Faust Phenomenal

Winterbourne Opera’s awesome 2015 production of Gounod’s ‘Faust’ has just finished. My only regret is that I attended the opera on the last night and could not share this with you in time for you to see it. This is the 5th Winterbourne Opera production I have attended and once more my expectations were surpassed.

The use of The Chapel Nightclub in the middle of Salisbury was an inspired choice. For one, the seats were a lot more comfortable than some previous venues. The former Victorian chapel lent itself very well to the staging and the stark scenery – especially the magic fountain – focused the eye on the action towered over by the redundant organ and gothic architecture.

The raison d’etre of Winterbourne Opera is that the local choral group under the current presidency of Hilary Sharland invite upcoming opera students to audition, giving the successful candidates the chance to sing lead roles and be accommodated locally for three weeks for rehearsal and during the week of performance. What a fabulous opportunity for these young people in the summer – most do go on to great things in the operatic world no doubt enhanced by the addition of this accomplishment on their CV’s. The musicians too are of extremely high calibre under the energetic direction of Calum Fraser and to my mind the whole production is one of exceptionally fine quality worthy of Glyndebourne or Covent Garden.

Perhaps I am waxing lyrical because I am still under the spell of marvellously malevolent Mephistopholes; Colin Brockie who absolutely mesmerised the audience from his first entrance to the end of the performance. With menacing eye make up which enhanced his alternatively wicked and sometimes twinkling glint, along with the hand gestures which directed the movements of the cast, we could only watch in fascination the ghastly unfolding of the familiar tale of the man who sold his soul to the devil.

The soloists as we have come to expect of Winterbourne were strong (especially Ian Beadle, Mark Nathan and the angel) and Jess Broad’s Marguerite brought tremendous emotion to her final scene – I was weeping with her.

I’m so sorry if you missed it – this production of ‘Faust’ definitely deserves to be performed to a national audience. Well done Ben Occhipinti and Winterbourne Opera! What could follow?

August 3, 2015 at 2:53 pm Leave a comment

News from Rolo – book 3 and a rosette!

rolo and card

Rolo likes this hand made card

rolo reading his fan mail

rolo reading his fan mail

dog show

dog show

manuscript of book 3 The Dragon's Pram

manuscript of book 3 The Dragon’s Pram

rolo on alert

Rolo on alert

Rolo has been working very hard to finish his 3rd book ‘The Dragon’s Pram’ and is pleased to announce it will be out in October 2015. He’s not giving you any clues just yet but watch this space :D He’s also been reading and answering a lot of fan mail from Mill Rythe Junior School and attending lots of Dog Shows. He even won a rosette for 4th best rescue dog at Mitcheldean Annual Dog Show in Gloucestershire.

dog show rosette

rolo wins a rosette

July 15, 2015 at 7:48 am Leave a comment

Rolo at Cotswold Wildlife Park


June 25, 2015 at 8:42 pm Leave a comment

Rolo visits Ragley Hall (Dog’s Trust Evesham fun day)

Rolo and I had an amazing day at Dog’s Trust Evesham’s fun day at Ragley Hall, Alcester, Worcs. Rolo met lots of new friends on two legs and 4, and lots of tail wagging went on. He also sold some books and gave paw prints! Next Sunday he’s at Bowood House, nr Calne, Wiltshire. He’s becoming tooo famous there will be no living with him :D2015-06-14 10.34.14 2015-06-14 10.50.14 2015-06-14 11.22.38 2015-06-14 11.39.18 2015-06-14 11.59.41 2015-06-14 12.01.37

June 14, 2015 at 8:12 pm Leave a comment

Rolo visits South Coast schools


Great Ballard

posing at Great Ballard

fake Rolo at PGS

fake Rolo at PGS


fake rolo at mill rythe

fake rolo at mi rythe

staunton country  park

staunton country park

staring at goats

staring at goats

I spy adventure  


tired boy

tired boy

 Rolo has had a fabulous week visiting primary schools on the South Coast. Portsmouth Grammar, Great Ballard and Mill Rythe. His books proved very popular and sometimes his stunt double made an appearance.

Staunton Country Park provided some recreation and some trees with he’s in to explore! The rhodedendrons are out and we surprised some goats! He’s tired out….but will be at Ragley Hall on Sunday 14 June 2015 for Dogs Trust Eveshams event and Sunday 21 June at Bowood Charity Dog Show.

June 12, 2015 at 6:47 pm Leave a comment

mobile recording 1466c68f8f0ceef51f3fe2d1cb60a9b8 22


A snippet of the sounds of the forest this morning enjoyed by Rolo and I


June 4, 2015 at 10:11 am Leave a comment

Bank holiday Bedwyn circular walk

                          Bank holiday Monday and a perfect day for a circular walk. Parking in Great Bedwyn we set off across the fields enjoying birdlife and song, crossing a field of rapeseed in full flower seeing the windmill coming into view and dropping into the pretty village of Wilton. From there across the footpath to Crofton and the cafe was open as the beam engines were in steam so really enjoyed a coffee and hot dog stop. Then all the way along the canal past the Rosie and Jim boats back to where we started at Bedwyn.

May 25, 2015 at 5:38 pm Leave a comment

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Debi Evans

Debi Evans

Rolo and free author visits

Hello, my name is Debi Evans and I am known for co-writing The Secret Society of Dragon Protectors fantasy adventure children's books. My new series is entitled The Secret Adventures of Rolo and the first book 'Athelstan and the Time Tunnel' was published in March 2014. Book 2 'The Chilvester Passage' followed later that year and Book 3 'The Dragon's Pram' will be out in October 2015. Find out more about the series and also how to arrange a free primary school visit!

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