Tuesday 14 March 2017

Looking ahead: West Green Opera

Gardens of West Green House
West Green Opera
West Green Opera's 2017 season include three new productions with Verdi's Un ballo in maschera and Mozart's Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail being joined by a Donizetti rarity, the one-act opera Rita. Performers include some notable returnees to the festival as well as a director making his UK debut. West Green Opera takes place from 22 to 30 July 2017 in the stunning gardens of West Green House.

Verdi's Un ballo in maschera is being directed by Richard Studer with Jonathan Lyness as musical director, a partnership responsible for West Green Opera's 2015 production of Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro. Studer and Lyness were recently appointed artistic directors of Mid-Wales Opera. Rebecca Nash, last seen at West Green Opera in the title role of Strauss's Ariadne auf Naxos, returns as Amelia, with George van Bergen (whom we saw in the title role English Touring Opera's 2016 production of Don Giovanni, see my review) as Renato, and Samling Artist Galina Averina (whom we last saw as Atalanta in English Touring Opera's 2016 production of Handel's Xerxes, see Ruth's review) as Oscar.

Spanish director Rafael Villalobos, the youngest ever winner of the Camerata Nuova prize for opera direction, makes his UK debut directing Mozart's Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail. Oliver Zeffman conducts his Melos Sinfonia with a cast including Nicholas Sharratt, Oliver Johnson, Barnaby Rea and Elizabeth Cragg.

Donizetti's Rita was issued on disc by Opera Rara in 2014 (see my review), beginning a process of rehabilitation for a tricky yet unjustly neglected opera. Nominally a comedy, it treats issues such as wife-beating and has a disturbing vein of cruelty running though it. Morag Joss, who also writes psychological thrillers, takes on the tricky task of bringing it to the stage.

Full details from the West Green Opera website.

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