Garsington Opera's 25th anniversary season starts Friday - some seats still available,. But there's a lot more to the season than the three operas on offer. Douglas Boyd, Artistic Director, speaks about this year's programme and about thrilling new developments that could launch Garsington Opera into the next 25 years at the forefront of British country house opera. Read the interview HERE IN Opera Today for more.
The late Leonard Ingrams founded Garsington Opera in 1989 in his own home, Garsington Manor. In 2011, the festival moved to Wormsley Park, Mark Getty's estate in the Chiltern Hills. The larger and even more spectacular setting has great potential. The award winning pavilion is now permanent, and its backstage area has been expanded. Garsington Opera's own orchesstra will continue to produce chamber-scale specialist work - Garsington Opera is the foremost house for Rossini rarities in the UK - but the facilities now cater fro larger scale orchestras and a wider repertoire.
This year, Garsington Opera is holding a weekend "Peace in our time?" (note the question mark). Discussions, concert performances, chamber music, masterclasses, cricket matches and poetry readings. By remarkable coincidence, two previously unpublished poems by Siegfried Sassoon will be read in public for the first time. One poem, "Atrocities", was suppressed during war time, but the other is an ode to Beethoven: the composer who perhaps more than others deals with ideas of oppression, war, resistance and hope through brotherhood. Celebrated in a poem by Siegfried Sassoon, who knew war and injustice, and whose poetry stimulated a whole new artistic aesthetic. (Ivor Gurney lived in High Wycombe down the road from Wormsley, and Wilfred Owen lived near Henley-on-Thames) Perfect dovetail : Garsington Opera's past and its future.
photo of the Garsington Opera Pavilion at Wormlsey by Christopher Jonas