Kentish Opera (from 1986)

In 1986 the Music Director, Graham Nash, was unable to continue with Kentish Opera due to ill health.  Director of Productions, Sally Langford (former member of the English Opera Group under Britten) contacted Mark to check his availability to take over as Music Director.  Fortunately it fitted with his schedule without too much trouble.  His first production with them was a favourite of his – Carmen – to which he had been taken to by his grandmother in 1968.  About the same time he was contacted by Basil Tchaikov (Director of the National Centre of Orchestral Studies, Greenwich) to conduct several projects with them.  This was very significant timing as their administrator, Betty Dean, was keen and willing to fix orchestras from their students for Mark’s KOG performances (the ex-students were later formed by manager Martin Williams into the ‘European Touring Orchestra of London’ which Mark later invited to play in the Montepulciano Festivals of 1987 and 1988).  The KOG production team and music staff were ideal to work with and Mark has added nearly 30 operas to his repertoire during the 35 productions he has done with them so far.  In 1988 / 9, at the request of Symposium Records, Mark made world première recordings of works by Charles-Valentin Alkan with singers from KOG as well as the Leicestershire Schools Band, released in 1992.