Country opera hires London orchestra

Country opera hires London orchestra


norman lebrecht

May 27, 2014

The bucolic art form is growing in England.

Glyndebourne, est. 1934, employs two London orchs, the LPO and the Age of Enlightenment.

Garsington Opera, est. 1990, has, until now, employed a pick-up ensemble of mostly London-based musicians.

Today it announces that from 2017 it will engage the Philharmonia Orchestra for one full production. Press release below.







  • 2015 collaboration with the Royal Shakespeare Company of abridged version of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Mendelssohn’s incidental music.


  • From 2017 Philharmonia Orchestra to join Garsington Opera for one opera production every season


As the curtain goes up on Garsington Opera’s 25th anniversary season, Douglas Boyd, artistic director, is delighted to announce two major developments. In 2015 there will be a collaboration with the Royal Shakespeare Company of an abridged version of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Mendelssohn’s incidental music and from 2017 the Philharmonia Orchestra will join Garsington Opera for one opera production every season.




Garsington Opera continues to develop as a major summer opera festival and will form a partnership with one of the world’s great symphony orchestras, the Philharmonia Orchestra, initially for five years, which will enhance the artistic quality and reputation of the company. Garsington Opera is also committed to the Garsington Opera Orchestra, which will focus on baroque, classical, Italian and chamber works, whilst the Philharmonia Orchestra will enable larger-scale works to be performed.


David Whelton, Philharmonia Orchestra, Managing Director said:  Creative partnership is at the beating heart of the Philharmonia’s artistic approach, and the opportunity for us to collaborate with one of the most forward-thinking opera festivals in the UK is tremendously exciting.  We are absolutely delighted to be a part of Garsington Opera’s future, and look forward immensely to working together with Douglas Boyd and the Garsington creative team to bring extraordinary new productions of the larger scale 19th and early 20th century repertoire to audiences at Wormsley.”



For the first time Garsington Opera is working on a joint project with the RSC with performances at both Wormsley and the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford. It will be a rare opportunity to see an abridged version of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream performed by members of the Royal Shakespeare Company, under the creative guidance of Gregory Doran, Artistic Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company, illuminated with Mendelssohn’s enchanting incidental music, played and sung by the Garsington Opera Company and Orchestra, conducted by Douglas Boyd.


RSC Artistic Director Gregory Doran said “A Midsummer Night’s Dream is one of my favourite Shakespeare plays, so I am delighted to be able to stage this bespoke version incorporating speeches from the play along with Mendelssohn’s gorgeous score.  It was one of the first pieces of music I heard in childhood and inspired my lifelong love of Shakespeare.  This is a very exciting new collaboration with Garsington Opera, and I hope will appeal to lovers of theatre and music alike.”


The 2015 season will also feature three new productions – Mozart’s Così fan tutti  conducted by Douglas Boyd and directed by John Fulljames, Britten’sDeath in Venice conducted by Steuart Bedford who conducted the world premiere in 1973, and directed by Paul Curran and Strauss’ Intermezzoconductor Jac van Steen, director Bruno Ravella.


Douglas Boyd said: I am thrilled that we are collaborating with two such highly acclaimed international companies.  These are exciting developments which reflect our ambitions to continue to grow artistically as an international summer opera festival. 




Douglas Boyd will conduct a new production of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin directed by Sir Michael Boyd, David Parry conducts Rossini’s L’Italiana in Algeri directed by William Tuckett and Tobias Ringborn conducts Mozart’s Idomeneo with Tim Albery directing.



Two world premieres are planned for 2017 and 2018; an Opera for All following on from the success of Orlando Gough/Richard Stilgoe’s community operaRoad Rage, and a new work within our main season.