Preview: Two Productions and a Young Singers’ Competition from Bampton Classical Opera


United KingdomUnited Kingdom Preview: Two Productions and a Young Singers’ Competition from Bampton Classical Opera

 Innovative opera company Bampton Classical Opera, specialists in rarities from the late Classical period, have announced that their main production for the 2015 Season will be the UK première of Antonio Salieri’s two-act opera comica, La grotta di Trofonio.  Composed in 1785 while he was conductor of the Italian opera in Vienna, it was one of Salieri’s greatest successes during his lifetime, but later fell out of favour, as did so many of his works.  La grotta di Trofonio adds to the fascinating list of UK premières which Bampton Classical Opera have given, including Salieri’s Falstaff in 2003.

Details have also been announced  of performances of The Apothecary, an opera by Haydn, which will take place in the autumn, as will the Bampton Opera Young Singers’ Competition which was won in 2013 by the mezzo soprano playing Ofelia this summer in La Grotta di Trionfo.

La grotta di Trofonio will be performed on 17 and 18 July, 2015, in the beautiful outdoor setting of the Deanery Garden, Bampton. The Artistic Directors of Bampton Classical Opera, Gilly French and Jeremy Gray, believe this will be the UK première of the work.  There will then be performances at Westonbirt, Gloucestershire on 31 August, and also at St John’s Smith Square, London on 15 September, 2015. The director will be Jeremy Gray, and the conductor will be Paul Wingfield, who was a member of The Royal Opera’s Jette Parker programme 2012-14 and is a current member of the music staff at the Royal Opera House.  The details of casting and other production information will be announced in the spring.

The story, based in Greek myth, tells of the sorcerer Trofonio and his cave, which through black magic can turn people into their complete opposites, and the resulting mayhem when the spell is cast on two pairs of lovers.  The opera is musically inventive and entertaining, and may be significant for its influence on two of Mozart’s major subsequent operas.  The plot has similarities to Così fan tutte, and its musical representation of the Underworld may have served as a model for Don Giovanni. The cast includes Ukranian mezzo-soprano Anna Starushkevych, the first winner of Bampton Classical Opera’s Young Singers’ Competition in 2013, as well as regular Bampton Classical Opera performers Aoife O’Sullivan, Nicholas Merryweather and James Harrison. Christopher Turner and Matthew Stiff are making their debuts with the Company.

The Apothecary will be staged at Wotton House, Wotton, Buckinghamshire on September 19

and at the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries, London on October 16 and 17

Applications are now being invited for the Bampton Classical Opera Young Singers’ Competition 2015. This biennial competition was first launched in 2013 to celebrate Bampton Classical Opera’s 20th birthday, and is aimed at identifying the finest emerging young opera singers currently working in the UK.

The preliminary rounds of the Bampton Classical Opera Young Singers’ Competition 2015 will take place on 31st October and 1st November at Westminster School in London. The public final will take place in the Holywell Music Room, Oxford, on 14 November. Judges for the competition are British tenor Bonaventura Bottone, and conductors Andrew Parrott and Peter Robinson. Competitors can apply by downloading an application form and information document from the Bampton Classical Opera website –, which can also provide full details of the performances.


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