Two schools will celebrate the 50th anniversary of an annual concert with the first performance of opera in St Albans Cathedral.

St Albans School and St Albans High School for Girls are celebrating the 50th anniversary of their Joint Schools’ Concert with a special performance on Wednesday, March 11.

The Joint Schools’ Choral Society is a partnership between St Albans School and St Albans High School. The Society was formed in 1970 and conducted by Anthony Burns-Cox, when they performed Brahms’ Requiem, a work that was revisited by the society in 2017. Other conductors of this event have included Simon Lindley, John Clough, David Ireson, Andrew Parnell, Janet Wheeler, Nigel Springthorpe, Emma Price and this year’s director, Mick Stout.

In celebration of its 50th anniversary, this year the Choral Society will take a departure from its usual oratorio focus and will perform an Opera Gala, featuring some of the best-loved moments in opera by Verdi, Puccini, Bizet, Mascagni, Wagner and Gershwin with professional operatic soloists.

The choir and orchestra are drawn from students, parents, staff and friends of the two schools, and will number over 200 musicians in total. Joining the schools’ musicians will be four professional opera singers, including the conductor’s brother, David Stout, who has performed at The Coliseum as the title character in Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro with English National Opera.

St Albans School’s Director of Music, Mick Stout, said: “This concert has been planned for several years and will undoubtedly be one of the highlights of the school’s musical year. The orchestra and chorus are doing an extraordinary job in rehearsals and the event will provide a unique opportunity for guests to enjoy opera in the cathedral for the first time. Opera is very close to my heart - coming from a family of opera singers, and now married to one, I am thrilled that this opportunity has arrived!”

St Albans High School for Girls’ Director of Music, Emma Price, added: “Our 50th anniversary Joint Schools’ Concert bring together a wealth of musical talent and enthusiasm, including some outstanding musicians from both schools. It is fantastic to have so many people making music together from all ages: whether it be pupils, staff, parents or members of our local community. It promises to be a wonderful concert, with lots of famous melodies that you will be singing for days afterwards!”

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