Garsington Opera Announces Extended Season: 1 June to 30 July 2017

This year the festival offers Handel’s seductive masterpiece Semele, Debussy’s enigmatic PellÈas et MÈlisande,
Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro, Rossini’s Il turco in Italia
and will conclude with Silver Birch, a large-scale work for a
professional cast with local community participants of all ages,
commissioned by Garsington Opera, from leading British composer Roxanna Panufnik and librettist Jessica Duchen. The JLT Group is the season’s sponsor for
the fourth consecutive year. As part of the Garsington Opera for All
programme, funded by Arts Council England and run in partnership with Magna
Vitae, Semele will also be screened free of charge in Skegness,
Ramsgate, Burnham-on-Sea and Grimsby.

is a love story in which the god Jupiter is captivated by the beauty of the
all-too-human Semele; these dramatic and colourful mythological characters
inspired Handel’s most memorably beautiful arias. The title role will mark
the British debut of American soprano Heidi Stober, an
established favourite at some of the world’s most important opera houses,
including San Francisco Opera, Deutsche Oper Berlin, the Vienna Staatsoper
and the Metropolitan Opera, New York. Singing the pivotal role of Jupiter
is Robert Murray with Christine Rice
singing his spurned wife Juno. They are joined by Jurgita Adamonyt? (Ino), David Soar
(Cadmus & Somnus), South African countertenor Christopher Ainslie (Athamas) and Leonard Ingrams
Foundation Award winner Llio Evans (Iris). Leading early
music specialist Jonathan Cohen will conduct the Garsington Opera Orchestra and Chorus and Annilese Miskimmon, Artistic Director of Norwegian
National Opera will direct, in collaboration with designer Nicky Shaw.

PellÈas et MÈlisande,
Debussy’s only opera, and often considered to be one of the most original
in the history of music, is full of shimmering beauty creating a work of
intense hypnotic allure. It will feature established French bass-baritone Paul Gay (Golaud) and two rising stars taking the title
roles – Jonathan McGovern (PellÈas) and American soprano Andrea Carroll (MÈlisande) making her British debut, with Brian Bannatyne-Scott (Arkel) and Susan Bickley (GeneviËve). Jac van Steen
returns (Strauss Intermezzo 2015) to conduct the Philharmonia Orchestra in its first year of partnership
with Garsington Opera. Michael Boyd (director) together
with Tom Piper (designer) return following their acclaimed
production of Eugene Onegin last season.

Il turco in Italia
will be a revival of Garsington Opera’s joyous 2011 production directed by Martin Duncan with designs by Francis O’Connor. Three members of the original cast
return – Mark Stone as the poet Prosdocimo, Quirijn de Lang as the dashing Turk
Selim, and Geoffrey Dolton as the devoted but dull husband
Geronio. They are joined by renowned British soprano Sarah Tynan as the dazzling and flirtatious Fiorilla and
rising star Katie Bray as Zaida. Italian tenor Luciano Botelho returns as the love-lorn Narciso. Rossini
doyen David Parry will conduct the Garsington Opera Orchestra and Chorus in this glittering
musical score.

John Cox’s
legendary production of Le nozze di Figaro, first
seen at Garsington Manor in 2005, will be recreated for
the opera pavilion at Wormsley. Written at the height of his genius, this
is one of Mozart’s finest works. Australian born Joshua Bloom (Leporello, Don Giovanni, 2012) will
sing the title role with the exciting soprano Jennifer France (Leonard Ingrams Award winner) as Susanna.
The Canadian singer Kirsten MacKinnon will make her UK
debut as the Countess with Duncan Rock as the Count andMarta Fontanals-Simmons as Cherubino. Stephen Richardson (Bartolo), Janis Kelly
(Marcellina), and Timothy Robinson (Basilio) join the
vibrant young cast. Douglas Boyd will again conduct this
highly acclaimed production with the Garsington Opera Orchestra and Chorus. In
June the principals and chorus of Garsington Opera will travel to the
ThÈ‚tre des Champs-…lysÈes in Paris to give a semi-staged concert
performance of Figaro with the Orchestre de Chambre de Paris conducted by its Music
Director Douglas Boyd.

Roxanna Panufnik
’s Silver Birch is a commission for Garsington Opera’s Learning & Participation
programme with Jessica Duchen as librettist. The
production will see over 180 community participants aged 8-80, including
recruits from the local military community, performing as dancers, singers,
actors, instrumentalists, as well as student Foley artists from Cressex
Community School under the guidance of Pinewood Studios Sound Designer Glen Gathard. They will perform alongside favourite
Garsington professionals in the cast and orchestra. The story explores the
extraordinary power of love within the devastating context of war and makes
use of Siegfried Sassoon’s poetry from WW1 (some of which was written while
staying at Garsington Manor). The creative team isKaren Gillingham director, Rhiannon Newman Brown designer, and Garsington Opera’s
Artistic Director Douglas Boyd joins them to conduct. The
professional roles will be performed by Sam Furness
(Jack), Victoria Simmonds (Anna), Darren Jeffery (Simon), Bradley Travis
(Sassoon), Sarah Redgwick (Mrs Morrell) andJames Way (Davey) and the Garsington Opera Orchestra will be playing.

Garsington Opera inside the auditorium.jpg Garsington Opera: inside the auditorium.


For the Handel, Debussy, Rossini and Mozart operas, patrons are invited to
arrive from 3.30pm to enjoy the gardens and deer park of the Wormsley
Estate before performances begin in the early evening. Those arriving early
are able to take a short trip in a vintage bus to the 18th century walled
garden. On their return, they can enjoy traditional afternoon tea
overlooking the cricket pitch, admire the spectacular views across the deer
park and lake from the Champagne Bar, or stroll around the opera garden. In
the long dinner interval patrons can dine in the elegant restaurant marquee
overlooking the famous cricket ground or have a picnic by the lake, in the
garden or in one of the private picnic tents. Performances resume as the
evening light begins to fade and end by 10.15pm. A minibus service connects
with High Wycombe station, a half hour train journey from London.


(new production) 1,3,9,15,24,30 June, 4 July start time 5.55pm

Le nozze di Figaro
(recreation) 2,4,8,10,17 June, 3,6,9,11,14,16 July start time 5.25pm

PellÈas et MÈlisande
(new production) 16,18,22,25,27 June, 1,7 July
start time 5.55pm

Il turco in Italia (revival) 26, 29 June, 2,5,8,10,13,15 July start time 5.55pm

Silver Birch (new commission) 28,29,30 July start time 7.30pm (no interval)

Tickets £135 – £200 including suggestion but non-obligatory donation of £70

Public booking opens 28 March
Telephone 01865 361636

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Photo credit: Clive Barda