TALENTED artists performed in a series of concerts for the Isle of Wight's Summer Opera Festival.

Around 200 people attended the intimate venues — with some travelling from as far as Norway to be there.

The week began with a choral workshop on La Vergine Degli Angeli, Va' pensiero and La Traviata's famous Brindisi, conducted by Steve Parker.

Thursday saw clarinetist Robert Blanken join the company for the first time in an exciting rendition of Der Hirt auf dem Felsen (The Shepherd on the Rock) by F. Schubert, a piece written for singer, clarinet and piano.

The first movement opened the concert, enchanting the audience with a lyrical performance, with the performers competing in agility through the fast third movement of the piece.

Amateur singers from across the Island joined Project:Opera's Viva Verdi! concert on Friday, at St Catherine's Church, Ventnor.

This year, organisers deemed it even better than last, thanks to the chorus and an exciting programme, which included favourite arias such as Caro nome, Rigoletto quartet and, as a special treat, Leoncavallo's Vesti La Giubba.

Saturday evening saw Project:Opera join the IW Pride celebrations with an evening of opera and cabaret at Bar 74, with renditions of All I Ask of You, from The Phantom of the Opera, and comedic renditions of Rossini's Comic Duet for Two Cats, and Marika Rauscher's vocal pyrotechnics in The Girl in 14G.

With a nearly full house for Tea at the Opera, the group closed the festival on Sunday, with performances of love scenes from Don Giovanni, La Boheme, Lakme's Flower duet and Habanera.

Company leader Annalisa Vaughan said: "It has been an amazing week of concerts.

"Each performing artist has their own individual style and vocal colour, but all share a passion and expression which enthrals their audience, whether they may be opera fans or just out for a taste of something different.

"We still have a long way to go, but this week has been a real success and an encouragement to keep bringing the magic of opera to the IW."

The company's next performance is an encore of The Shepherd on the Rock on September 7 at Ryde Methodist Church, accompanied by Island pianist Karen Kingsley.

Next summer's project will be a semi-staged production of Bizet's Carmen.

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