spiegely small.jpgCanterbury Festival is currently fundraising to support our Spiegeltent venue for 2014. This exciting venue came to Canterbury in 2013 and saw nearly 10,000 people attend a whole range of events including Comedy, Cabaret, Circus and much more!

We have to raise half the money needed to bring the Spiegeltent back to Canterbury and the Arts Council have agreed to match fund the other half.

If every visitor to this site last year donated just £2.00, we would be half way to our target! Please visit our MyDonate page and give whatever you feel you can. See you there in October!


Canterbury Festival


Nova Music Opera

A Double Bill of Hagar in the Wilderness and Curlew River

Colyer-Fergusson Hall

Sunday 20 October 2013 at 7:30 PM

Classical Music
Tickets: £25 (Students £12)


Sally Beamish               Hagar and the Wilderness
Benjamin Britten           Curlew River

Richard Williams        Director
George Vass             Conductor

In celebration of Benjamin Britten’s centenary year, Nova Music Opera present an intriguing operatic double-bill exploring themes of loss, redemption and forgiveness.

The Old Testament story of Hagar and Abraham is brought vividly to life by multi award-winning composer Sally Beamish and librettist Clara Glynn in their new chamber opera, Hagar in the Wilderness. The opera’s uncomfortable account of social injustice is particularly pertinent in society today, and in many ways echoes similar sentiments conveyed in Curlew River.

Initially inspired by Britten’s encounter with Noh theatre, Curlew River tells the haunting story of a mother’s search for her lost son. This masterpiece, with its strange, other worldly scoring for exotic bells, un-tuned drums, organ and chamber ensemble is a once heard, never forgotten experience.

This is a co-production between Nova Music, the Presteigne Festival, St John’s Smith Square and the Canterbury Festival.

Hagar in the Wilderness
Kirsty Hopkins - Hagar
Jonathan Alley - Abraham
Edmund Hastings - Gabriel

Curlew River
Mark Milhofer - Madwoman
Michael Burke - Ferryman
Christopher Foster - Traveller
Stephen Holloway - Abbot
Francis Bamford - Spirit of the Boy

Edmund Hastings, Greg Tassell, Jonathan Alley, Ross Ramgobin, Richard Savage.

Nova Music Opera Ensemble
Joanna Shaw* flute/piccolo
Samuel Pearce horn
Zoe Matthews* viola
Ben Russell* bass
Suzanne Willison-Kawalec* harp
Nigel Shipway* percussion
Christian Wilson organ
*ensemble for Hagar and the Wilderness

The timings for the evening are as follows:

Hagar in the Wilderness (35 minutes)

20 minute interval

Curlew River (75 minutes).

There will be a pre-show talk with Sally Beamish in conversation with Nic McKay, Head of Music and Performing Arts, Canterbury Christ Church University at 6.30pm.

Sponsored by Canterbury Festival Foundation (Friends)

Read more about Nova Music Opera here, and watch Sally Beamish and Clara Glynn, the respective composer and librettist of Hagar in the Wilderness, discuss the creation of the opera here:

Please note that unfortunately Owen Gilhooly is unwell and therefore will not be performing on Sunday.

This event occured in the past.

Venue Information

Colyer-Fergusson Hall
Address: University of Kent Canterbury Kent, CT2 7NB
Telephone: 01227 769075
Web: Venue Website