Waterperry Opera Festival has announced the eight productions that make up its full 2022 artistic programme taking place over eight festival days this August – including two UK premieres and a brand new version of an old favourite. This year marks the fifth anniversary for the festival.
The summer line-up comprises productions of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro (1786); Svadba-A Wedding (2011) by Serbian-Canadian composa Ana Sokolović; Prokofiev’s musical symphony for children Peter and the Wolf (1936); Mansfield Park (2011) by Jonathan Dove; The Diary of One Who Disappeared, a 1921 song cycle by Janáček; a concert of two pieces by Wagner, Siegfried-Idyll (1870) and Wesendonck Lieder (1862); the serenade Figures in the Garden (1991), also by Dove; and Flora (2022) by Anna Semple and Emily Pahlawan Collinson.
The festival runs from 12-20 August, with performances taking place in locations around Waterperry House in Oxford. Headlining the event is a new production of Mozart’s sparkling comedy The Marriage of Figaro, directed by Isabelle Kettle. Bertie Baigent, the festival’s music director, conducts.
The audience will be invited into the hustle and bustle of preparations for the wedding of Susanna and Figaro, gaining a revealing insight into the true nature of the relationship between upstairs and downstairs. The production features some of the UK’s most outstanding emerging operatic talent, alongside Waterperry Opera Festival’s 2022 Young Artists and the Waterperry orchestra.
Performances take place on the front lawn of the house on 12, 13, 13, 16, 18 and 20 August. The opera is sung in a new English translation.
Making its UK professional premiere, is a women-led production of Ana Sokolović’s virtuosic a cappella opera Svadba-A Wedding, directed by Rebecca Meltzer and conducted by Lada Valešov. Sung in Serbian, it tells the story of Serbian bride-to-be Miliça as she prepares for her wedding day, exploring the lives of six women as they learn how to navigate the transition from adolescence to adulthood.
This coming-of-age opera is performed in the amphitheatre on 18, 19 and 20 August.
Jonathan Dove’s Austen-inspired opera Mansfield Park returns to the festival following a national tour. Based on Austen’s novel of the same name, it tells the story of Fanny Price, sent to live with her rich uncle on his family estate.
This critically acclaimed production is directed by Rebecca Meltzer and will be performed on 12, 13, 14 and 16 August in the ballroom of Waterperry House.
Also making a comeback is Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf, directed by Guy Withers, Waterperry Opera Festival’s artistic director, and choreographed by Julia Cave. This interactive family-friendly production lasts just 30 minutes, making it ideal for younger viewers experiencing classical music for the first time. It combines music, dance and spoken word to immerse the audience in the beauty of nature.
The daytime performances take place at the lily pond, the ideal location of young audiences. It can be seen on 13, 14 and 20 August.
Taking place in the ballroom is a fully staged production of Janáček’s song-cycle The Diary of One Who Disappeared. Performed in Czech, it is directed by Guy Withers, with musical direction from Ashley Beauchamp.
This darkly passionate piece tells the story of a young man who becomes infatuated with an elusive woman, eventually throwing away his life to follow her. There are just two performances, on 17 and 19 August.
Wagner at Twilight is an evening concert of two of the composer’s non-operatic pieces, conducted by Bertie Baigent. Siegfried-Idyll was composed by Wagner as a birthday present to his wife Cosima after the birth of their son, Siegfried. The music depicts a forest scene, and later found its way into the opera Siegfried. Wesendonck Lieder sets poems by Mathilde Wesendonck, the wife of one of Wagner’s patrons.
Performances take place at Waterperry’s lily pond on 17 and 19 August.
Jonathan Dove’s Figures in the Garden, commissioned in 1991 by Glyndebourne to celebrate the bicentenary of Mozart’s birth, is a serenade composed to precede The Marriage of Figaro, with each movement developed from a musical idea in the opera. This production sees a collaboration between dance students from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance and young local musicians from Oxfordshire County Youth Orchestra.
It takes place at the lily pond on 12 and 13 August and serves well as a prequel to the performances of Mozart’s opera taking place later in the day on the same dates.
Finally, Flora is a new commission from composer and violist Anna Semple and dancer Emily Pahlawan Collinson. It is a multi-disciplinary work exploring gesture and femininity through music and dance, with the music largely improvised.
It will be performed in Waterperry House’s gardens on 18, 19 and 20 August.
Public booking for all productions opens on 11 April. See Waterperry Opera Festival’s website for details.
A new production of Mozart’s enduring comedy The Marriage of Figaro headlines the 2022 Waterperry Opera Festival.