Just in: New opera festival brings Currentzis to UK

The Grange Festival launches this summer at Grange Park, having evicted Wasfi Kani’s Grange Park Opera, which had been running there since 1997. It clearly needed a jewel in its crown, or a currant on its bun, to deflect attention from Wasfi’s rival new venture in Surrey, trailed in this morning’s FT.

The currant is Teodor Currentzis, superhyped and sometimes controversial director of Perm Opera in Russia. His orchestra Musica Aeterna will present two concert performances of Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte.

The fully-staged operas are Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria, Carmen and Albert Herring. Press release follows.


The Grange Festival’s Artistic Director, Michael Chance, today announced details of the first operas to be presented by the newly-formed company. Opening in June 2017, The Grange Festival is dedicated to building on the great tradition of opera productions in the award-winning theatre of The Grange, Hampshire. Audiences will be able to enjoy a wider range of work there than ever before, with each new production bringing together carefully selected world-class artistic teams to create experiences of the highest quality. In its first season, The Grange Festival presents three operas that have never been staged at The Grange before: Monteverdi’s Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria, Bizet’s Carmen and Britten’s Albert Herring.

The Grange Festival is unique among UK opera companies in having an opera singer as its artistic director. For the 2017 season’s first new production, Chance himself will take on the musical direction of the first staging at The Grange of Monteverdi’s Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria, in the 450th anniversary of the composer’s birth and perfectly matched to the famous Greek revivalist architecture of The Grange. Chance has invited eminent British theatre director Tim Supple, to create a visually-arresting production, without conductor, which fully utilises the intimacy of The Grange theatre, and that captures the radical freshness which audiences at the premiere of this revolutionary work may have experienced nearly four hundred years ago.

Bizet’s Carmen is one of the world’s most popular operas and for its first performances at The Grange will reunite director Annabel Arden and designer Joanna Parker, widely praised for their extraordinary work together on such productions as Opera North’s Andrea Chénier and Royal Opera House’s Café Kafka, and currently working together on Glyndebourne’s forthcoming Il barbiere di Siviglia. It will be conducted by the French conductor Jean-Luc Tingaud. Considered one of the foremost champions of French opera, Tingaud was Associate Conductor of Opéra Comique, Paris, and is known to UK and Irish audiences from his regular appearances at Wexford Festival, English National Opera and with many of our finest orchestras.

Exactly 70 years on from its first performances at Glyndebourne, Britten’s Albert Herring (described by Sviatoslav Richter, no less, as “the greatest comic opera of the century”) is another pillar of the inaugural season. Chance is bringing together the perfect Britten team of conductor Steuart Bedford, chosen by Britten to replace him when he became too ill to conduct the world premiere of Death in Venice, and director John Copley, who also knew Britten, and whose distinguished career has made him one of the most beloved figures in the opera world.

In a coup for the company’s inaugural season, Chance has secured a rare UK appearance for firebrand conductor Teodor Currentzis and his exciting orchestra Musica Aeterna, resident in Perm. Their ongoing recording cycle of the Mozart/Da Ponte operas has been widely praised for its radical rethinking of these great and much loved works. The Grange Festival audiences will be able to experience this dynamic partnership in two concert performances of Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte, which hint at The Grange Festival’s long-term ambition to create a wider range of theatrical experiences than ever before in this inimitable setting.

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