Gillian Keith Soprano

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Gloria Returns

This month brings a further 8 performances of H.K. Gruber’s crazy cabaret opera ‘Gloria – A Pigtale’ with Mahogany Opera Group. I play the title role – a lonely pig looking for love, waiting to be rescued by a handsome hero from her difficult life in the pigpen. Gloria is mocked by her porky relations when she unleashes her inner show-girl; strutting her stuff and singing soulful songs of love and longing, as she gazes at her reflection in her muddy puddle.

The production has been in the works since mid-April, and we have already taken it to venues and spring festivals around the UK.  We’ve had a 6 week break from the project, and I have to say that I’ve missed Gloria. I’ve missed the dancing, I’ve missed the spark that the quirky, crazy music lights in my brain, and I’ve missed my wonderfully inspiring, burlesque-dancing piggy colleagues. But now these pigs are back on tour, and I’m strapping on my Chorus Line stilettos and my Dolly Parton wig, ready to jump back into the sty.

Our upcoming destinations (Linbury Studio Theatre, Buxton Festival and Bregenz Festival) happen to be three places in which I have already had incredibly rewarding and memorable performing experiences in the past – shows and festivals I’ve been involved in which have made me as certain as I could ever be that I’m in the right profession.  So I look forward to the coming weeks with huge excitement and great expectations!

Gloria is a technically demanding role – often taking me to the extremes of my register and containing tricky rhythmic passages – not to mention the prancing and twirling around in high heels as I hit all the high notes. I’ll be working hard to keep her in shape for these upcoming 8 performances. Who knows when I’ll next have the opportunity to play the part of a pig…so I’d better ham it up while I have the chance!

Read Gillian’s interview with Manchester Evening News ahead of The Buxton Festival, July 2014.

A version of this blog post appeared earlier this month on the Mahogany Opera Group website