Grange Park Opera are searching for a donkey in summer 2023

2023 at Grange Park Opera, Surrey … in search of a donkey – 8 June – 13 July 2023

The world has never needed opera more, and opera companies have never needed their audiences more. Grange Park Opera also really need a live donkey….

The 2023 season presents three great love stories, a Welsh Knight, and another of their highly acclaimed productions created on location and available for the whole world to stream for free.

Puccini’s Suor Angelica (filmed June – July 2023)

This is the second and least performed of Il trittico, three short operas dealing with the concealment of a death. Ailish Tynan is Sister Angelica, hovering on the edge of a community of nuns and harbouring a dark secret. The Princess, her aunt, visits her for the first time in seven years and a tragedy is revealed. Puccini gives detailed stage directions which can seldom be fulfilled, including a donkey which is as yet uncast. So the search is now on for a volunteer donkey.

This is the fourth Grange Park opera to be filmed on location. Gianni Schicchi (2022) was shortlisted for the Digital Prize at the International Opera Awards.

Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde – 8 June – 9 July 2023

Tristan & Isolde must be the greatest love story ever told. Epic – in every sense – it is one of the most extraordinary experiences, not just in the opera canon, but in western art. Wagner wrote it in the midst of his passionate affair with Mathilde Wesendonck, wife of his patron. The story – of the noble knight Tristan and his passionate love for Isolde, who has, alas, been promised to another, King Marke – reflects the composer’s emotional upheaval.

Director/designer Charlie Edwards’ staging is based on Wagner’s original set designs. Gwyn Hughes Jones sings Tristan and Rachel Nicholls is the feisty Isolde.

Puccini’s Tosca 10 June – 5 July 2023

Puccini’s Tosca was called a ‘shabby little shocker’ (critic Joseph Kerman) but ever since it was premiered in 1900, operagoers can’t get enough of it. Fuelled by revenge, lust, murder and suicide, the opera continues to grip its audience. Rome, June 1800 and the city is in ferment. The malevolent Baron Scarpia (Brett Polegato) wants to hunt down Angelotti, his political rival, but he is also in pursuit of the opera singer, Tosca (Izabela Matula), for entirely other reasons, but no less malign. The key to both prizes is the artist Cavaradossi, sung by Georgian tenor Otar Jorjikia who presented the role at La Scala, Milan in his house debut.

With Francis O’Connor’s ‘epic’ sets (The Times) and heart stopping arias delivered with lashings of love – and jealously – this is an unmissable experience.

Massenet’s Werther – 17 June – 12 July 2023

Rekindle the experience of first love. Massenet’s gentle love story has the dazzling American mezzo-soprano Ginger Costa-Jackson (Charlotte) breaking the heart of the shy poet Werther, played by Leonardo Capalbo. Will Charlotte succumb to the ardent charms of Werther, her gentle charming lover? Or will she stick with Albert, her dashing betrothed? She suffers the agonies of the conflicted. His heart soars and plunges in despair. Massenet’s heartrending score captures all this: their joys – shot through with a dark undertone. Goethe wrote the novel The Sorrows of Young Werther – on which the opera is based – when he was just 24 and it became an overnight sensation. Napoleon carried a copy on his Egyptian campaign, and it inspired new fashions – especially the distinctive blue suit and yellow waistcoat that Werther wore – and even a perfume.

Bryn Terfel Gala – 13 July 2023

Everyone’s favourite Welsh knight is visiting The Theatre in the Woods for just one evening. There is something about the way he stands on that stage: he bewitches the entire auditorium. Bryn starred in our Der fliegende Holländer last summer and the theatre was packed. His Falstaff (2021) was hilarious, and his Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof (2015) was heart-breaking. Enjoy the Bryn magic for one night only.

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