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Friday, 8 April 2016

Opera in a magical garden - West Green Opera.

West Green Opera - the garden at night
West Green Opera - the garden at night
West Green House is a National Trust property in Hampshire which is lived in and run by Marylyn Abbott. She has created a magical garden there, and the garden is the venue for a summer season of opera. This year West Green Opera runs from 23 to 31 July 2016. The operas being performed are Verdi's La Traviata, Gounod's La Colombe and Mozart's Cosi fan tutte. There are two performing spaces, the Green Theatre which is an indoor theatre created in the walled garden and the Lakeside pavilion which also indoor but glass sided with great views. Performances give you the chance to have a wander round the gardens beforehand and perhaps even picnic in what is a magical location.

La Traviata is being performed in a 1920s setting, directed by William Relton, who is artistic director of the festival, and conducted by Oliver Gooch with Italian American soprano Jessica Rose Cambio and tenor Jung Soo Yun (who we saw as Lensky in Eugene Onegin at Grange Park Opera in 2015). Gounod's La Colombe is a co-production with Opera Danube and is directed Simon Butteriss (who has also translated the opera into English and sings the role of Maitre Jean). Aistair Digges conducts the Orpheus Sinfonia and the cast includes Katie Coventry (whom we caught in British Youth Opera's production of Janacek's Cunning Little Vixen and the Royal College of Music's production of Britten's Albert Herring), Adam Temple-Smith (who we caught in Garsington's production Britten's Death in Venice and in a recent concert of Louis Spohr's Last Judgement) and Elizabeth Cragg (who sang in Chelsea Opera Group's performance of Wagner's Das Liebesverbot).

Cosi fan tutte will be directed by Victoria Newlyn and the production is set in the 1940's. The cast includes Kiandra Howarth (whom we caught in Vivaldi's Griselda performed by Opera Settecento in 2014) and Martha Jones (who sang in English Touring Opera's production of Haydn's Life on the moon) as the sisters, with Ben McAteer (most recently seen in Stuart MacRae & Louise Walsh's The Devil Inside) and Richard Dowling (whom we heard in Mozart's Requiem at last year's Hatfield House Music Festival) as their lovers, plus Soraya Mafi (whom we heard in the London Handel Festival's 2014 production of Handel's Arianna in Creta) as Dorabella.

The season also includes other events, with an evening with Sir Thomas Allen, music by Richard Rogers, and mid-day music at the Lakeside pavilion on the two Sundays of the festival.

Full information from the West Green Opera website.

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