For those who live in and around Oxfordshire, there is a glorious summer of opera to look forward to. Exciting productions, up-and-coming companies and beautiful venues combine to make this a season not to be missed.
First there is Longborough Festival Opera in neighbouring Gloucestershire. In July they are performing Bizet’s Carmen, one of the most familiar and beloved works in the repertoire, and then a little-known baroque opera La Liberazione di Ruggiero. This has the added interest of being by a woman composer, Francesca Caccini, and it is paired with a new work Spell-Book by Freya Waley-Cohen. Longborough has its own purpose-built opera house so the festival cannot be ruined by inclement weather. Dinner can be booked or you can take your own picnic.
Next there is Bampton Classical Opera, offering a new production of Haydn's little-heard comic opera Il Mondo della Luna (The World of the Moon), a title they have wittily translated as ‘Fool Moon’. The first performances will be given in The Deanery Garden, Bampton, Oxfordshire on Friday 22nd and Saturday 23rd July. After that you will have to go to Westonbirt School, in Gloucestershire or St John’s Smith Square, London to see the production.
In August we will have the delightful Waterperry Festival Opera, which is now in its fifth year, featuring productions of Mozart’s irresistible The Marriage of Figaro and Jonathan Dove’s Mansfield Park. The latter, a modern work based on Jane Austen’s celebrated novel, got an enthusiastic reception when first performed and is already sold out. Another lesser-known work they are putting on is Svadba, a modern opera by Ana Sokolović, a composer born in Serbia who is now based in Quebec. The festival runs from Friday 12th-Saturday 20th August.
And even in September the fun continues, with the La Vache Baroque Festival at Chalfont St Giles, in Buckinghamshire. They are putting on Charpentier’s La Descente d’Orphée aux Enfers (The Descent of Orpheus into the Underworld) on Friday 2nd and Sunday 4th September 2022. The opera will be performed as a matinée, giving audiences every chance to enjoy the wonderful gardens of this very special place.
How much better can it get? We are going to be thoroughly spoilt.
La Vache: https://vachebaroquefestival.com/product/la-descente-dorphee/