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Opera-themed Night Under the Stars boosts the Passage

Two thousand people came to make the Night under the Stars gala a success

By on Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Andy Leisinger, managing director of The Catholic Herald, with Lucy Harris and Paul Hussey, a sponsor

Andy Leisinger, managing director of The Catholic Herald, with Lucy Harris and Paul Hussey, a sponsor

Two thousand people enjoyed A Night Under the Stars (Nuts) in London on October 7. The event raises money for the Passage, the centre for the homeless in Westminster. The chairman of Nuts is Peter Sheppard, who is also chairman of The Catholic Herald and Sheppard Day Ltd.

The theme of the 10th A Night Under the Stars concert was “A Night at the Opera”. At least 2,300 people attended the event at the Royal Festival Hall. Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster was an honoured guest.

The event was hosted by Griff Rhys Jones and Sean Rafferty, who presents the BBC Radio 3 afternoon show, In Tune. The performers were Victoria Simmonds, mezzo-soprano, who performed “Non so più” from Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro and “Non più mesta” from Rossini’s La Cenerentola.

Jesús León, tenor, performed “Che gelida manina” from Puccini’s La Bohème and also performed, with Mark Holland, baritone, “Au fond du temple saint” from Bizet’s The Pearl Fishers. Jack Liebeck, violin, played Jules Massenet’s “Meditation” from Thaïs.
Jane Irwin, soprano, performed “Song to the Moon” from Dvořák’s Rusalka and Tatiana’s Letter Scene from Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin. Mr Holland also performed the Toreador Song from Bizet’s Carmen.

The Orion Symphony Chorus, conducted by Toby Purser, formed especially for the concert with its singers volunteering from three London choirs: Pegasus, The Blossom Street Singers and The Exmoor Singers along with chorus members of Grange Park Opera. Streetwise Opera performed “Somewhere” from West Side Story as the encore.

The event raised £60,000, which will go towards the ongoing work of the Passage with homeless people. The organisers expressed their thanks to all the supporters of Nuts for their efforts.