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Red Letter Days

Rare, unusual operas, stunning historic settings, rural idylls and memorable journeys that take you off the beaten track: Opera Now’s team of correspondents bring you some opera festival highlights to fill your 2017 diary…


The inauguration of Grange Park Opera’s Theatre in the Woods, West Horsley, UK

Perhaps the most anticipated date in the British opera diary this summer is the opening night of Grange Park Opera at its new home in Surrey, less than an hour from central London. The Festival launches its first season in its new purpose-built opera house in the gloriously bucolic surroundings of West Horsley Place, a splendid Queen Anne mansion, and former home of the Duchess of Roxburghe. Opening night sees a new staging by Peter Relton of Puccini’s Tosca, with starry tenor Joseph Calleja as the ardent political revolutionary Cavaradossi and the thrillingly dramatic Russian soprano Ekaterina Metlova as Tosca.

Other offerings in this inaugural season include Katie Mitchell’s classic production of Janácˇek’s Jenuofa (originally seen at Welsh National Opera in 1998) and a new staging by Stephen Medcalf of Wagner’s Die Walküre, with the forthright and fearless American soprano Jane Dutton leading the Valkyries as Brünnhilde.

8 June to 15 July


Opening night: André Campra’s Le Carnaval de Venise at the Boston Early Music Festival, USA

The Boston Early Music Festival takes its approach to authenticity seriously when it comes to the staging of Baroque and Renaissance operas, presided over by director-in-residence Gilbert Blin. Boston’s productions are lavish entertainments, with elaborate sets, elegant period costumes and magical stage effects.

This year, the Grammy-winning Festival presents a new production of Le Carnaval de Venise at Boston’s Cutler Majestic Theatre. Among the most exuberant of André Campra’s opulent and innovative opéra-ballets, this 1699 work follows four star-crossed lovers as they experience the delights of the Carnival season in Venice, including a brilliantly realised ‘opera within an opera’ on the myth of Orpheus. With its cast of 20 soloists, Capra’s confection combines the elegance of French 17th-century dance with the boisterous hilarity of Italian commedia dell’arte.

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About Opera Now

Christophe Rousset celebrates a quarter century at the forefront of the Early Music scene with Les Talens Lyriques; Sir John Eliot Gardiner takes Monteverdi’s three surviving operas on tour around the world; and our guide to the brightest and best opera festivals of 2017. Plus, remembering the velvet voice of Swedish tenor Nicolai Gedda; individuality and imagination in the songs of Arthur Sullivan; Debussy’s ravishing Pelléas lets down its hair at Garsington; American baritone Scott Hendricks shares his love of playing bad boys; the art of the librettist; British conductor Nicholas Chalmers; and an 80th birthday tribute to Grace Bumbry.