Journey into London’s 18th Century underworld

Katya Higham-Stoianova (Polly) and S�an Griffiths (Lucy) at Lewes Castle for a photo-call during rehearsals for the Beggar's Opera. SUS-140804-163701001

Katya Higham-Stoianova (Polly) and S�an Griffiths (Lucy) at Lewes Castle for a photo-call during rehearsals for the Beggar's Opera. SUS-140804-163701001

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New Sussex Opera Chorus’s eagerly-awaited spring production will take the audience up close and personal with highwaymen, pickpockets, whores, bent lawyers and corrupt, dodgy officials.

Director Tony Baker has decreed the production of Beggar’s Opera will shift the action off the traditional stage and take it into the audience.

In yet another twist that typifies Tony’s innovative approach (which helped make NSO’s 2013 1950s-set production of Trial by Jury such a runaway success) the action will be an opera within an opera, as if staged by the inmates of London’s notorious Newgate Prison, with which many of the characters would no doubt have been familiar.

But while the characters and their deeds and misdeeds will take audiences into London’s 18th Century underworld, the chorus and soloists – under the experienced baton of Nick Milner-Gulland and featuring some new and exciting young faces and voices – will remind them of just what musical heights NSO is capable of scaling.

In a format more akin to a drama with songs than a traditional opera, tunes plucked from sources as diverse as ballads of the day, folk tunes and even the odd song filched from Handel and Purcell will have them remembering and humming for weeks.

NSO’s Beggar’s Opera plays on May 3 at Lewes’ All Saints Centre, and on Sunday, May 4 at the Birley Centre in Eastbourne.

Performances are 7.30pm and ticket prices and booking details available on the NSO website, www.newsussexopera.com