2009: The Whale Savers
[W11] is a little miracle, and I hope it goes on for ever.
Robert Thicknesse, Opera Now, March April 2010
What a terrific production! And what a lively piece of music theatre. I’m sure Benjamin Britten would have approved of an opera that has so many juicy parts for young people to get their teeth into. And with so many confident scene changes. Congratulations to one and all.
Humphrey Burton CBE
So much work goes into making such a professional and committed performance, but more than that the young people were so assured, skilled and confident and were having so much enjoyment from their involvement – it was a joy to see.
Katie Tearle, Head of Education, Glyndebourne
….. thanks again for a very entertaining evening. I was really impressed, again – and actually pleased that you took on such a challenging piece! – of course there were hairy moments but it was a triumph of talent and discipline I thought…..
Robert Thicknesse, freelance journalist
….just wanted to say what a fabulous time I had last night. It really was a very moving experience. So many brilliant performances and lovely moments. Thank you so much for all your support and help over the last two years – thanks to you, what could have been a scary experience was a thoroughly enjoyable and exciting one.
Phil Porter, librettist, The Whale Savers
…I was particularly pleased and proud to see the number of Queen’s Gate girls involved. The enthusiasm and the energy of the cast were evident throughout, as was their sheer enjoyment in being involved, however large or small their part. Talking to our girls afterwards, it was obvious that not only had they enjoyed their involvement, but they were hugely appreciative of this wonderful opportunity…. the cast are to be congratulated on managing to fit this in with their many other commitments at School – an important skill in itself.
Mrs R.M. Kamaryc, Principal, Queen’s Gate School
What a wonderful experience W11 opera was! The sense of a whole company working together was staggering – the dedication of everyone involved was deeply touching. It was so uplifting to see so much care and dedication.
Peter McGarr, Composer
The W11 Opera was quite exceptional in all departments. We thought the quality of acting, staging and movement reached a new high. It seemed that all the scores of children on stage had been carefully taught to act their parts, however marginal, so that the overall effect was incredibly professional….What an achievement.
Patrick and Louise Grattan, long term supporters
Many congrats on a superb enterprise. It is a terrific achievement.
Veronica Franklin Gould, general patron of the arts
Just to say how much I enjoyed the show on Sunday. Many congratulations. What a lot of hard work!
Rodney Slatford, Yorke Music Trust, Norfolk
Talked to Catherine MJ today who said how very much she’d enjoyed it, and how brilliant it was on every front, music, staging, enthusiasm (as ever!) and how well it fitted the space at Riverside. Onwards and upwards W11.
Sue Best, Director W11 Opera in the mid 80s
I thought the production standards were excellent and it was great to see that level of commitment from the children. The whole venture seems admirable!
David Bruce, Composer
The Whale Savers was one of your best…Very clever to have so many groups of characters (media pack etc) with scope for different levels of contribution. Musically clever too…Wonderfully atmospheric set, really giving impression of looking out to sea.
Dr. Robert Asher, long term supporter
I was most impressed by the professional standard of the production and the wonderful humour injected into the storyline.
Emma Brophy, W4 and W6 websites
Congratulations again on your show. It was wonderful and very inspiring.
Maria Rita Epic from Izmir, Turkey
I must say I do believe that this was one of the most disciplined and professional performances that I have seen by W11 for a long time. The choreography was excellent and the ‘background action’ too was well-directed.
It was a hard score yet soloists and chorus alike really had it in their grasp – so well done to them all and the ‘music dept’!!
Chris Sprague, ITV Producer and St. James’s organist
It was a pleasure having W11 here again this year, yours was a show to which we looked forward and were not disappointed. It’s always a joy to work with such lovely and committed people…..I look forward to the African experience next year.
James Donovan Technical Manager, Riverside Studios
Congratulations on a truly wonderful production. Izzy was thrilled to have a significant role this year and it was a joy to see her blossom into a much more confident performer…
Standing in the foyer after two of the shows, I overheard glowing compliments for every aspect of the production…I also heard the joy and sadness of a young cast who had relished the chance to participate in an exceptional community of like minded performers…
Deborah Kent, parent
I just wanted to say how absolutely wonderful it was to be present at the company’s final show tonight. It was technically brilliant, with the voices miked up to just the right level, and the orchestra beautiful but not drowning out the voices. But best of all was seeing how the children had grown into their parts since the performance on Friday. They were really in their adopted skins, and looked so confident in their interpretation of their parts. Fantastic!
Ginny Rattray, Parent
I would like to say what a wonderful time Thomas has had taking part in this year’s production. He has absolutely loved the whole experience… We thought The Whale Savers was fantastic. We watched it twice, but I wished that I had bought tickets for the other shows as well!!
Clare Southgate, Parent
Thank you very much for your incredibly hard work and for creating such a wonderful production. Once again, you have all put together a great show in a very short space of time, and given the children a really memorable experience.
Sarah Helm, parent
Sad to leave Farnaway? More like devastated!
Thanks again to both of you for yet another fabulous season. The opera certainly defines our autumn in a positive way. Gemma lives for it.
Jane Logan, Parent
We would like to thank everyone at the W11 Opera for giving the children this great opportunity to perform, and for giving the audience the pleasure to watch and listen. My daughter had a amazing experience. Myself and my entourage literally loved the Whale Savers. We were impressed how, in such a short time, you can achieve so much! Congratulations!
Karine Heilmann, parent
I thought the production looked and sounded wonderful – super stage, great costumes, excellent acting, great singing, happy children – altogether a great show, and a reflection of the huge amount of organisation that went into it – which is somehow seamlessly invisible on the night.
Lucy Taylor, parent
I just wanted to thank you so much for all of your hard work in putting on the W11 opera production this year. It really was a triumph and the children as well as the adults seemed to respond to the story and the music. Cordelia really enjoyed participating and is already talking about next year
Victoria Rock, parent
As to the opera, it was absolutely fantastic musically, and as a production extremely sophisticated. The young tackled the difficult music with great aplomb. I think the venue helped the production enormously: no awkward echoes, a good view of the conductor, easy access to the stage. It was great to see the same old brio in the tuttis. All well worth the enormous effort which goes into the creation and hopefully inspiring the young to put music at the forefront of their lives.
Catharine Marr-Johnson, W11 Company Manager in the 1980s
I’ve followed you guys through your website for years. Your company is an inspiration.
Molly Khatcheressian, USA
I really enjoyed my four years of performance at W11 Opera, they definitely encouraged my talent and strengthened my desire to become an opera singer.
Gina Walter, ex-cast member, Singing student at Guildhall
From the Evening Standard website “This is London”
We loved this. It was exciting, with a story that was easy to follow and really interesting. Performed by kids for kids. I am definitely going to audition for W11 Opera next year.
Young Opera Lover, Kensington, London
A wonderful story, and an inspiring performance by the Children of W11 opera… A good libretto and fine music all pulled together by the team at W11 made this a memorable evening.
J Whaler, London
From the Community Performance
The children and staff thoroughly enjoyed the performance. One child said to me at the end, ‘Is that the end, Oh I didn’t want it to finish.’ I think that sums up their enjoyment.……hopefully a child from Addison could be performing next year too!
Clare Pugh, Deputy Head Teacher, Addison Primary School
It was very challenging music and the young people who sang it were excellent.
Anne-Louise De Buriane, Headteacher, Langford Primary & Gibbs Green School
Thank you so much for the show last night. Jenny and I enjoyed the evening very much. Jenny was singing “sauvete” to the captive audience on the tube home!
Catherine Atkinson, Mousetrap