With its successful Ring Cycle in 2013, the Wagner bicentenary, Longborough Festival Opera has positioned itself as a Wagner production house of great merit. Wagner had a much lower profile last summer, yielding pride of place to Rossini (The Barber of Seville). Verdi (Tosca) and Handel (Rinaldo) though there was just a taster of things to come in an orchestral concert conducted by Anthony Negus.
However, he is back with a vengeance this June with a new production of his monumental Tristan und Isolde, in the expert hands of Music Director Anthony Negus, directed by Carmen Jakobi. The impressive double cast features Rachel Nicholls and Lee Bisset (18th June) sharing the role of Isolde, while Peter Wedd and Neal Cooper (18th June) take on Tristan. The role of Kurwenal is taken by Andrew Slater and Stuart Pendred (18 June) while Brangäne is sung by Catherine Carby and Harriet Williams (18 June). Frode Olsen sings King Marke in all five performances.
Verdi’s tragic masterpiece Rigoletto sees the Longborough debut of a new conducting talent, Gad Kadosh. Spotted by Bernard Haitink in one of his 2012 masterclasses, Gad teams up with another first for Longborough, the director Caroline Clegg, who will be joined by Martin Kronthaler and Andrea Tweedale in the principal roles. Often described as Verdi’s first work of complete genius, Rigoletto is noted for its exquisite characterisation, especially in the case of the tragic hunchback Rigoletto. This vital opera explores the boundaries of love and innocence, power and corruption – a world where the ruthless win and the outsider pays the cost.
Longborough’ will also present a new staging of Don Pasquale, Donizetti’s comic masterpiece, conducted by Thomas Blunt, with an all-star cast led by David Stout as Don Pasquale and Susanna Hurrell as Norina, the young widow who teaches him his place. Gary Griffiths plays the devious Malatesta, and Jesus Alvarez the lovesick nephew Ernesto. Don Pasquale will be directed by Alan Privett, with the innovative designer Lara Booth.
The Young Artist Production will be Handel’s witty opera buffa Xerxes, directed by Jenny Miller and conducted by Jeremy Silver, featuring the wonderful young countertenor Jake Arditti who appeared in our 2014 Young Artist Production of Handel’s Rinaldo to resounding critical acclaim. Director Jenny Miller is committed to nurturing young talent and will be mentoring a young production team including Faye Bradley, recently awarded the opportunity of shadowing Robert Jones at the Royal Opera House, and Anna Sbokou as lighting designer. We will again be taking this on tour to London and Hastings, providing an important platform for emerging artists and ensuring the future of high calibre opera performances for generations to come. Ther production moves on to the Britten Theatre, London and Hastings.
Longborough Festival Opera House boasts an intimate 500-seat auditorium which nestles into the hillside. Its sumptuous view of the Cotswold countryside offers a perfect backdrop to an evening at the opera.
Tristan und Isolde, Richard Wagner
12, 16, 18 and 20 June at 3 pm.
Rigoletto, Giuseppe Verdi
4, 8, 10, 13, 16 and 18 July at 6.30 pm.
Don Pasquale,Gaetano Donizetti
3, 7, 11, 15, July at 6.30, 19 July at 3.pm.
Xerxes,George Frideric Handel
25 July at 6.30 pm; 26 July at 3 pm.
Other performances on Thursday 30 July at Britten Theatre, London and on Sunday 2 August at St Mary in the Castle, Hastings
Further details available from www.lfo.org.uk and Longborough Festival Opera, Longborough, Moreton-in-Marsh, GL56 0QF, UK.