It’s a summer feast of British singers

It’s a summer feast of British singers


norman lebrecht

February 01, 2016

It used to be English National Opera, until the company became over-reliant on Americans imported through the auspices of its sometime artistic consultant, Matthew Epstein.

This morning, by way of adjustment, Garsington rolls out a summer of British talent that cannot, I suspect, be matched by any other company. Among the hot tickets are the Welsh soprano Natalya Romaniw in her role debut as Tatyana in Eugene Onegin opposite fellow-debutant Roderick Williams;  Toby Spence as Idomeneo; and this line up for Haydn’s Creation: Sarah Tynan (soprano), James Gilchrist (tenor) and Neal Davies (bass).

Rule, Britannia.

Press release below.



Garsington Opera’s 2016 season, from 3 June to 17 July, will present Tchaikovsky’s powerful Eugene Onegin, Mozart’s great opera seriaIdomeneo, Rossini’s sparkling L’italiana in Algeri, and an innovative collaboration with Rambert, one of Britain’s leading dance companies, with a unique realisation of Haydn’s The Creation combining music and dance.

Garsington Opera welcomes celebrated British artists of international distinction. Toby Spence (tenor) and Roderick Williams (baritone) make both title role and festival debuts, the former in Idomeneo and the latter Eugene OneginMichael Boyd (director), former Artistic Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company and Tom Piper (designer), praised for his commemorative poppy installation, Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red at the Tower of London, produce Eugene Onegin, conducted by Douglas Boyd (Garsington Opera’s Artistic Director).  Tim Albery (director) and Hannah Clark (designer), whose recent designs for Queen Anne at the RSC were critically acclaimed, produce Idomeneo with leading Swedish conductor Tobias RingborgWill Tuckett (director), director of The Royal Ballet’s acclaimed production of Elizabeth, and George Souglides (designer) combine with distinguished Rossini expert David Parry (conductor) for a new production of L’italiana in Algeri.

Garsington Opera continues its policy of seeking out the very best singers from around the world and showcasing rising stars from Britain.  The distinguished Garsington Opera Orchestra, many of whom have been with the company for over 20 years, will be joined by the Garsington Opera Chorus, comprising emerging talent from the UK and beyond.


Based on Russian poet and author Alexander Pushkin’s novella, Tchaikovsky’s powerful and moving opera about youth and first love features British baritone Roderick Williams making his debut in the title role and Welsh soprano Natalya Romaniw making her role debut as the young heroine Tatyana.  Lithuanian mezzo-soprano Jurgita Adamonytė sings Olga and Cardiff Singer of the World 2015 finalist Ukrainian tenor Oleksiy Palchykov sings Lensky.  The role of Prince Gremin is sung by international bass Brindley Sherratt.  They are joined byLouise Winter (Larina), Kathleen Wilkinson (Filippyevna) and Mark Wilde (Triquet).  Douglas Boyd conducts with Michael Boyd, a fluent Russian speaker, directing and Tom Piper designing.


War hero Idomeneo, to be sung by international opera star Toby Spence making his debut in the title role, promises the gods he will sacrifice the first person he sees in return for a safe passage. That person is his son Idamante, to be sung by Australian mezzo-soprano Caitlin Hulcup.  Added to the anguished love triangle between his son, the Trojan princess Ilia, performed by rising star Louise Alder, and Greek princess Elettra sung by Rebecca von Lipinski, a terrible struggle ensues between fatherly devotion, staying true to a promise and young love.  Timothy Robinson (Arbace), Robert Murray (High Priest) and Nicholas Masters (Neptune) complete the cast.  Swedish Tobias Ringborg conducts with distinguished international opera director Tim Albery directing with designs by Hannah Clark.



Written at the height of Rossini’s inventive powers, madness, hilarity and a sense of the surreal permeate the opera with the courageous heroine Isabella at the centre of a maelstrom of confusion, suffused throughout with humour and tenderness. Ezgi Kutlu sings the young Isabella searching for her beloved Lindoro sung by the Brazilian tenor Luciano Botelho.  The blustering Mustafà is performed by Quirijn de Lang and his long-suffering wife Elvira by rising star Mary Bevan.  They are joined by Geoffrey Dolton (Taddeo), Katie Bray (Zulma) andBožidar Smiljanić (Haly).  Conductor David Parry returns to conduct his thirteenth Rossini opera for Garsington with Olivier award-winnerWill Tuckett directing and George Souglides designing.



Conductor Douglas Boyd, Garsington Opera’s Artistic Director, collaborates with Mark Baldwin, Choreographer and Artistic Director of Rambert, to bring an inspiring realisation of  The Creation through music and dance.  40 dancers from Rambert and the Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance will be joined on stage by Garsington Opera’s orchestra and chorus with soloists Sarah Tynan (soprano),James Gilchrist (tenor) and Neal Davies (bass).  Designs by renowned visual artist Pablo Bronstein, whose site specific work for the Duveen Galleries at Tate Britain opens in April, will add a spectacular visual dimension to Haydn’s music.



  • Dominic Stafford Uglow says:

    Opera Holland Park has used primarily British singers for years and years…

    • Javier Muckery says:

      Mmm??? unless my eyes deceive me there are only actually a ‘few’ British singers on there??? Alright casting but looks like a light voice version of Holland Park’s cast lists over the last few years- internal snobbery within the industry?? Never!!

  • Eddie Mars says:

    There is some juicy casting there, and some major names on the creative side. This seems to represent a big move forwards for Garsington.

    I heard Palchykov in concert two years ago – he’s the real thing.

  • Halldor says:

    Great, but doesn’t seem any more strongly British than most seasons at Welsh National Opera.

  • Michael Volpe says:

    Have you seen our casts and personnel Norman! Including Natalya!

    Iris Anne Sophie Duprels
    Il Cieco Mikhail Svetlov
    Osaka Noah Stewart
    Kyoto James Cleverton
    Geisha Johane Ansell
    Haberdasher Timothy Langston
    Rag Merchant Michael Bradley
    Conductor Stuart Stratford
    Director Olivia Fuchs
    Assistant Conductor and Repetiteur Liz Rowe
    Chorus Music Repetiteur Berrak Dyer

    La bohème
    Mimi Anna Patalong
    Rodolfo Shaun Dixon
    Musetta Elin Pritchard
    Schaunard Frederick Long
    Colline John Savournin
    Benoit John Lofthouse
    Alcindoro James Harrison
    Parpignol Michael Bradley
    Conductor Matthew Waldren
    Director Stephen Barlow
    Lighting Designer Howard Hudson
    Assistant Conductor Paul Wingfield
    Assistant Director Deborah Cohen
    Repetiteur Sonia Ben Santamaria
    Chorus Music Repetiteur Berrak Dyer

    La Cenerentola
    Angelina Victoria Simmonds
    Prince Ramiro Nico Darmanin
    Dandini Nicholas Lester
    Don Magnifico Jonathan Veira
    Alidoro Barnaby Rea
    Clorinda Fleur de Bray
    Tisbe Heather Lowe
    Conductor Dane Lam
    Director Oliver Platt
    Designer Neil Irish
    Repetiteur Stuart Wild
    Chorus Music Repetiteur Berrak Dyer

    Die Fledermaus
    Gabriel von Eisenstein Ben Johnson
    Rosalinde Susanna Hurrell
    Adele Jennifer France
    Alfred Peter Davoren
    Dr Blind Robert Burt
    Frank John Lofthouse
    Prince Orlofsky Samantha Price
    Conductor John Rigby
    Director Martin Lloyd-Evans
    Chorus Music Repetiteur Berrak Dyer

    The Queen of Spades
    Hermann Peter Wedd
    Lisa Natalya Romaniw
    Countess Rosalind Plowright OBE
    Count Tomsky and Zlatogor Richard Burkhard
    Prince Yeletsky Grant Doyle
    Polina and Milovzor Laura Woods
    Masha and Prilepa Daisy Brown
    Surin and Boy Commander Simon Wilding
    Chekalinsky Aled Hall
    Narumov Henry Grant Kerswell
    Master of Ceremonies Timothy Langston
    Governess Laura Zigmantaite
    Conductor Peter Robinson
    Director Rodula Gaitanou
    Designer Cordelia Chisholm
    Lighting Designer Simon Corder
    Assistant Director Ruth Knight
    Repetiteur Nicholas Bosworth
    Chorus Music Repetiteur Berrak Dyer

  • John Groves says:

    Well done Garsington, Holland Park and WNO! Now, ENO, it’s your turn – but I won’t hold my breath!!!!

  • Clare says:

    Thanks Norman for coverage!