Grange Park Opera, Surrey, presents Benjamin Britten’s rarely performed ‘ghost opera’, Owen Wingrave, filmed on location in haunted houses in Surrey and London
Owen Wingrave is part of the new Interim Season of 19 brand new events, all free to view online between September and December 2020
With live theatre performances severely restricted by Covid-19, Grange Park Opera, Surrey is filming Owen Wingrave, an opera created by Benjamin Britten (1913-1976) specifically for TV in 1971.
Based on a Henry James’ ghost story, Owen Wingrave tells the story of an army family – the Wingraves – who have locked away a hideous secret in their grand house, Paramore. Owen is the heir. But all hell breaks loose when he announces that the army isn’t for him…
Grange Park Opera CEO Wasfi Kani says: ‘The opera requires a dozen interiors, which are well-nigh impossible to achieve on a theatre stage. However, filmed on location, we can have the Wingraves living in a real house, playing out their poisonous squabbles. In addition to its being an expression of Britten’s own pacifism, he was also reported as saying Owen Wingrave was partly a response to the Vietnam War. We are setting our production in 2001 on the brink of the war with Afghanistan which disgusts Owen, but inflames his spinster aunt – played by Wagnerian soprano Susan Bullock.’
Interestingly Benjamin Britten did not actually own a TV – though for his 60th birthday in 1973, Decca presented the composer with a set.
The Interim Season
Owen Wingrave is part of the brand-new Interim Season which celebrates the Autumn, Winter and Spring between two Summers of the opera season. 19 fresh performances featuring more than 60 artists will be released online – totally free to watch – over the twelve weeks from 19 September– 13 December 2020
Wasfi Kani says: ‘Covid-19 has actually given us a unique opportunity to share the magic of great musical experiences – which are original, stimulating and food for the soul – with as many people as possible around the world. We want to continue with our trailblazing approach by offering new events and employing dozens of artists. Between March and December, Grange Park Opera will have created 42 new performances.’
- Accordion virtuoso Bartosz Glowacki playing Vivaldi’s Four Seasons
- Baritone Simon Keenlyside taking you on an autumn walk in Wales
- Supremely gifted violinist and winner of the string section of BBC Young Musician of the Year – Coco Tomito – playing Beethoven’s Spring Sonata
- A concert with soprano Ailish Tynan and pianist Iain Burnside presenting music by Faure, Schubert, Puccini and Muriel Herbert
- Through his songs, the enigma of Rachmaninov travels from Imperial Russia to Beverley Hills, sweeps through old and new worlds, penniless exile, comfortless fame
- Piano virtuoso Kausikan Rajeshkumar playing Scriabin, Scarlatti and the magic fire music from Die Walkure
- On a comic note, Harry the Piano performs Piano in the Time of Plague – a memoir of what happened to him
- Tenor Nicky Spence takes you into the woods with some teddy bears
- Writer A N Wilson will be cutting the ribbon to the new Interim Season, with a recital of Keats’ To Autumn
Interim Season events, including Owen Wingrave, will be released from 19 September onwards click here.