Garsington Opera Celebrates its 25th Anniversary with a British Premiere
To celebrate its 25th anniversary year, Garsington Opera presents the British premiere of Offenbach’s sparkling comedy Vert-Vert, Janáček’s 20th century masterpiece The Cunning Little Vixen and a revival of Beethoven’s only opera Fidelio. The season at Wormsley, sponsored by JLT, runs from 6 June to 13 July and includes the first ever concert given by the Garsington Opera Orchestra at the Opera Pavilion on Sunday 6 July. This is the culmination of a weekend commemorating the First World War with a celebrity recital and a masterclass, tours of the world-famous Getty Library and a symposium entitled Peace in our Time?. For the first time, there will be a performance specially designated for schools as part of Garsington Opera’s OperaFirst education programme. For the third year running an opera performance will be relayed to the beach at Skegness as part of the SO Festival.
Offenbach’s enchanting Vert-Vert is set in a girls’ convent and opens with a tragi-comic funeral of their adored mascot – a parrot. Their doting attention soon moves to a hopelessly innocent young man. Young Irish soprano Naomi O’Connell returns to take on the dazzling role of La Corilla with one of Britain’s best-loved tenors, Robert Murray, singing the hapless lad. They are joined by Yvonne Howard, Geoffrey Dolton, Quirijn de Lang, Andrew Glover, Mark Wilde and the young Welsh soprano Fflur Wyn. Martin Duncan returns to direct the production in a new English translation by David Parry who will conduct. Designer Francis O’Connor who regularly works at Garsington Opera, completes the creative team.
Wormsley’s woodland setting is the perfect backdrop to The Cunning little Vixen, Janáček’s allegorical story of a forester and a vixen cub’s transformational journey through emptiness, chaos, passion and self-discovery. Claire Booth performs the Vixen for the first time, with Grant Doyle who sang the role for the successful BBC animated film, performing the Forester. Victoria Simmonds sings the Fox and Joshua Bloom, who regularly appears at the Metropolitan Opera, New York, Harašta. Timothy Robinson and Henry Waddington complete the cast with the small roles being taken by members of the Garsington Opera Chorus. Garry Walker makes his Garsington Opera conducting debut and Daniel Slater returns to explore one of the most significant works of the 20th century with designs by Robert Innes Hopkins.
-The revival of Garsington Opera’s widely acclaimed production of Fidelio directed by the legendary John Cox, sees two internationally renowned members of the original cast returning in the pivotal roles – Rebecca von Lipinski as Leonore and Peter Wedd as Florestan. Darren Jeffery, who will shortly be making his US debut, sings Don Pizarro, Joshua Bloom Don Fernando, and rising star Sam Furness sings Jaquino. Stephen Richardson and Jennifer France complete the cast. Garsington Opera’s Artistic Director Douglas Boyd will again conduct the 2009 production which features the dynamic Garsington Opera Chorus, many just out of music conservatoires.
The commemorative weekend Peace in our Time? on 5 and 6 July, marks 100 years since the outbreak of the First World War. Through music and poetry, the themes of justice, self-sacrifice and the brotherhood of mankind will be explored in Fidelio. On Sunday 6 July Garsington Opera presents a day long festival of events ranging from tours of the famous Getty Library, a private cricket match on the world famous Getty pitch, a recital by Steven Isserlis and readings including unpublished poems by Siegfried Sassoon, a master class with world famous mezzo soprano Ann Murray and the first concert in the Opera Pavilion with the Garsington Opera Orchestra conducted by Douglas Boyd, featuring Beethoven’s 9th Symphony.
Garsington Opera continues to promote and nurture exceptional young talent, engaging singers who are just beginning to make their names on the worldwide opera stage, giving them the opportunity to work alongside established artists. Members of Garsington Opera’s dynamic chorus gain invaluable professional experience working closely with directors and conductors of distinction. The Chorus’s enthusiasm and vibrancy are integral to the Garsington Opera experience.
Patrons are invited to arrive from 3.30pm in order to enjoy the gardens and grounds of the Wormsley Estate before performances begin in the early evening. Those arriving early are able to take a short trip in a vintage bus to the 18th century walled garden. On their return they can enjoy traditional afternoon tea overlooking the cricket pitch, admire the spectacular views across the deer park and lake from the Champagne Bar, or stroll around the opera garden. Performances start in the early evening with a long dinner interval during which patrons can dine in the elegant restaurant marquees overlooking the famous cricket ground or have a picnic by the lake, in the garden or in one of the private picnic tents. Performances resume as the evening light begins to fade and end by 10.15pm.
Garsington Opera will give two concert performances of Fidelio in Zurich on 25th and 26th June with principal singers from the Garsington Opera production and the Musikkollegium, Winterthur and Chorus. It will be conducted by their Chief Conductor and Garsington Opera’s Artistic Director, Douglas Boyd. And as part of the West Green House Opera season, singers from Garsington Opera’s Young Artists’ Programme will present a revival of the 2013 production of Humperdinck’s Hänsel und Gretel on 26 and 27 July. The opera will be performed by Garsington Opera Orchestra in an orchestral reduction by Tony Burke and will feature a cast of the brightest and best of Garsington Opera’s young singers many of whom will perform in the chorus and understudy roles in the 2014 season.
DIARY OF EVENTS AT WORMSLEY
Fidelio (sung in German) 6,8,15,18,21,28 June, 1,5,10,13 July 6.20pm
Vert-Vert (sung in English) 7,9,14,19,24,26 June, 3,9 July 2014 6.15pm
The Cunning Little Vixen (sung in Czech) 22,25,27 June, 4,8,12 July 2014 6.45pm
Peace in our Time? 5, 6 July
General booking opens on 14th April. Telephone: 01865 361636. Full details at www.garsingtonopera.org