Opera + Classical Music Features

Preview: Garsington Opera 2014



(Photo: Clive Barda)

(Photo: Clive Barda)

Not content with opening its 25th anniversary season with a British premiere and two great masterpieces plus a unique commemorative weekend, Garsington Opera is looking to a bright future with a 2015 collaboration with the Royal Shakespeare Company and a 2017 season which will inaugurate a link with the Philharmonia Orchestra, which will join the company for one production each season.

The 2014 season opens on Friday June 6th, with a revival of the much-praised John Cox production of Fidelio, conducted by Garsington’s Artistic Director Douglas Boyd, and starring Rebecca von Lipinski and Peter Wedd. It’s an appropriate opener for a festival which sets out to explore the theme of Peace in our Time during a First World War commemorative weekend on 5th and 6th July; the weekend includes a recital by Steven Isserlis, readings including unpublished poems by Siegfried Sassoon and a master class by Ann Murray. It also features the first concert in the beautiful Opera Pavilion, at which Douglas Boyd will conduct Beethoven’s 9th Symphony.

On a much more frivolous note, Garsington will present the British premiere of Offenbach’s Vert-Vert, the tragic-comic tale of convent girls, a parrot and an innocent young man… anyone who saw the brilliant La Perichole in 2012 will be delighted to know that Vert-Vert features the same irrepressible trio of Naomi O’Connell, Robert Murray and Geoffrey Dalton – much hilarity is confidently predicted for this show, which has its first night on Saturday June 7th.

The final 2014 production is a new one of Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen: if ever an opera were made for a theatre it’s this one, with the bucolic woodland setting embracing the stage and auditorium. First night is June 22nd, and Daniel Slater, who directed last season’s superb Die Entführung, is responsible for the production, so expect an innovative approach and perhaps a few surprises! The cast is first rate – Claire Booth makes her role debut as the Vixen, Victoria Simmonds is the Fox, and Grant Doyle the Forester.

The idyllic setting of the Wormsley Estate is worth a visit just for itself, especially if you arrive early and can take in the wonderful Walled Garden, the lakeside walks and perhaps tea overlooking the famous thatched Cricket pavilion? The Opera Pavilion has to be one of the most beautiful performance spaces in the world, and every evening here is a pleasure even if the weather is poor – in fact, if it’s wet and windy the experience is all the more magical, since you feel a part of whatever the elements are up to; and if it’s chilly, the staff bring you blankies to snuggle into. What more could you ask for?

Further details and booking information can be found here: garsingtonopera.org



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