuable operation in every sense.





Audience Reviews

Audience Reviews

Palace Theatre Paignton

Really, really enjoyed the production of Lakme at Paignton. Fantastic singing and impressive production values made for a wonderful evening. Please come back to Paignton with future productions!

Lakme @Theatrepaignton magical, wonderful night with an incredible cast & amazing talent in Hannah Sawle as the enchanting eastern beauty.

I enjoyed the performance very much. The singers were great! Ever since I have taken up singing as my hobby, I enjoy watching musicals and opera live performances a lot better. I would like to watch another performance again definitely.

It was a fantastic production. The quality of the performance was excellent and it was a real treat to see live opera of this calibre here in here in the South West.

Enjoyed very much. Pre-show talk a real bonus as so informative & added extra value to the evening.

Be enchanted by Hannah Sawle as Lakme. A coruscating rendition of the Bell Song.

Theatre by the Lake Keswick

Wonderful! A rare chance to see an “unknown” opera, beautifully sung and staged. Thank you.

Enjoyed Lakme very much – fine soloists and excellent chamber orchestra

Have been to opera very many times, – very enjoyable despite limits imposed by modest theatre size and touring minimizing scenery – even so Bazaar was very effective. Excellent singing especially from principals, you obviously have a gift for spotting real talent on the way up and early in careers. Whilst familiar enough with the “highlights” of Lakme, had never seen it complete until now and feel it deserves a more regular place in the repertoire. So thanks for that too! I like to go to opera as often as possible, but at 78, distance problems now severely limit opportunities in Cumbria. Thank you do come again!

Enjoyed very much. Have never experienced live opera before, but have always wanted to.

Theatre Severn Shrewsbury

What a wonderful production of Lakme last night in Shrewsbury! The performances & the singing were excellent!
Thank you all for your hard work! Wishing you all the very best for future productions!

We appreciated this touring opera and would support future performances – good luck! Enjoyed very much.

Enjoyed very much. Have known the Bell Song and the Flower Duet for many years. Never expected to see the whole opera and found it surprisingly good.

The chances of seeing Lakme are few and far between in the UK! It was a most enjoyable performance. The Lakme, Hannah Sawle did remarkably well in the fiendishly difficult ‘Bell Song’ and all the cast sang well. More French opera is needed in the UK – WNO seem to have an aversion to Massenet for example! Keep up the excellent work. Donation enclosed.

Your production of Lakmé on 03Mar2017 at TheatreSevern Shrewsbury, held me entranced from the very start. A delightful performance perfectly fitted to the location with minimal yet effective sets. This work has so much more to it than the well known evocative “Flower Song” and the outstanding singing, music and acting brought it to life. Swansea City Opera deserve the highest acclaim for presenting such an accomplished performance.

Sherman Theatre Cardiff

Enjoyed very much. Beautiful singing (especially Lakme) and attractive costumes, nice touches of humour. (The Pearl Fishers would suit your company).

We usually see opera at the Millenium Centre – it was nice to see it at a smaller theatre, closer to the stage.

This was my first performance by Swansea City Opera but have attended occasional operas by WNO and others over the years. I enjoyed the the pared down production which retained the essence of the voice and music.

Enjoyed very much. I thought the talk was very informative and really helped to understand the history of the opera. The score was beautiful and the singing very impressive. It’s a difficult opera for the main soloists – probably why it’s rarely performed – but I thought that they were magnificent, especially Gerald – what a stunning voice!

Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds

I was privileged to be in the audience when Swansea City Opera performed Lakmé at Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds last Saturday. I had never expected to see a full performance of this rarely done opera, and I was not disappointed. It was a triumph and a delight. It would be invidious to single out any individuals but I’m going to do it anyway. Håkan Vramsmo thrilled as the Brahmin priest, Lakmé’s father, just as he did as Marcello last year. Bring him to thrill us again and again. But it was Hannah Sawle as Lakmé who rightly stole the show. Sixty years ago Mady Mesplé made the role of Lakmé her own, establishing her interpretation as the standard against which all others would be measured. If I closed my eyes last Saturday, I could have believed it was Mady Mesplé herself singing. Hannah has the same light tone, the same coloratura brilliance and control. Yes, the Flower Duet (special mention for Katarzyna Balejko’s fabulous singing) and the Bell Song were out of this world, but Hannah sustained a wonderful performance throughout the entire opera, and she has made it her own too. Mady Mesplé has a worthy successor. Thank you to the entire performing and production team for bringing it to our theatre.

I was fortunate enough through my local choir to be part of the Lakme chorus in it’s production at the Theatre Royal Bury st Edmunds. I have never been on stage in a theatre so had a few nerves but everyone of the company team that we met were welcoming, encouraging & kind and made the whole experience fun. We had a fantastic time & it was an amazing opportunity to sing with these wonderful professional singers. Thank you for bringing this to West Suffolk..

Enjoyed very much. It was an opportunity to see Lakme. We like the venue to which we travel from Cambridge, and are on the mailing list. This type of touring company supports artists, smaller theatres and local music groups/societies, offering reasonably priced, excellent quality performances. Not travelling great distances is better for the environment and for the individual.

It was an opportunity to see an opera that is seldom performed and company I’d not seen before, though I knew the music. There were some really good singers in the company and I would go to hear them again should they come into this area.

The opportunity for choirs to sing in a professional operatic production is inspirational – please continue this creative collaboration. The production created the Indian/Hindu atmosphere simply and the colours were like jewels. Hannah Sawle was exceptional. Congratulations.

Enjoyed very much. Splendid small-scale production of Delibes’ masterpiece, rather neglected in the UK.

Excellent performance – do come again. It was good to hear the famous bits in the proper context.

Theatre Royal Winchester

Enjoyed very much. Impressed by the powerful voices of the lead singers. It is good that the company engage the support of local community choirs.

We thought the Lakme (Madalina Barbu) was excellent. Concerning the orchestra, single strings is acceptable in the circumstances, but we felt that the woodwind (especially flute and clarinet) were overpowering and tended to drown the singing.

We loved La Boheme, and booked Lakme straight away after seeing the publicity. Beautifully performed. Superb professional performers. We were enchanted.

I would like to say how much my husband and I enjoyed seeing Lakme yesterday evening. The Swansea City Opera performed the opera so beautifully. We were both captivated. We’ll look out for further productions at your venue. Thank you for hosting it. We didn’t want it to end. Please pass this feedback to those concerned.

You can have too much Mozart. I like to see operas I have not seen before. It is also refreshing to see an opera performed ‘straight’ – no gratuitous rape; no one sitting on lavatories etc!

Enjoyed very much. It was a good production, well sung. Most enjoyable.

Borough Theatre Abergavenny

All of the cast performing Lakme at Abergavenny proved beyond doubt that this opera deserves many more performances. We were all able to appreciate all aspects of the story, from humor, historical and social comment and not forgetting the tragic and romantic aspects. Hakan Vramsmo as the priest, scary and a fantastic voice. We all fell in love with the voice of Lakme, beauty and complete clarity. The acting by Miss Benson, brilliant, as was the acting of all the characters.The orchestra may have been small but made up for this in quality, a pleasure to watch the conductor at work. A most enjoyable and thought provoking night had by all no doubt, looking forward to your next show.

Lakme was new for me and very enjoyable. Performance was excellent, as it always is with you.

Singing was first class – especially Hannah Sawle as Lakme – quite brilliant.

Beautiful music and exquisite performance from heroine. We would have enjoyed it even more sung in the original French.

Having been to performances by Swansea City Opera in the past, I knew it was going to be good, and the performance absolutely lived up to expectations.

I like the work of this company very much. Productions are good and you feel, as an audience member, to be very close to the music and the action. I appreciate the fact very much, that it is affordable and am grateful to be able to see opera so close to home. The house is always packed and that speaks volumes.

The performances are always a joy, can’t wait for your next visit! Donation enclosed.

Town Hall Maesteg

Very interested to see Lakme – not performed often and not enough. Pre-show talk excellent, really added to the performance and enjoyment of the evening. the cast were excellent, very accomplished and well deserved the standing ovation. Your programme was very good – informative and not mostly adverts.

Taliesin Theatre Swansea

I enjoyed the performance very much. I thought it was perfection. In every department you excelled; singing, character casting across the board, costumes, presentation of how cultures unknowingly clash, stage control of the crowd scenes in scene two, the pretty and simple vignettes in the third scene, the use of colour on stage against the cream backdrop became a well explained picture that differentiated personalities and culture. To slip all these assets together so the story can be told simply and without fuss requires a level of stage craft is very rare even in very expensive productions. Such stage intelligence can only achieved by people who have been through many years of hard graft. Congratulations, you excelled yourselves.

Enjoyed very much and congratulations! Talk: Brendan’s magnetic enthusiasm and expertise.  Show: This was an unknown opera to us: the story and music were excellent, along with the cast, and for the first time we were able to associate some quite well-known melodies with their source!

The Octagon Yeovil

Most beautiful and moving performance which I thoroughly enjoyed yesterday evening at the Octagon Theatre in Yeovil. The cast were magnificent as was the direction of the performance. Proud of the Swansea City Opera.

I had listened to a CD of Lakme prior to attending. I thought the production was very good – colours of costumes most pleasing.

Very good soloists and chorus. Rather difficult to make out the words (as usual with opera!).

The talk was excellent. The balance between orchestra and singers often did not seem right to me but I do not know the opera and I might change my mind if I saw it again. Lakme was outstanding.

I love all forms of performance art and my godmother recommended seeing Lakme as I was watching the Flower Duet on Youtube. I really enjoyed the pre-show talk and will use my experience in my portfolio work next year, when I start my level 3 BTEC in performing arts at Carlisle College of the Arts.

Many good points. Soloists all in good voice. Bell song superbly sung. However the diction by all the soloists in English was not good at all. English surtitles would have been very helpful (ENO used them once!). I thought it might be because singers were not natural English speakers, but Daniel Joy was just as bad in his most important aria! Vramsmo superb!

Palace Theatre Mansfield

We saw Lakme last night and were rightly impressed by the singing with particular mention of Hannah Swale. Outstanding performance. The staging and overall performance was brilliant we have rarely enjoyed an opera more. The performance deserved a better audience. Well done to Swansea City Opera. Shame on you Swansea Council for your short sighted withdrawal of funding.

It is the first time Lakme has been in this area, the pre-show talk made it more interesting.

Both the costumes and staging were superb. The singing (particularly Hannah Sawle as Lakme) was outstanding and deserved a much bigger audience. Her top notes were brilliant and perfectly sing! Brilliant – Well Done!

Enjoyed very much!!! Great Music! Thank you so much for coming to Mansfield!

Harrogate Theatre

I was introduced to Opera through Faust two years ago. That was such a stunning spectacle and a tingling spine experience that I have tried and enjoyed others since. The director’s talk is the key to the enjoyment with setting, the parameters (eg how much can be fitted into a 3.5 ton truck), how it is translated and played by a smaller travelling orchestra all adding to the evening’s experience. For me, the Bell song within the market scene was the highlight moment. Thank you for all your hard work in touring this production of Lakme. (Harrogate 5/5/17)

Enjoyed very much. Had never heard nor seen Lakme. I agree with Brendan Wheatley’s comments wholeheartedly. A wonderful performance!

Have seen several of your productions. Extremely well performed and sung. Good to have live music!

I have been an opera fan for seventy years and had never seen a performances of Lakme. I thought it was very well sung and produced for such a small company and wish them well. WNO was originally set up from a group of singers from Swansea, am happy to see the tradition continue.

Thoroughly enjoyed the talk: very interesting and informative. This helped a great deal as the opera is so infrequently performed. Loved Mr Wheatley’s style and delivery and the Q&A. Lack of elitism was very pleasing.

Middlesbrough Theatre

Enjoyed it very much and we thought that all of the lead voices were wonderful.

The principals and orchestra were magnificent and the local support was splendid. We regularly visit the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, and the standard of the solo and chorus singing compared favourably. You need more pre-visit publicity to sell tickets.

Excellent singing. Unfortunately although a friend had told us about the pre-show talk, the assistant at the Box Office seemed unaware of it and simply told us that the performance started at 7.30pm.

Enjoyed it because I had never seen it before. The singing was first class, especially Lakme – Hannah Sawle.

Simply excellent. Little known opera with much loved music. Don’t know why it isn’t performed more often.

The talk enabled me to understand the opera and feel part of every moment. I now feel confident to attend any opera. It has excited an interest in me I never thought I had. The performance was wonderful. I smiled, I had tears and I was moved. I loved it. I can’t stop talking about it and will bring my teenage daughters next time.

Wolsey Theatre Ipswich

Hannah Sawle as Lakme & Hakan Vramsmo as Nilakantha were brilliant. I liked the simple set. the orchestra really good. I’d go again to a Swansea opera – but only within 20 miles. Nice and convenient. PS Lakme’s legs could’ve been same colour as her face!

I enjoyed the whole experience. The production captures the atmosphere of the ‘Raj Period’ very well, both in staging and attention to detail in the costumes worn at that period. The quality of the singing was of a very high standard throughout the cast, with the soloists of particular merit, which they combined with excellent dramatic skills too. Lovely to see this opera by Delibes staged with such enthusiasm. Well done to all!

Although I have been ‘going to opera’ for many years this is the first and only chance I have had to see Lakme. We thoroughly enjoyed the evening.

Enjoyed very much. Very well sung.

I have never been to this particular opera before but have always loved the opera and as both my daughter and grand- daughter were singing in the chorus (members of Chedburgh Community Choir) it was a great opportunity to see them on stage with a professional company. Enjoyed very much.

It was a first rate performance. Very well done everyone, and “all strength to your arm” for the company’s future.

Neuadd Dwyfor Pwllheli

Enjoyed very much. I rarely miss opera at Pwllheli, usually Swansea City Opera.

Ucheldre Centre Holyhead

The main reason it was so enjoyable was that it was “live”. Also the quality of the singing was superb particularly Lakme.

The voices were superb and the staging was great.

I loved the talk and the opera and appreciated all the hard work by all involved. How you put on a show like that in so many different theatres at such a high standard is amazing! Brilliant!

I enjoyed the opera because it is so rarely done. So it was a treat.

Please accept this card as a sincere thanks for your work in bringing ‘opera’ to Holyhead. the evening of Lakme was brilliant. If you can mention this to all involved in the production and performance we would be truly grateful. It was to me and Eric unbelievable. We look forward to any more visits from you. Diolch yn Fawr.

Torch Theatre Milford Haven

Brilliant night. Fantastic performance of Lakeme at the Torch Theatre, Milford Haven. An absolute pleasure. My husband is a musician of 50 years standing who after suffering brain injury lost his ability to play. It is evenings such as this giving him the will to carry on relearning his skills. The Arts are so important to peoples well being. Thank you so much. xx

Enjoyed very much. It was stunning!!

I enjoyed the performance of a rarely performed opera – unfortunately, apart from a few good bits, I don’t feel it is a very good opera! The last act in particular was weak. Can’t fault the performances though.

Wonderful singing and diction, Lakme alias Madalina Barbu was fantastic – what a beautiful voice – she made it look so easy and yet the music was so difficult to sing. Well done to the whole cast.