The Spectre Knight

Alfred Cellier

Even by Wexford standards, Alfred Cellier (1844-91) is a rarely heard composer. He was a school friend of Arthur Sullivan, and the connections with Victorian operetta don’t stop there.

The Opera

THE SPECTRE KNIGHT
’Fanciful Operetta’ in one act
Libretto by James Albery

Sung in English

First performance: Opera Comique, London, 1878


Cellier's Topsyturveydom, has a libretto by W.S. Gilbert, and he collaborated with Gilbert again on his final work, The Mountebanks. As a conductor, Cellier worked with companies including the D’Oyly Carte, touring with them as far afield as Australia and the USA.

Cellier’s style has been described as ‘elegant and infallibly musical’, and it served him well across a career that saw him compose such memorable titles as Charity Begins at Home, Tower of London, Nell Gwynne, Belladonna and Dorothy.

Appearing midway through his output of around 15 works for the lyric stage, The Spectre Knight, premiered in 1878, is labelled a ‘fanciful operetta’.


The Plot

In a lonely glen there lives a banished Duke, his daughter Viola and a small band of courtiers who help them maintain the style of the former ducal establishment. But Viola knows nothing of life beyond the secluded glen; she was an infant when the Duke was banished there. When the Duke’s nephew Otho arrives, disguised as a friar, he falls in love with his cousin. Hearing from her of the Spectre Knight who is supposed to haunt the glen after dark, he reappears that night dressed as the ghost and wins Viola’s heart. When all is revealed, Otho is able to disclose that he has also overthrown the usurper of her father's dukedom and that they can all return to their former home. The Duke gives Otho his daughter’s hand in marriage.

Creative Team

Music Director
Gioele Muglialdo

An eclectic and versatile musician, Gioele has mastered the styles of a wide and multifaceted repertoire from classical music to musicals, film scores as well as American music and jazz. Among the many orchestras, he has conducted Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo, Münchner Symphoniker, Essener Philharmoniker and Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale RAI of Turin.

Stage Director
Sinéad O’Neill

Sinéad wrote and directed Precipice for The Grange Festival. ForGlyndebourne, Sinéad has directed Il barbiere di Siviglia in 2017and the Glyndebourne Opera Cup in 2018. Recent independent work includes La Calisto (Project Arts Centre, Dublin), On the Axis of this World, The Raven, and The Albatross with composers Matt Rogers, Kim Ashton and Kate Whitley.

Set & Costume Designer
Lisa Krugel

Lisa graduated from The Lir's MFA in Stage Design. Recent set
and costume designs include: In Our Veins (Abbey Theatre/Bitter Like a Lemon); Grimm Tales, and Baroque Opera Double Bill (TU Dublin Conservatoire); Dalliance, I Am a Camera, Damascus and The Ugly One (The Lir). Lisa also works as a Stage Manager with Liz Roche

Lighting Designer
John Comiskey

John has worked extensively in theatre, music, film and television. He won Best Design at the Irish Theatre Awards and has been Nominated multiple times for Best Lighting Design. He designed the first Irish participation at the Prague Quadrennial exhibition of world theatre design. He directed the award-winning film Hit and Run. He is currently completing the opera film DreamCatchr.

Cast

The Grand Duke
Thomas Bennett

Thomas studied at the Royal Academy of Music and as part of Royal Academy Opera. He has sung as Die Cappadozier/Salome (Salzburger Festspiele); Bull Wild Thing/Where The Wild Things Are (Shadwell Opera); King René/Iolanta, Il Commendatore/Don Giovanni, Cadmus and Somnus/Semele (Royal Academy Opera); Sarastro/Die Zauberflöte (Cavatina Opera).

His Lord Chamberlan
Monwabisi Lindi

Monwabisi studied at Tshwane University of Technology and is a graduate of the National Opera Studio, London. He recently performed in Bernstein's Candide for Scottish Opera (he also covered the title role). This season he will make his debut with English Touring Opera. He has also performed with Hampstead Garden Opera, Opera Africa and Cape Town Opera

First lady
Grace Maria Wain

Grace graduated from The Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama with a BMus (Hons) and an MA in Opera Performance. Her roles include: Dorabella/Così fan tutte, Prince Charmant/Cendrillon, Zweite Dame, Zweite Knabe/Die Zauberflöte and La Ciesca/Gianni Schicchi. Her upcoming roles include: the world premiere of Symphony for me Marras, and Sangs from Hyme by Ben Lunn.

Second Lady
Erin Fflur

Erin graduated from the Royal Northern College of Music in 2020, With a first-class honours degree Music in Vocal Studies
and Opera and a Distinction in a Masters in Music (Performance). Her roles include Catrin/Wild Cat (Welsh National Opera); Ruth/The Pirates of Penzance (Forebear); and Cousin Hebe/H.M.S. Pinafore (The National Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Company).

Viola
Jennifer Lee

Jennifer recently completed her postgraduate studies at the Royal Academy of Music. Her operatic roles include: Donna Anna/Don Giovanni; Mimi and Musetta/La bohème; Geraldine/A
Hand of Bridge; Casilda/The Gondoliers, Yum Yum/The Mikado. Jennifer also performs in concerts, recitals and oratorio in various venues across the UK.

Ghost + Otho
Matthew Nuttall

Matthew is a graduate of the Royal Northern College of Music. His competition successes include The Joyce and Michael Kennedy Award for the singing of Strauss and The Frederic Cox Award. Matthew first joined The Glyndebourne Chorus in 2018 and most recently performed the role of the Notary/Don Pasquale and Customs Officer/La bohème.