Wagner opera revival is highlight of Longborough

Steve Orme

A revival of Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde which was presented only two years ago and three new productions will be the attractions of Longborough Festival Opera 2017.

Martin and Lizzie Graham started promoting opera in the grounds of their Moreton-in-Marsh, Gloucestershire home in 1991. The festival has been celebrated for some time for its performances of Wagner’s work and opens with Tristan und Isolde, conducted by renowned Wagnerian Anthony Negus. Peter Wedd and Lee Bisset take the title roles and Carmen Jakobi directs. Performances will be on Thursday 8, Saturday 10, Monday 12 and Wednesday 14 June.

Director Orpha Phelan and designer Madeleine Boyd, who won the award for best opera production in 2016 at the Royal Danish Opera, make their Longborough debuts with a new, post-apocalyptic vision of Beethoven’s Fidelio. Conductor is Gad Kadosh who made his UK opera debut with Longborough’s Rigoletto in 2015. Performances will be on Saturday 24, Tuesday 27, Thursday 29 June and Saturday 1 and Sunday 2 July.

Anthony Negus this year conducts all but one performance of Mozart’s comic opera The Magic Flute. This new production will mark the first time Longborough audiences have been able to hear Negus conduct an opera outside the Wagner repertoire. Thomas Guthrie directs.

Performances will be on Thursday 13, Saturday 15, Sunday 16, Tuesday 18, Thursday 20 and Saturday 22 July. Assistant conductor James Henshaw will conduct the performance on Sunday 16 July.

The Young Artist programme is a key part of Longborough’s aim to help emerging singers and players in an early step towards stardom. This year’s new production is Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice.

Conductor is Jeremy Silver, director is Maria Jagusz and Richard Studer is the designer. Performances will be on Saturday 29, Sunday 30 July and Tuesday 1 August.

Longborough’s annual season takes place in a purpose-built, 500-seat opera house at Moreton-in-Marsh in the Cotswolds. Audiences have grown from 400 in 1991 to more than 8,500 in 2016.