Friday 9 June 2023

West Green House Opera’s 2023 season

West Green House - The Opera Garden from West Green House on Vimeo.

West Green House Opera in Hampshire is now well-known for its enchanting Theatre on the Lake, set in the beautiful surroundings of West Green House Gardens which are spectacularly lit throughout the evening. This year's season is as ambitious as ever. The two fully staged productions are Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street and opera's most famous double bill Mascagni's Cavalleria Rusticana and Leoncavallo's Pagliacci.

Sweeney Todd is brought to West Green by the creative team of director/designer Richard Studer and conductor Jonathan Lyness, who have been with the company since its inception over twenty years ago.  Baritone Matthew Sharp sings the murderous title role with mezzo-soprano Clare Presland playing the resourceful proprietress of a failing pie shop Mrs Lovett.  The supporting cast includes Felicity Buckland as the beggar woman, Simon Wilding as Judge Turpin, Eleanor Sanderson-Nash as Johanna and Harry Apps, fresh from Les Miserables in the West End, as Tobias Ragg. Performances are on 22 & 23 July. 

The high drama of Cav & Pag comes to West Green on 29 & 30 July. The double bill will be directed by John Ramster (Eugene Onegin 2021) and conducted by John Andrews.  The stellar casts include Alexey Dolgov as Turiddu and Ronald Samm as Canio. Samantha Crawford makes her West Green debut as Santuzza and Jenny Stafford (Tatyana, Eugene Onegin 2021) returns as Nedda. Bridget Kimak is the designer. 

The Friday night productions look set to be equally exciting. On 21 July, director Thomas Guthrie weaves his magic in his newly devised show Mozart’s Constanze. Soprano Luci Briginshaw sings the music written by the composer for his beloved wife, including the exquisite 'Et incarnatus est' from his Mass in C Minor, alongside players from Orpheus Sinfonia. Dance choreographed by Maria da Luz promises an evening of great beauty.

Robert Murray (Photo: Gerard Collet)
Robert Murray (Photo: Gerard Collet)

The second Friday of the festival (28 July) brings an entirely different production, Offenbach’s Robinson Crusoe in Concert. Conductor David Parry has written a new English translation full of wit and fun. Tenor Robert Murray sings the title role. Where better to perform this sadly neglected work than on West Green’s very own desert island! 

West Green House Opera is dedicated to supporting young artists and implemented its first Young Artists Covers Programme in 2022. The programme continues this year, culminating in a scenes showcase in London on 22 July and a lunchtime concert in the Theatre Lawn Pavilion at West Green on 23 July.

Finally on 25 July, also in the Theatre Lawn Pavilion, Armonico Consort and Oz Clarke present an evening of wine and music. It is a little-known fact that the famed writer, wine critic and broadcaster Oz Clarke was a singer for many years, starting at Canterbury, continuing with the Schola Cantorum, followed by both the Monteverdi Choir and the Academy of St Martin’s. In a completely unique programme presented in cabaret style, Oz & Armonico Consort investigate the spurious links between wine from across the world and Baroque music. Featuring the work of composers including Bach, Purcell and Vivaldi, plus some of the most upbeat Baroque dance music from South America, it promises to be a highly entertaining evening.

West Green House Opera runs from 21 July to 30 July 2023. Full details from their website.

West Green House Opera's Theatre on the Lake in 2022
West Green House Opera's Theatre on the Lake in 2022

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