Monday 1 March 2021

From Donizetti and Humperdinck to Messiaen: Waterperry Opera's imaginative plans for 2021 take full advantage of the spaces available

Mozart: Cosi fan tutte - Zoe Drummond, Damian Arnold, Nicholas Morton - Waterperry Opera Festival 2020
Mozart: Cosi fan tutte - Zoe Drummond, Damian Arnold, Nicholas Morton - Waterperry Opera Festival 2020

Sometimes smallness of size can be an advantage, making a small arts organisation rather more nippy than a larger one. Last year, in the face of the cancellation of their 2020 festival, Waterperry Opera created a mini-season which managed to fit in Mozart's Cosi fan tutte, a work by Jonathan Dove and some Haydn string quartets, all within socially distanced guidelines thanks to cleverly re-locating the performances to more flexible spaces within Waterperry Gardens [see my review].

For 2021, the festival is continuing this flexible approach, with a total of seven productions utilising various spaces in the gardens. Donizetti's L'elisir d'amore will be staged on the lawn in front of Waterperry House, directed by Dan Ayling, designed by Ana Inés Jabares-Pita, and conducted by Bertie Baigent. Whilst Humperdinck's Hansel and Gretel will, rather appropriately, be staged in the amospheric Waterperry woodlands, directed by Rebeccca Meltzer. This production will take a multidisciplinary approach to story-telling, and incorporate British Sign Language. Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf is being presented beside the waterlily pond with choreography by Julia Cave, combining music, dance and spoken word, and the production will be travelling to the Lichfield Festival.

Additionally to these, there will be a late-night music and light installation for Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time. In collaboration with Oxford Lieder, Emma Doherty will be directing staged performances of song cycles by Lili Boulanger and RVW, and Meltzer's version of Jonathan Dove's Ariel (from the 2020 festival) returns.

The festival runs from 12 to 21 August 2021, full details from the festival website.

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