Friday, 15 December 2017
FOR the first time in its history, Garsington Opera’s 2017 season will include four professional productions and a large-scale community performance.
This year the festival, which runs at the Wormsley Estate from June 1 until July 30, is staging Handel’s Semele, Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande, Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro and Rossini’s Il turco in Italia.
It will then conclude with Silver Birch, a piece commissioned by Garsington Opera for a professional cast accompanied by local participants of all ages.
Semele, a love story in which the god Jupiter is captivated by the human Semele’s beauty, features American soprano Heidi Stober making her British debut in the title role. Robert Murray plays Jupiter with Christine Rice singing his wife Juno.
The performance is to be broadcast live to four British towns under the Garsington Opera for All programme.
Pelléas et Mélisande, Debussy’s only opera, features Jonathan McGovern and soprano Andrea Caroll in the title roles, while French bass-baritone Paul Gay sings Pelléas’ love rival Golaud.
The production will be accompanied by the Philharmonia Orchestra, conducted by Jac van Steen, as part of its five-year partnership with the festival.
Il turco in Italia will be a revival of Garsington Opera’s 2011 production and will feature three members of the original cast — Mark Stone as Prosdocimo, Quirijn de Lang as Selim and Geoffrey Dolton as Geronio.
David Parry will conduct the Garsington Opera Orchestra and Chorus.
The main role in Le nozze di Figaro will be sung by Australian-born Joshua Bloom with soprano Jennifer France as Susanna, Duncan Rock and Kirsten MacKinnon as the Count and Countess, and Marta Fontanals-Simmons as Cherubino.
In June the cast will be performing Figaro at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in Paris.
Silver Birch, commissioned as part of Garsington Opera’s learning and participation programme, involves more than 180 participants aged from eight to 80.
They will perform as singers, dancers, actors and instrumentalists and there will be contributions from trainee sound designers guided by Glen Gathard of Pinewood Studios.
The production, written by Roxanna Panufnik and Jessica Duchen, explores the power of love in wartime and incorporates war poetry by Siegfried Sassoon, some of which he wrote while staying at Garsington Manor.
Douglas Boyd, Garsington Opera’s artistic director, will conduct.
Tickets range from £135 to £200 with an optional £70 donation and the box office opens on March 28.
For more information, visit www.garsingtonopera.org or call 01865 361636.
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