Opera + Classical Music Features

Preview: Glyndebourne Festival Opera 2017

Public booking opens on Sunday for the 2017 Festival, with three new offerings this year, plus three revivals of past successes. The major draws are the new productions, headed by the world premiere of a new opera based on Hamlet, composed by Brett Dean whose previous work Bliss was a great success at the Sydney Opera House in 2010. It’s directed by Neil Armfield and conducted by Vladimir Jurowski, who will be coming back to the house for the first time since completing his tenure as Music Director in 2013. The cast has been assembled from the highest ranks: Sarah Connolly sings Gertrude, John Tomlinson King Hamlet, Barbara Hannigan Ophelia, Jacques Imbrailo Horatio, and they are led by Allan Clayton as the Prince. First Night is June 11th but if you can’t make it to any of the eight performances, on July 6th the production will be streamed ‘live’ via glyndebourne.com and in cinemas nationwide.

Lovers of baroque music have a real treat in store with the UK’s first ever production of Cavalli’s Hipermestra, which will open the Festival on May 20th. The edition will be a new one prepared by Glyndebourne in close collaboration with William Christie, who will conduct the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, and Graham Vick will direct – his first new staging for Glyndebourne in 17 years. The cast features some notable house debuts, so this is altogether a must-see.

The third new production is another house rarity, the second ever staging at Glyndebourne of Mozart’s La clemenza di Tito. The cast is very strong, with Steve Davislim making his house debut in the title role, together with Alice Coote as Vitellia, Kate Lindsey as Sesto and Joélle Harvey as Servilia. The production will be in the hands of the distinguished and not exactly controversy-free Claus Guth, and the musical side will be in the capable hands of Robin Ticciati and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.

The three revivals commence with Tom Cairns’ 2014 staging of La Traviata, which will receive two runs, the first from May 21 – June 19, and the second from August 1 – 27. If you’re set on seeing the original cast, there’s a ‘recorded live’ streaming on June 8th, with Venera Gimadieva and Michael Fabiano.

Next comes Ariadne auf Naxos on June 25th, notable for the UK debut of the 2015 Operalia winner, Lise Davidsen. The revival of Katharina Thoma’s 2013 production brings three notable house debuts in A.J. Glueckert’s Bacchus, Angela Brower’s Composer and Erin Morley’s Zerbinetta, and the much-loved Thomas Allen reprises his Music Master. There’s another Glyndebourne debutant in the form of Cornelius Meister, Artistic Director of the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra, who will conduct the London Philharmonic.

Finally, there’s the 2011 Tour production of Don Pasquale in Mariame Clément’s colourful staging; this one features some very promising debuts from Renato Girolami in the title role, Lisette Orpresa as Norina and Andrey Zhilikhovsky as Malatesta.

As always it’s wise to ignore those who maintain that opera is ‘elitist’ and / or the province of the seriously rich, and apply for whatever you fancy – after all, you can get a decent Upper Circle seat from £40 – £60 depending on the production, which compares well with other venues where you don’t get glorious gardens, stunning scenery and a great day out as well. Failing success in the Festival, most people can get in for the Tour, which this year features the production of Hamlet transferring straight across from Summer to Autumn, plus Nick Hytner’s 2006 Così fan Tutte and last year’s vibrant Il barbiere di Siviglia.

Booking for the Festival Opens on Sunday 5th March, and for the Tour on 5th June.

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