Alumna puts opera back on the musical map

Alumna Dr Valerie Langfield (PhD Music, 2004) is a founding member of Retrospect Opera, an innovative group devoted to recording landmark British operas of the 19th and early 20th centuries. 'Our vision is very simple' says Valerie, 'to allow people to hear great British operas that they may only have read about, by recording them, to the highest standards possible'. 

These are not just high standards of performance, but also of preparation of the performing materials. The group obtain copies of original materials, usually a manuscript score, and typeset it so that performers know exactly what the composer wrote, and what has had to be adjusted. This ensures that audiences can trust that what they hear is exactly as the composer originally intended. 

Valerie has substantial experience of editing British operas for performance and recording for Opera Ireland, Opera South, the Royal Dublin Society, and the European Opera Centre. She emphasises the importance of the group's work by pointing out that 'Britain produced many great operas in the pre-Britten days, but very few are remembered today. We are bringing them to life again and introducing thme to new audiences by issuing the recordings on our own label'.

A comic opera by the redoubtable Dame Ethel Smyth, and a Gothic opera about two young lovers, a wicked guardian and a ghost, by Edward Loder, are the starting ventures for the Retrospect Opera group. Visit the Retrospect Opera website or email contact@retrospectopera.org.uk for more details on the group and how you can get involved.