Hatstand’s Opera in the Park programme

Sunday 6th August 2023 at 1pm

We’re so looking forward to entertaining all you good folks here in Victoria Park Portsmouth. So sit back, enjoy your picnic and here’s what we’re planning to sing!

Click to download the PDF version.

ACT 1  
I declare this is too boldMerry Wives of WindsorNicolai
Non più andraiLe Nozze di FigaroMozart, W A
Flower DuetLakméDelibes
Measuring DuetLe Nozze di FigaroMozart, W A
O mio babbino caroGianni SchicchiPuccini
Die Glock schlug Merry Wives of WindsorNicolai
Là ci daremDon GiovanniMozart, W A
Pres des rempartsCarmenBizet
Fly DuetOrpheus in the UnderworldOffenbach
ACT 2  
Death to the InvaderPrincess IdaGilbert & Sullivan
Mephistopheles’ Serenade FaustGounod
Sull’ ariaLe Nozze di FigaroMozart, W A
Ebben? ne andrò lontanaLa WallyCatalani
Three Little MaidsThe MikadoGilbert & Sullivan

And some surprise items just for Opera in the Park!

(programme very much subject to possible changes in order and content)

You are listening to….

Toni Nunn (soprano): roles include Violetta La Traviata, Queen of the Night Magic Flute, Rosina Barber of Seville, Adina L’Elisir d’amore, Mistress Ford Merry Wives of Windsor, Madam Herze The Impressario, Gilda Rigoletto, Lucia Lucia di Lammamoor, Nella Gianni Schicchi, and Fiordiligi Cosi Fan Tutte. Toni also runs Singers for Funerals, singing throughout the pandemic, and at a total of almost 500 funerals to date.

Kirsty Young (mezzo): roles include Dorabella Cosi Fan Tutte, Nancy Albert Herring, Cherubino Le Nozze di Figaro, Nicklaus Tales of Hoffmann, Orestes La Belle Helene, Mercedes Carmen, Octavian Der Rosenkavalier, Hänsel Hänsel und Gretel, and Rosina The Barber of Seville. She is founder and Director of Hatstand Opera, and the proud owner of a pedigree Field Spaniel who won her class at Crufts – once.

Bryan Kesselman (baritone): roles include Dr Bartolo Barber of Seville, Figaro Marriage of Figaro, Papageno Magic Flute, Jack Point Yeomen of the Guard, and Ko-Ko The Mikado. Bryan has composed operas including “The Time Traveller”, a “Diamond Jubilee Choral Fanfare”, performed for The Queen in 2012, and “Maccabee”, for which he received a Millennium Award. He is Musical Director of the Tonic Choirs.

Sue Graham Smith (pianist): has coached over 30 operas and worked with BBC Symphony Chorus, English National Opera, D’Oyly Carte, Kent Opera and many other choirs & opera companies. On TV and radio, Sue has played on BBC Songs of Praise, the Gloria Hunniford Show, and Maestro (with celebrity conductors). Sue is currently Accompanist to Brighton Festival Chorus, Chichester Singers and West Sussex Youth Choir. 

Opera in the Park this August

The perfect way to spend a lazy summer Sunday afternoon! 

Join us for a fabulous afternoon of live opera in the leafy surroundings of historic Victoria Park in Portsmouth. We were chuffed to be asked back for a third time, especially as it really was by popular demand. The council organisers did a survey as to which previous performers people wanted to see again in the park – and we came out on top! 

Join Kirsty, Toni, baritone Bryan and pianist Sue for favourite scenes and arias, plus the occasional classic musical, a couple of unusual items for the opera buffs, and lots of fun stuff too.

Please bring your own chairs and blankets for your family and friends. Pack a picnic to enjoy together, or treat yourself to a delicious lunch from Café in the Park or from a hand-picked selection of food stalls.

And best of all, it’s free – no tickets required.

Opera in the Park

Sunday 6th August 2023 at 1pm

Victoria Park, Stanhope Road, Portsmouth, PO1 3HJ

• Free entry – no tickets required

• Bring your own chairs/blankets and picnic

• Café in the Park and a small selection of food stalls open

• Toilets will be on site

• Please note that Victoria Park is a dog free area

For more information on Opera in the Park, email VictoriaPark@portsmouthcc.gov.uk

Opera in the Park is part of a series of events to celebrate the restoration and renovation of this historic park, a green and family-friendly place for all Portsmouth residents to enjoy. For more information on the improvements and other future events, see https://www.victoriaparkportsmouth.org.uk .

Join us for Opera Under the Stars this August

A fantastic fundraising evening for you and your friends to enjoy!

Join us for a late summer’s evening of opera favourites in aid of Cherry Trees Respite Care in an exclusive private garden. Back for a third performance by popular demand, we present our chocolate-box assortment of classic scenes and arias from favourite operas, in our trademark informal style.

We’ll also include the occasional classic musical too, plus a couple of unusual items for the opera buffs, and lots of fun stuff for the rest of us!

Start with a drink while you admire the garden, with exceptional views across the Surrey countryside. 

Please bring anything you may need to make your evening comfortable, such as tables, chairs and cushions – candelabras optional! 

Feel free to make your picnic as lavish or simple as you choose, with drinks of your choice. 

Then, sit back and enjoy a superb open air performance with us, Hatstand Opera.

Saturday 27th August 2022 at 7pm

Private Residence,  Effingham
(full address to be revealed on booking)

Gates open for picnics at 5.30pm
Plenty of free parking available

Tickets: £45

Bring a picnic and your friends for a wonderful evening of magnificent music set in beautiful surroundings. 


Call: 01483 222507

All proceeds support Cherry Trees, a charity providing exceptional home-from-home, specialist short-break respite visits for children and young adults with a range of complex disabilities.

Cherry Trees, School Lane, East Clandon, GU4 7RS
Registered Charity No. 800222

Hatstand back at St Neots for 2019

St Neots_Laugh_2019

Yes, we’re back at this lovely church to present “Laugh-Allowed Opera”, a rib-tickling romp through comic opera classics.

Why not join in the fun – tickets on sale now!

Tickets: £12.50

Available from:
bruceelam45@gmail.com – 01480 473820
david.smith48@ntlworld.com – 01480 475259

Refreshments served at the interval

All proceeds to the Friends of St Neots Parish Church




Free Opera in the Park in Portsmouth!

The audience in Victoria Park back in 2010, just before the show started.


We’re delighted that Opera in the Park is back in Victoria Park Portsmouth this July – for one night only!

We’ll be performing our iconic opera highlights show “Golden Moments from Opera” on Wednesday 26 July in the leafy setting of Victoria Park, Portsmouth, in exactly the same spot as our last performance there, back in 2010!

Our live performance is the culmination of a month of opera in Portsmouth, which includes live relays from the Royal Opera House Covent Garden on the Big Screen in Guildhall Square. And by a spooky coincidence, our cast will include baritone Jochem, who has just finished performing at …the Royal Opera House Covent Garden!

Why not come and join us for a great evening of opera. Bring the kids if you want – it’s the last day of term for them.

Best of all, it’s free. Yes, you did read that right; free, gratis, no charge, no tickets required. Just turn up with a rug or a chair (we suggest the latter), maybe a picnic, and enjoy the show.

If you’d like to join in the fun, here’s the details:

Golden Moments from Opera
Wednesday 26 July 2017, at 7.30pm
Victoria Park, Anglesea Road, Portsmouth, PO1 3LD
Free Entry – please bring a rug or a chair
Further Information: www.visitportsmouth.co.uk

Opera in the Park is presented by Portsmouth City Council


Hatstand Opera come to St Neots for the first time in November

GM-image-newWith our 20 years of experience touring across the UK, we’ve sung in a lot of English towns, but never in St Neots! So, we’re thrilled to be heading to this historic town on Saturday 19 November to perform our iconic “Golden Moments from Opera” – 2016 version!

One of the great thrills of being a touring opera company is that we get to sing in lovely surroundings, and bring new visitors to some of our most precious historic buildings and churches.

So, we’ll be performing in the Parish Church of St Mary the Virgin, aka St Neots Parish Church, a beautiful Grade 1 Listed 15th century church. Our performance is presented by The Friends of St Neots Parish Church, and will help raise funds to keep this fine old building in a good state of repair.

As the Friends say on their website:

“Although the church does not have major structural problems, it needs a steady programme of repairs. It is over 500 years old! The need to use conservation techniques means that even small repairs are very expensive. It has an active and friendly congregation but their resources are not enough to do everything. So the building needs help.”


“Golden Moments from Opera” is our flag ship show of scenes and arias from the world’s favourite operas, presented in our informal and entertaining style.

The cast for this fun evening of opera features our Australia singer Toni Nunn, Birmingham-based tenor Richard Owen and HSO’s director Kirsty Young (mezzosoprano, not newsreader).

At the piano will be Gill Ford, a superb pianist we’ve known for many years but with such a busy schedule, we have to book her many months in advance!

If you’d like to join us on Saturday 19 November, here’s the details you’ll need to book your tickets:

Saturday 19 November 2016 at 7.30pm

Golden Moments from Opera

St Mary’s Church, Church Street, St Neots, Cambs, PE19 2BU

Tickets: £12.50, £10 concs

Available from:
bruceandalice26@btinternet.com – 01480 473820
raggatt2@onetel.net – 01480 213884
jarogus@msn.com – 01480 476314

Refreshments served at the interval.
All proceeds to The Friends of St Neots Parish Church – http://friendsofsnpc.org.uk

Remember, you can also find us on social media:

HSO at the Much Wenlock Festival this June

GM-image-newWe’re thrilled to be making our first visit to the Much Wenlock Festival this year, to join an amazing line-up of acts performing at this popular Shropshire arts festival.

We’ll be performing a bespoke version of our all-time top show “Golden Moments from Opera” on Saturday 11 June, at 8pm. Expect lots of well-known items and some fun new discoveries too, all performed in the usual fun, informal Hatstand style

Join us for a fun evening of music and laughter in the Church Green marquee. Bring your friends, family, grannies – they’ll all have a good time!

Click here to buy your tickets online

or check out the Much Wenlock Festival website 

Raising funds with outdoor performances


The Hatstand Opera outdoor fundraising performance season started in earnest last Saturday with a wonderful performance in aid of Cherry Trees respite care. One of their supporters has opened their home as a venue, and after some considerable advance planning, all was set for a great evening in the garden, with us performing on the raised terrace. The whole set-up looked lovely.

Not that the weather looked lovely, with scudding grey rain clouds, but thanks to a carefully places mini marquee, we stayed warm and dry through a very wet afternoon’s rehearsal.

By the time the gates opened at 5.30pm, the rain has stopped, the grass was actually drying, and everyone set up their picnic tables in sunshine that grew stronger by the minute.

Indeed, by the time we started Act 1 at 7pm, the sun was shining brightly, a sure sign that our sungoddess soprano Toni was working her magic.

Back in the days when Toni toured with a variety of UK companies, she was often double-cast in major roles such as Violetta in la Traviata. Whenever she sang outside, the sun would shine and the weather would be fine. On one memorable occasion, a major thunderstorm literally held off until her Violetta gasped her last, ending the opera with a spectacular lightning display. The other Violetta fared less well on her nights, often getting very wet!

After our show for Cherry Trees, we drove home in fine weather to discover that almost everywhere else we passed through had experienced heavy rain all night. We were truly blessed, and to top it all, the charity raised almost £6000 from the evening, an amazing sum.

So, if you’re planning an outdoor opera fundraising performance and you want good weather, you know who needs to be there…!

photo courtesy of Jon from Cherry Trees www.cherry-trees.co.uk

Chatteris Review by Rosemary Westwell

Kirsty, Toni, Jochem & Sue at Chatteris 21st June 2014
We had a wonderful night at Chatteris on Midsummer night (21st June) and so too did the audience – here’s what the reviewer said:

Hatstand Opera presented some golden moments from opera on Saturday in Chatteris for the Music Society. This was one of the many high profile events the Society has organised and it was, indeed, a series of ‘golden’ moments. Opera favourites were mixed with lesser known delights in this varied programme and the evening ended with some highly entertaining re-workings of more, familiar tunes. The whole evening was a thoroughly enjoyable experience, because not only was the singing first-rate but joy and humour regularly infused the programme, leaving us mesmerised.

Toni Nunn (soprano), Kirsty Young (mezzo), and Jochem van Ast (baritone) were in fine voice and very ably accompanied by pianist Sue Graham Smith. Songs were sung mostly in English but we were entertained with some delightful numbers in their original language. The French sounds of ‘The Flower Duet’ helped to make this one of the most memorable items. Toni and Kirsty’s voices were perfectly matched in this piece as were all voices in ‘Soave sia il vento’ from Cosi fan Tutte by Mozart.

The highlight for me was Toni’s performance of ‘Vissi d’arte’ from Puccini’s ‘Tosca’. The Italian language, the smooth phrases infused with passion and, of course, the wonderful voice was transfixing. Kirsty and Jochem were also impressive singers and their characterisation and humour were most engaging. There was not a dull moment in this array of opera gems. Meanwhile, constantly providing expert support was Sue Graham Smith on piano. No matter how intricate or rapid the accompaniment, she played with absolute security and accuracy, adapting to the songs’ mood swings perfectly.

This was a highly entertaining evening well worthy of its enthusiastic support.