Steyning and Hurstpierpoint concert looks at fairies, phantoms and fiends in opera

Heber Opera
Heber Opera

Heber Opera will be performing a concert in November exploring the darker side of opera: Fairies, Phantoms and Fiends.

Spokeswoman Gillian Goodsman said: “Opera usually focuses on love and death but very often it is the supernatural influence that determines the outcome, so Heber Opera is looking at the operas where witches meddle with fate and fairies plague mortals, and where heroines fall in love with ghosts and ghosts make unreasonable demands of heroes.

“Oh, and vampires!

“Heber Opera’s musical director Michael Withers will be guiding the audience through all the excerpts during the evening with an informative narrative that will put the operas into context and provide fascinating background information about the works and their composers.

“The programme will include witches in scenes from Dido and Aeneas (Purcell) and Macbeth (Verdi), fairies as portrayed by Vaughan Williams, Purcell and Sulllivan, and ghosts from Sullivan’s Ruddigore and Wagner’s Flying Dutchman.

“Even vampires will be under the microscope as Heber Opera will also be including extended excerpts from a little-known opera by Heinrich Marschner – Der Vampyr.”

Michael Withers explained: “When we watch an opera, we are usually thinking about the love story or the power struggle that forms the main story, but the real stars are often the supernatural elements that drive the main characters: just think of the witches in Macbeth or Mephistopheles in the Faust legends! And very often these supernatural characters inspire a composer’s best music.”

Heber Opera’s concert, Fairies, Phantoms and Fiends, will take place on Sunday, November 22, at the Steyning Centre and on November 29 at Hurstpierpoint Village Centre.

Both performances start at 6pm.

Tickets are £12 (£10 concessions.) and can be bought online at or by calling the box office on 01273 495220 (office hours only).

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