Bamber’s death will not impair opera festival

Bamber’s death will not impair opera festival


norman lebrecht

February 08, 2022

Today’s death of Bamber Gascoigne cast a shadow over Grange Park, the inherited estate which the TV presenter generously made over to a summer opera festival.

Gascoigne came into the property in 2014 on the death of a great-aunt, the Duchess of Roxburghe.

But he was never going to live there and he responded promptly to a proposal by Wasfi Kani to build an opera house on the grounds. Many of his great-aunt’s possessions were auctioned off to improve the existing main building.

So what happens now?

Have no fear. We understand that Wasfi was given a 100-year lease.

Wasfi tells us: ‘Rather than stuff £24m into his trousers, Bamber gave away his inheritance so that we could build the Theatre in the Woods, the five-storey opera house in Surrey.

‘The Duchess of Roxburghe – rather her ashes in a casket – are under the 1st violins in the orchestra pit. Bamber said he wants to be buried in the woods next to the opera house and I’m going to try to make that happen. Whatever happens he will be with us at every performance.
‘He was  a real gent and a reckless benefactor.’


  • Stephen Gould says:

    No more starters for ten

  • Anthony Sayer says:

    Hats off to Bamber and all who benefitted from his largesse.

  • V.Lind says:

    RIP to a very fine gentleman.

  • Gary Freer says:

    Wonderful man – wore his erudition lightly, and was just as charming and kind off screen as on.RIP Bamber.

  • Una says:

    After watching him for years on the telly as host for University Challenge, I had no idea Bamber was instrumental in getting Grange on the road. What a fine thing to do! I have never been and probably never will go, but Grange has given so much pleasure to so many by facilitating well paid work for those involved and significant opportunities in the opera world.

  • Lance B Brady. says:

    The world is a much poorer place because of the loss of this fine man