Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Looking ahead: Garsington expands into 2017

Garsington Opera
Garsington Opera at night
Garsington Opera is expanding, this year the season runs from 1 June to 30 July 2017, there are four productions for the first time in the festival's history as well as a large-scale work for a professional cast with local community participants of all ages,, and the duties in the pit will be shared between the festival orchestra and the Philharmonia Orchestra. The main stage operas are Handel's Semele, Debussy's Pelleas et Melisande, Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro and Rossini's Il turco in Italia, with Roxanna Panufnik and Jessica Duchen's people's opera Silver Birch receiving its premiere.

Handel's Semele will be directed by Annilese Miskimmon, artistic director of Norwegian National Opera, and conducted by Jonathan Cohen (artistic director of Arcangelo) with American soprano Heidi Stober making her UK debut, with tenor Robert Murray and mezzo-soprano Christine Rice. Debussy's Pelleas et Melisande will feature the Philharmonia Orchestra in the pit conducted by Jac van Steen (who conducted Strauss's Intermezzo at the festival in 2015). Michael Boyd, who directed last year's Eugene Onegin (see my review) directs with designs by Tom Piper. Pelleas is Jonathan McGovern (who sang the role with English Touring Opera in 2015, see my review) and American soprano Andrea Carroll is Melisande, with Paul Gay as Golaud.

Rossini's Il turco in Italia is a revival of Martin Duncan's 2015 production with David Parry conducting. The cast includes three members of the original cast, Mark Stone (who we last saw in Gerald Barry's Alice's Adventures Underground) as Prosdocimo, Quirijn de Lang as Selim and Geoffrey Dolton as Geronimo, with Sarah Tynan as Fiorilla, Katie Bray as Zaida and Lucian Botelho as Narciso.

John Cox's production of Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro was first seen at Garsington Manor in 2005, and is being re-created for 2017 with a cast including Joshua Bloom and Jennifer France as Figaro and Susanna, Canadian soprano Kirsten MacKinnon makes her UK debut as the Countess with Duncan Rock (who we saw as Don Giovanni at Glyndebourne in 2016) as the Count.

The community opera Silver Birch, with music by Roxana Panufnik and words by Jessica Duchen will include over 180 community participants aged 8 to 80, plus student Foley artists (sound effects) from Cressex Sommunity School, alongside professionals from Garsington in the cast and the orchestra, including Sam Furness, Victoria Simmonds, Darren Jeffrey, Bradly Travis, Sarah Redgwick and James Way, Douglas Boyd conducts.

Full details from the Garsington Opera website.

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