Bampton Classical Opera in 2024

Bampton Classical Opera 2024 Season

Giuseppe Gazzaniga, L’isola d’Alcina – Alcina’s Island (1772)

The Deanery Garden, Bampton, Oxfordshire – Friday 19, Saturday 20 July
Westonbirt School, Gloucestershire – Monday 26 August
The Barn at Old Walland, Wadhurst, Sussex – Saturday 31 August
St John’s Smith Square, London – Friday 13 September

For its 2024 season Bampton Classical Opera is delighted to present Giuseppe Gazzaniga’s L’isola d’Alcinawith a libretto by Giovanni Bertati. It will be sung in a new English translation by Gilly French as ‘Alcina’s Island’. Performances will be conducted by Thomas Blunt and directed by Jeremy Gray.

L’isola d’Alcina is a Dramma giocoso in 3 acts, loosely based on the character of the sorceress Alcina from Ariosto’s epic Orlando furioso – an Englishman, Frenchman, Spaniard, Italian and German get washed up on Alcina’s magical island where the seductive and beautiful sorceress (although 800 years old) has a habit of discarding her lovers and turning them into rocks or animals.

Gazzaniga (1743-1818), wrote at least 50 operas, of which L’isola d’Alcina was one of the most successful. His most famous was Don Giovanni, 1787 (staged by Bampton in 1997 and 2004, and performed at the Royal College of Music in November 2023). The first performance of L’isola d’Alcina was at Teatro San Moisè, Venice in 1772, and it was widely seen in Europe until 1785. There were performances at the King’s Theatre, Haymarket, London in 1776 and 1777 – but probably not in England since then.

In this effervescent and fast-moving opera set on a tropical desert island paradise, Bertati and Gazzaniga pit the (perhaps limited) wits of a motley collection of Europeans against the dangerous amorous snares of the insatiable Alcina. Fortunately the Europeans are assisted by two charming but disloyal resident nymphs, with whom they eventually escape from the island. Much fun is made of the linguistic confusions of the shipwrecked group, in contrast to the passion and discontent of the ageless but perhaps weary sorceress. The music is fluent, cheerful and graceful, propelling the story forward with restless energy.

Further details of Bampton Classical Opera’s production including casting will be announced in due course. Booking for tickets will open on 15 January 2024.

Performance (as with Salieri’s At the Venice Fair in 2023) in collaboration with Dr Rüdiger Thomsen-Fürst, of Forschungszentrum Hof | Musik | Stadt, Schwetzingen, Germany.

Recorded on CD by L’arte del mondo, cond. Werner Ehrhardt (Deutsche harmonia mundi) 2023 staged at Schwetzingen Festival, 2022.

Bampton Classical Opera stages productions in rural venues in Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire as well as regularly in London at St John’s Smith Square. Other significant venues and festivals have included Wigmore Hall and Purcell Room, Buxton Festival, Cheltenham Festival and Theatre Royal, Bath. Eschewing familiar repertoire, Bampton concentrates instead on rarities from the late eighteenth century, sung in lively new English translations, and has given many enterprising performances of forgotten operas. Amongst these have been UK premieres of Bertoni Orfeo, Marcos Portugal The Marriage of Figaro, Paer Leonora, Benda Romeo and Juliet, Gluck Il Parnaso confusoPhilemon and Baucis and Salieri Falstaff and La fiera di Venezia.

Bampton Classical Opera was a finalist in the Rediscovered Opera category of the 2020 International Opera Awards for Stephen Storace Gli sposi malcontenti (Bride and Gloom), and its recent production of Salieri La fiera di Venezia (At the Venice Fair) was shortlisted for the 2023 Awards.

For more about Bampton Opera click here.

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