The CD starts with an intro to the Grange and a description of the house and its surroundings by Wasfi Kani, Grange Park Opera's artistic director. There are then a series of interviews with various people involved with the opera, singers, back-stage crew etc. These interviews are edited together in a form that gives you an aural picture of backstage at the opera house. Those interviewed include Lord Ashburton (who owns the house) and Michael Morley (who founded the festival with Wasfi Kani) and there is even an interview with the man who does the roses! Finally Alan Titchmarsh (a long time festival supporter) describes the surrounding landscape. This section finishes with each person saying what the festival means to them.
Then Wasfi introduces excerpts from each of next season's operas. I Capuletti e i Montecchi, which is to be performed at Neville Holt, is represented by Marilyn Horne singing one of Romeo's arias. The Magic Flute is represented by In diesen Heilgen Hallen from the Colin Davis recording and Prokofiev's The Gambler by excerpts from Act IV from Valery Gergiev's Mariinsky recording. Finally Falstaff is introduced by a snippet from Sir George Solti's recording, with Alfredo Kraus and Mirella Freni as the young lovers.
At Grange Park The Magic Flute will be directed by Stephen Medcalf and conducted by Richard Balcolmbe. Jeremy White (long standing regular at Covent Garden) is Sarastro and Elizabeth Atherton Pamina. David Stout, recently seen to great effect in ETO's Baroque season (he was Pluto in Orfeo and Aeneas in Dido and Aeneas) will be Papageno.
The Gambler will be designed and directed by David Fielding (whose production here of Tchaikovsky's The Enchantress was very memorable) and conducted by Andre de Ridder. The fine cast includes Andrew Shore as the General and Jeffrey Lloyd Roberts as Alexei, very different to his role as Nicias in Thais this year.
Falstaff is being conducted by Stephen Barlow and directed by Daniel Slater with Robert Poulton in the title role, William Dazely as Ford and Anne Marie Owens as Mistress Quickly.
As next year is a celebration year, there is also a concert with the LSO; represented by excerpts from Romeo and Juliet, both the Tchaikovsky and the Prokofiev. Besides these 2 works the concert will include Stravinsky's Rite of Spring
Finally the disc concludes with Andreas Scholl singing Where'er you walk from Handel's Semele, as the Grange is also putting on a concert performance of the oratorio with Rosemary Joshua in the title role, Hilary Summers as Juno and Ino, Stephen Wallace as Athmas and conducted by Christian Curnyn. And before you comment, yes I know that Where'er you walk is a tenor aria, but Scholl sings it so brilliantly that you can hardly complain.