Friday 7 July 2023

A trio of rarities: If Opera's resident ensemble is back with Giordano's Fedora, Will Todd's Alice and Tchaikovsky's Iolanta

If Opera at Belcombe Court in 2022
If Opera at Belcombe Court in 2022

If Opera is back with another season at two venues in Bradford on Avon using the repertory ensemble model that they developed last year. This year the company is presenting three operas and hosting a visit from Charles Court Opera.

Umberto Giordano's Fedora is the first opera up, directed by John Wilkie and conducted by Oliver Gooch, If Opera's artistic director. Premiered in 1898, the opera has remained on the fringes of the repertory, often providing a star vehicle for sopranos (and tenors) - I saw it at Covent Garden with Mirella Freni. It will be interesting to see how John Wilkie approaches a work with a cast of young singers, including Skye Ingram as Fedora and Charne Rocheford as Loris.

Next up is Will Todd's wonderful family opera, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland which was originally commissioned by Opera Holland Park. At If Opera the work is being directed by directed by Lysanne van Overbeek and conducted by Mark Austin. 

Both these operas are being performed at Belcombe Court, where opera takes place in a handsome temporary structure and you can picnic in the picturesque grounds. Also visiting Belcombe Court are Charles Court Opera who bring their production of Gilbert & Sullivan's The Mikado.

As if one unusual opera wasn't enough, If Opera ends their Summer season with Tchaikovsky's final opera, Iolanta. This was premiered in 1892, just six years before Fedora, which makes you think, and when premiere Iolanta was given in a double bill with The Nutcracker ballet! If Opera's production of Iolanta is directed by Lysanne Van Overbeek and conducted Sorcha Corcoran. This production is being given in doors at the Wiltshire Music Centre in Bradford upon Avon.

For all operas, the resident ensemble is the Bristol Ensemble. And the company features 13 singers who are all appearing in multiple roles.

Full details from the If Opera website.

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