Garsington Opera’s Youth Company, consisting of 80 young people aged from 9 to 21 from the local area, will perform in the world premiere of a new opera The Happy Princess, based on Oscar Wilde’s story The Happy Prince.
This new commission is composed by Paul Fincham with a libretto by Jessica Duchen and will be performed on the main stage at the Wormsley Estate in Buckinghamshire this Friday (2 August).
The Youth Company provides young people from Buckinghamshire and surrounding counties with the opportunity to develop their singing, creative skills, confidence and stage experience through the world of opera. Participation in the programme is free, with Garsington relying on donations to support the company.
During annual Easter and summer residencies, young singers learn from world-class stage and music directors, leading up to a performance on Wormsley’s main stage for an invited audience. Many of those involved have no prior experience of music and drama. A number of students will work backstage, in design, lighting and stage management.
The Happy Princess is a modernised version of Wilde’s popular story The Happy Prince. The statue of the Princess witnesses her people’s suffering and she enlists the help of a Swallow to take the jewels and gold with which she is encrusted to the needy. Together they transform lives – but at a terrible cost to the devoted Swallow.
The title role will be sung by young professional soprano Lara Marie Müller, who won the Garsington Opera 2017 Simon Sandbach Award. There will also be solo roles for the Youth Company and they will be joined by a professional chamber ensemble. The production will be conducted by Jonathon Swinard, head of music at Garsington Opera.
Paul Fincham read music at Cambridge University, where he was music director of Cambridge Footlights, and is now a full-time composer. Jessica Duchen was a music critic for The Independent for 12 years and is the author of six novels.
Garsington Opera’s Youth Company perform The Happy Princess (Julian Guidera).