The 73rd Aldeburgh Festival will take place at selected locations in and around the Suffolk town of Snape from 3-26 June 2022, organiser Britten Pears Arts has announced. A full three years after the last festival, the 2022 event has been extended by a week and will feature a packed programme of opera, recitals, theatre, lectures and talks, exhibitions, films, guided walks, workshops, masterclasses and more.
The festival opens with the world premiere of Violet, composed by Tom Coult with a libretto by acclaimed playwright Alice Birch. A co-commission and co-production by Music Theatre Wales and Britten Pears Arts, it tells the story of Violet, whose tired daily routine has been dictated by the inescapable chime of the clock tower – until the night she feels time quicken. Every day an hour is lost. With the townspeople in crisis, can Violet finally escape?
The production features British soprano Elizabeth Atherton in the title role, Anglo/Swiss baritone Richard Burkhard as Felix, British mezzo-soprano Frances Gregory as Laura and English tenor Andrew Mackenzie-Wicks as the Clockkeeper. Andrew Gourlay conducts the London Sinfonietta. Performances take place on 3 and 5 June at Snape Maltings Concert Hall.
Further operatic offerings include two performances of composer Jasmine Morris’s multimedia chamber opera Animal Farm, a response to George Orwell’s novel of the same name. This unique promenade piece invites the audience to follow the guides around the spaces of the Hoffmann Building in Snape to watch the scenes as they are performed.
The first performances of a new chamber opera by composer Emily Hazrati and librettist Nazli Tabatabai-Khatambakhsh will take place on 23 June in Jerwood Kiln Studio, Snape. Set in the near future, in which the oceans and tides are rising, TIDE tells the story of three women who, seeking safety, find themselves together in a high tower. It explores themes of displacement and what it means to come, leave and return to a place. Just 30 minutes long, it features two sopranos, a mezzo-soprano and a small ensemble.
The Hesse Lecture will be delivered by playwright and writer Bonnie Greer OBE on 16 June at Aldeburgh’s Jubilee Hall. Titled ‘Our Common Humanity and The Overture To Peter Grimes’, the talk will explore art’s ability to connect people across borders and backgrounds. Greer will make the case that now more than ever we need to assert our common humanity to protect our fellow humans and the environment on which we all depend.
In addition to opera, the 2022 Aldeburgh Festival comprises a varied programme of events. Featured artists for 2022 are violinist Nicola Benedetti, Kaleidoscope Chamber Collective, cellist Laura van der Heijden, organist Anna Lapwood, clarinettist and composer Mark Simpson, percussionist Vivi Vassileva and composer and conductor Ryan Wigglesworth. Featured composers include Laura Bowler, Tom Coult, Bushra El-Turk and Gavin Higgins.
A series of events will explore Britten’s relationship with women. The Red House Exhibition: Britten & Women looks at the powerful role women played in the composer’s life – and how they navigated their own careers in a man’s world. The show runs throughout the festival. Several concerts feature music by Britten’s female associates and contemporaries.
A Celebration of the Britten Pears Young Artist Programme at 50 is sure to be a highlight of the festival. This evening of vocal and chamber music will bring together current Britten Pears Young Artists and previous participants to perform a selection of works including Vaughan Williams’s Serenade and Schubert’s Quartettsatz. It takes place at Snape Maltings Concert Hall on 11 June.
A brand new event for 2022 is the Sussex Sportive, organised by Britten Pears Arts and cycle events company TPR Events. Riders can choose from a 120-, 80- or 40-km ride through the Suffolk countryside, starting from Snape Maltings. Lunch will be provided for the 120-km route and there will be drinks stops for the 80- and 40-km routes.
For further information on all the events that make up the 2022 Aldeburgh Festival, go to Britten Pears Arts’ website. General booking opens on 29 January.
Composer Jasmine Morris’s multimedia chamber opera Animal Farm features in the 2022 Aldeburgh Festival, taking place throughout June next year.