My involvement with Opera Omnibus
Opera Omnibus was founded in the early summer of 1984 after the retirement of the hard-working volunteers who had run Opera Camerata in Haslemere for some years. For full information about the history of the company (which rebranded and relaunched itself for the new millennium as Opera South), about its past and future productions, and about opportunities to participate yourself, go to the Opera South website.
As for myself, I was very heavily involved in the production of that first autumn, 1984; as the chorus rehearsals could only get going after the summer holiday, it was only possible to undertake one act involving chorus, and so the programme was to be a Mozart one-act piece, The Impresario, plus Act 2 of Offenbach’s three-act comic opera Orpheus in the Underworld. I wrote new dialogue for the Mozart, sang the main principal part in that act (Jupiter) in the Offenbach, made scenery ... and drove the van! But that was my first and last big on-stage contribution. I took a walk-on non-speaking bit part in the November 1988 production, but then I withdrew from close involvement with the company ... and that was it until 1997 when I suggested Opera Omnibus should have a website and mocked up an example of what it could look like, then I quickly bowed out again until February 2006, when once again I took over upkeep of the website (for a while, anyway).
After 1984, I generally limited my help to creation of various unusual, even outlandish, or technically challenging stage scenery items. You can read more about the following contributions:
Since 1994 the only ways I have helped the company have been with creating the Opera Omnibus website and helping some of my Op Om friends with their personal computers. I set up the first Opera Omnibus ISP account to provide web space and an e-mail address, created a first draft of the website (some key design elements of which are still in use) and then handed the whole thing over to the company to manage as it wished.