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Garsington Opera 2011:  The Company's  Glorious New Setting Unveiled with The Magic Flute (BK)

Having taken up its new home on the Getty family’s magnificent Wormsley Estate in Buckinghamshire, Garsington Opera  now announces its first season at Wormsley (2 June – 5 July 2011). Three operas will be presented, beginning with Mozart’s much loved work, The Magic Flute,  following with Rossini’s inspired comic opera,  Il Turco in Italia and finally the British premiere of Vivaldi’s rarely performed work La verità in cimento.

With The Magic Flute’s opening gala performance, audiences will be welcomed for the first time into Garsington Opera’s elegant and specially designed opera pavilion. In an idyllic location, close to an attractive collection of flinted buildings,  sheltered but only partly enclosed, it looks out over a glorious landscape with a lake and deer browsing in the distance.

Directing The Magic Flute will be Olivia Fuchs, while Martin André will conduct. Their outstanding collaboration on The Rake’s Progress was a highlight of Garsington Opera’s 2008 season. The opera will be sung in English, in a translation by Jeremy Sams.

All the coming season’s talented conductors and directors have worked at Garsington Opera previously and, as ever, they will be working both with established and emerging young singers.  Rossini’s Il Turco in Italia will be directed by Martin Duncan, creator of many memorable productions for Garsington Opera, and conducted by Rossini expert David Parry, often associated with Garsington Opera’s Rossini successes.

At Wormsley, Garsington Opera will maintain its policy of presenting rare works. For the British premiere of Vivaldi’s La verità in cimento, considered to be one of the finest of the middle period of his operatic output, director David Freeman and baroque specialist Laurence Cummings will continue their collaboration leading Garsington Opera’s Vivaldi series, following their success with L’incoronazione di Dario in 2008.


With a libretto by fellow freemason Emanuel Schikaneder and Mozart’s glorious music, a story of initiation and survival unfolds, in which love and humanity finally overcome the forces of darkness. The cast includes a number of rising young stars including Sophie Bevan (Pamina), Robert Murray (Tamino), Rebecca von Lipinski (First Lady) and  soprano Kim Sheehan (Queen of the Night). Martin André will conduct and the team of Olivia Fuchs, director and Niki Turner, designer, return after their remarkable success with The Rake’s Progress two years ago. The Magic Flute will be sung in English in Jeremy Sams’s sparkling translation.


With a title meaning The truth put to the test, the dotty story features a Sultan (Paul Nilon) who has two sons at the same time, one by his Sultana (Jean Rigby), the other by Damira, the favourite of his other wives (Diana Montague).  He ordered the babies to be switched at birth but twenty years later, the Sultan can no longer live with his guilt and decides to reveal to the world what happened. Kathleen Ferrier song prize- winner Swedish soprano  Ida Falk Winland sings Rosane, and young Israeli Yaniv d’Or, together with James Laing, seen last season in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, sing the two counter- tenor roles,  The acclaimed director David Freeman whose production last summer of Carmen in the O2 Arena was such a success, will work  with designer Duncan Hayler.   It will be conducted by  Laurence Cummings, who, as well as being Director of the London Handel Festival, has recently been appointed Music Director of
the Internationale Händel-Festpiele Göttingen beginning in 2012.


One of Rossini’s most witty operas, Il Turco in Italia features a Turkish prince (Mark Stone) drawn to two women – the flighty wife of a jealous Italian and a gypsy beauty, both of whom love him.  The lively female roles will be sung by young Macedonian soprano Ana Durlovski (Fiorilla) making her UK debut, together with Victoria Simmonds (Zaida) who recently enjoyed success in the title role of Jonathan Dove’s The Adventures of Pinocchio for Opera North. Il Turco in Italia will be directed by Martin Duncan (artistic advisor to the Cultural Director of the London Olympics) with designs by Francis O’Connor. David Parry conducts.


Before and during the season Garsington Opera Education will run a programme in schools and within the community  close to Wormsley


Wormsley is situated in the Chilterns, just off the M40 and on the borders of Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire. It lies 15 miles from Garsington, close to Oxford and under an hour from London.


Lifted above the ground to give an appearance of ‘floating’ over the landscape, architect Robin Snell’s design for the Opera Pavilion takes its cue from traditional Japanese pavilion architecture in its use of sliding screens, extended platforms and verandas and bridges to link it to the landscape. The seasonal auditorium has 600 seats with seat widths and leg-room increased to improve comfort. It has been designed to create the best possible acoustics and sightlines. As it faces out into the landscape, it will be possible for audiences to enjoy the setting and the summer skies beyond the stage while remaining sheltered for the performance.


Before the performance or during the interval audiences may choose to stroll towards the lake or beyond or settle with picnics with views across the deer park or over the Wormsley Estate’s famous cricket pitch. Those arriving early will also be able to take afternoon tea and wander through the historic walled garden a short drive from the opera site – with a shuttle taking them there and back.  During the long dinner interval patrons can picnic or dine in the marquees with catering provided by Chilli Pepper who have recently formed a new partnership with Jamie Oliver’s Fabulous Feasts.

The Magic Flute         2,4,11,16,21,27 June, 2,5 July  6.10pm

Il Turco in Italia          3,6,13,18,24,28 June, 3 July  6.20pm

La verità in Cimento  20,23,25,29 June, 1,4 July  6.10pm

BOX OFFICE:  GENERAL PUBLIC BOOKING OPENS  18TH  April 2011 Tickets £90 - £155 Telephone 01865 361636  The Old Garage, The Green, Great Milton, Oxford OX44 7N   Web Site:

Bill Kenny

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