BREMF Early Opera
28 Jun – 12 Jul 2021

La Liberazione di Ruggiero dal isola di Alcina by Francesca Caccini (1625)

Thomas Guthrie director
Oliver Webber, Deborah Roberts and Claire Williams musical coaching and direction

An opportunity for advanced students and young professionals

Spend 2 weeks studying and rehearsing the earliest known opera written by a woman, leading not only to public performances, but also to an experimental feature film.

There will also be classes on ornamentation, poetic structure, verbal delivery and phrasing that applies to singers and instrumentalists alike. In addition, a workshop on making good videos will be invaluable to all participants.

This course is free and generous expenses will be paid, along with accommodation in Brighton when needed.

Participants should ideally be available for the whole period as extra activities will be organised for those with smaller roles – both vocally or instrumentally. The choruses are also extensive.

Roles for singers

Ruggiero – tenor (medium range, heroic style)
Alcina – soprano (good dramatic style)
Melissa – mezzo-soprano (countertenors considered)

Smaller roles – also providing wide range of choruses
Sirena & 1st Water Deity – soprano (agile)
Nunzia & 2nd Water Deity – soprano
1st Damigella – soprano
2nd Damigella – soprano
3rd Damigella & Female Monster – mezzo-soprano
(the 3 Damigelle sing a lot as a trio)
Female Enchanted Plant/Formerly Enchanted Lady – soprano
Fiume Vistola & Pastore – tenor
Male Enchanted Plant & 3rd Water Deity – tenor
Astolfo – tenor (very small role but multiple choruses)
Nettuno & Male Monster – baritone


Oliver Webber leader
Claire Williams continuo lead

Vacancies for 2 violins (preferably doubling recorders), bass violin or cello (some continuo), violone, tenor viol, lirone, chitarrone, harp, keyboard.
4 sackbuts are required only for the enchanted plants scene so could be recorded in advance.

Application deadline 15 January 2021

All singers should submit a video performance of one of the extracts from the opera as provided (email for audition extracts). In addition, those interested in one of the 3 principal roles should include an appropriate 17th-century piece in Italian (not an Italian aria by Handel).

Instrumentalists should include a video of a 17th century sonata, canzona, ornamented madrigal or chanson, or solo vocal piece. Please feel free to get in touch if you are unsure whether your proposed repertoire will be suitable.

Applicants should submit their audition video(s) – YouTube or Google Drive links preferred – alongside a current CV (paying particular attention to any experience of singing pre-Handel music) to by 5pm on Friday 15 January 2021.

Those shortlisted will be invited to a zoom interview with the directors.