Waterperry Opera Festival returns in summer 2021 (12 – 21 August)

Waterperry House & Gardens, Waterperry, Oxfordshire, OX33 1JZ

Following the sell-out success of the 2020 Mini-Festival, Waterperry Opera Festival will return with an ambitious ten-day open-air Covid-safe festival in August 2021. This year’s programme will include seven productions, as well as a variety of workshops, masterclasses, talks, and pop-up performances. With the advantage of Waterperry’s extensive historic grounds, the festival will continue to adapt and innovate in this changeable climate to create an engaging festival for all.

Guy Withers, Artistic Director & CEO, says – ‘We see our festival as a wonderful opportunity to bring music and hope to our audiences, when so little live performance is being offered. The safety and comfort of our artists and
audiences is of the utmost importance to us. Festival attendees will be able to safely socially-distance in our outdoor performance spaces, guided by our trusty team of stewards. Our programme aims to develop new audiences of opera, offering something for everyone. We cannot wait to invite audiences to escape into the wild and immerse themselves in the magic of the music and nature we have on offer this summer.’

Festival Music Director Bertie Baigent will conduct four performances of Donizetti’s comic masterpiece THE ELIXIR OF LOVE. Directed by Dan Ayling and designed by Ana Inés Jabares-Pita, the cast will consist of some of the most exciting emerging talent on the UK opera scene. Audiences are invited to attend performances on the lawn in front of Waterperry House, on 12th, 14th, 15th & 17th of August starting at 6pm.

Associate Artistic Director Rebecca Meltzer directs a new adaptation of Humperdinck’s beloved fairy-tale opera HANSEL AND GRETEL, in the atmospheric Waterperry woodlands. Conducted by Ashley Beauchamp, this striking production will incorporate British Sign Language, adopting a multidisciplinary approach to storytelling, and offering an immersive experience for the whole family. Performances will take place at 2pm and 5pm on the 19th, 20th & 21st of August, with an introductory music-theatre and craft workshop before each performance.

Artistic Director Guy Withers presents Prokofiev’s PETER AND THE WOLF, a symphonic tale for young children, choreographed by Julia Cave and conducted by Bertie Baigent. Performed beside the Waterperry lily pond on the 13th, 14th & 15th of August at 11am and 12pm, this charming production will capture the imagination of all ages through music, dance and spoken word. This production will also tour to the Lichfield Festival on 17th July.

To accompany this lively programme, there will be further innovative performances across the ten-day festival. QUARTET FOR THE END OF TIME by Messiaen will be presented as a late-night music and light installation in
Waterperry’s impressive Amphitheatre. In collaboration with Oxford Lieder, Emma Doherty will direct newly-staged performances of CLAIRIÈRES DANS LE CIEL by Lili Boulanger and ON WENLOCK EDGE by Ralph Vaughan Williams in the woodland at Waterperry. Following its success in 2020, Rebecca Meltzer’s dramatization of Jonathan Dove’s ARIEL will return to the Mary Rose Garden. Audiences can enjoy these events as a stand-alone performance or as part of their wider festival experience.

Box office opens on 3rd May (with priority booking available from 26th April). Tickets for The Elixir of Love will range from £15–£60 (Saturday & Sunday) and £15–£50 (Thursday & Tuesday); for Hansel and Gretel, tickets are from £10–£30; for Peter and the Wolf, Ariel, Clairieres dans le ciel and On Wenlock Edge, tickets are from £8–£15; and for Quartet for The End of Time they are from £10–£20. Concessions will be available for NHS workers, Blue Light Card holders and individuals in receipt of unemployment and disability benefits.

‘This was a truly wonderful occasion, delivered by a company that consistently impresses with its youthful energy, enthusiasm and flair. Huge kudos to Waterperry Opera Festival for having the courage and resourcefulness to step away from the internet and bring us some live music to brighten up these unprecedented times. Moments to cherish indeed.’ Ox in a Box (Cosi fan tutte / 2020)

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