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Blithe Spirit (PFCD222/223) Double CD £15.00/£20.00

An Opera After the Improbable Farce by Noel Coward
Music composed by Paul Corfield Godfrey
Performed by Volante Opera


CD 1
1. Act One, Scene One: Madame Arcati, Mrs Bradman and I…
2. Used Elvira to be a help to you…?
3. I’m afraid I’m rather later
4. It was wonderful cycling…
5. “Sunsong” Interlude
6. Act Once, Scene Two: My control was quite scared the other day...
7. This is the moment I always hate…
8. “Sunsong” Gramophone
9. Is there anyone there?
10. Leave it where it is!
11. I suddenly felt a draught…
12. That was enjoyable…
13. Perhaps it’s as well…
14. Act Two, Scene One: A good morning!
15. You’ve absolutely ruined that border…
16. I’ve done everything I can to help
17. Let her have a nice cry
18. Ruth… you see that bowl of flowers…
19. Interlude
20. Act Two, Scene Two: Madame Arcati
21. I appreciate fully your pride…
22. The time has come Mrs. Condomine…
23. What on earth was Madame Arcati doing here?
24. Let her go, she’ll calm down.
25. The Unmerry Widow Waltz

1. Act Two, Scene Three: Nothing to worry about…
2. You’ve behaved yourself well…
3. She came here with one purpose
4. Look out!
5. Are you ready to go…?
6. Hullo… hullo?
7. Act Three, Scene One: I threw up the sponge!
8. Do you think she could really get me back again?
9. Madame Arcati, would you please come in now?
10. Ghostly spectre, ghoul or fiend
11. Is there anyone there?
12. Intermezzo
13. Act Three, Scene Two: Well, we’ve done all we can
14. Wake up, Madame Arcati!
15. Damn the thing, it’s cloudy again!
16. Did you ring, sir?
17. They’ve gone!
18. Ruth? Elvira?
19. Bonus Track: “Sunsong”

Blithe Spirit CD

It might seem that there is little new to say about the text of Sir Noël Coward’s Blithe Spirit, written as a light-hearted romp. But in point of fact, Coward’s text has been regarded almost from the very first as open season for directors and producers who wished to adapt and alter the plot for their own reasons. When we came to consider our own adaptation for operatic purposes, we decided at a very early stage to have no truck with any of these later well-meaning adaptations other than to find occasions when the headlong plunge of the interchange between the characters could actually be slowed slightly to allow for some lyrical expansion, as well as opportunities for solo singing which could at least assume the dimensions of an arietta if not a full-blown aria. The text as set is very nearly entirely Coward’s own following his 1941 script for the play as first presented and published, merely subjected by Julian Boyce and the composer to abridgement rather than any alteration or additions.

This recording, like our earlier releases of music by Paul Corfield Godfrey, features soloists from Welsh National Opera, together with an orchestra drawn from live sampled performances which have been carefully balanced and adjusted in collaboration with the composer to obtain as close a result to the sound of an actual orchestra as possible, with results that Brian Wilson writing for MusicWeb International described as “completely convincing”. The work was largely written during the pandemic in 2020-21, and this recording represents its first performance.

CAST (In Order of Singing)
RUTH: Rosie Hay
EDITH: Emma Mary Llewellyn
CHARLES: Julian Boyce
DR BRADMAN: Simon Crosby Buttle
MRS BRADMAN: Stella Woodman
MADAME ARCATI: Helen Greenaway
ELVIRA: Helen Jarmany
All artists appear by arrangement with Welsh National Opera

Production and engineering: Volante Opera ©2023
Orchestra created using EASTWEST SOFTWARE / QUANTUM LEAP “Symphonic Orchestra”
Text: Noël Coward adapted by the composer & Julian Boyce with the kind permission of Alan Brodie Representation Ltd ©2023

Lyrics for “Sunsong”: James Elliott ©2023
Artwork by: Kimbo ©2023
Production and engineering: Volante Opera Productions ©2023
Booklet and notes: Volante Opera Productions & Paul Corfield Godfrey ©2023

Composer's website:
More information about the recording:

Paul Corfield Godfrey

Paul Corfield Godfrey
Paul Corfield Godfrey lives in Wales, studying composition and conducting with Alan Bush and David Wynne. His works as a composer include a cycle of epic scenes based on J R R Tolkien's The Silmarillion, extracts from which have been performed in Oxford. Other works have been performed in London and elsewhere throughout England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Hungary, America, Australia and New Zealand. He has appeared as a performer both on radio and television, and a number of his works have been broadcast.

Volante Opera

Volante Opera Productions was founded by Julian Boyce in 1999, originally bringing opera gala performances to Wales and England. Our main aims are not only to take live music into the community but also through our recordings to enable a wider audience to hear varied and exciting repertoire that has previously gone unrecorded or unheard. In addition, over the years, Volante Opera Productions has helped to raise money for charities, performing in dementia homes, schools and churches. Also our Musical Advent Calendar videos, recorded in the lockdowns of 2020, raised thousands of pounds for Shelter Cymru.