Longborough Festival Opera announces 2023 programme, including final part of Ring Cycle

Wagner Götterdämmerung
29 May – 6 June 2023

Götterdämmerung marks the epic conclusion to Longborough’s new Ring cycle. All productions in the cycle are created especially for Longborough by Amy Lane, Artistic Director of Copenhagen Opera Festival, and Longborough Music Director and eminent Wagnerian Anthony Negus.

The Götterdammerung cast includes the talents of Lee Bisset (Brünnhilde), Bradley Daley (Siegfried), Rebecca Afonwy-Jones (Wellgunde), Benedict Nelson (Gunther), Julian Close (Hagen) and Catherine Carby (Waltraute). The chorus combines professional performers with a new community chorus of local amateur singers.

The full cycle of Der Ring des Nibelungen will be presented in 2024.

“Götterdämmerung is Wagner’s richest, maturest and most stylistically unified part of the Ring. Its profound command of harmony and rich thematic texture is truly awe-inspiring” – Anthony Negus, Music Director, Longborough Festival Opera

Donizetti L’elisir d’amore (The Elixir of Love)
20 June – 1 July 2023

Award-winning British-Swiss director Max Hoehn, conductor Alice Farnham (author of In Good Hands: The Making of a Modern Conductor, released in January 2023) and designer Jemima Robinson (Linbury Prize winner) present one of the most popular operas of all time, Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore.

The part of Nemorino will be performed by South African tenor Thando Mjandana, who recently won the Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Award at the Voice of Black Opera Competition. Returning to the Longborough stage are Jennifer Witton (Adina) and Haegee Lee (Giannetta) , both of whom starred in the festival’s production of Carmen in 2022.

“I’m thrilled to present this exuberant, joyful show at Longborough, with a cast and creative team who are sure to create a funny, feel-good night at the opera!” – Polly Graham, Artistic Director, Longborough Festival Opera

Monteverdi L’Orfeo
11 – 18 July 2023

Tenor Peter Gijsbertsen, winner of Glyndebourne Festival Opera’s John Christie Award, and the 2018 Nederlandse Muziekprijs, stars in the title role for Longborough’s production of L’Orfeo. Monteverdi’s much-loved score will be performed on period instruments by Venetian Baroque specialists La Serenissima, conducted by Robert Howarth and directed by Olivia Fuchs.

Many of the L’Orfeo cast came to Longborough’s attention early in their careers when they took part in the festival’s Emerging Artist scheme, including Frances Gregory, Rosie Lomas, Caroline Taylor, Rozanna Madylus and Neil Balfour. Longborough is delighted to welcome these singers back this season.

“It’s exciting to present one of the earliest operas ever written to Longborough audiences. Monteverdi’s music speaks directly to the human condition, travelling at lightning-speed across the centuries! Music Director Robert Howarth has so much experience in this repertoire, and director Olivia Fuchs offers a rich take on this fathomless portrait of love and grief. We’re thrilled to be welcoming back La Serenissima, Venetian Baroque specialists who will play Monteverdi’s meditative, psychologically forensic and beautiful score.” – Polly Graham, Artistic Director, Longborough Festival Opera

Purcell The Fairy Queen
29 July – 3 August 2023

This new production of The Fairy Queen is Longborough’s 2023 Emerging Artist production, also featuring The Longborough Youth Chorus. Longborough’s Artistic Director Polly Graham, uses the dramatic framework from Shakespeare’s text: combining words and music to present Purcell’s beautiful, life-affirming score. A newly commissioned genre-bending arrangement will blend Baroque with folk music, co-music directed by baroque violinist and composer Naomi Burrell, and composer and conductor Harry Sever, Longborough’s Ring Cycle Conducting Fellow.

“Purcell’s abundant semi-opera collides with Shakespeare’s much-loved comedy in this new production, which is being presented in a new folk inflected arrangement by baroque fiddle player Naomi Burrell and Longborough’s Ring Cycle Conducting Fellow Harry Sever. The band will be made up of harpsichord, strings, accordion, harmonium, percussion, lute, trumpet and more! An energetic and highly talented group of Longborough Emerging Artists make up an ensemble cast of 12, working alongside the outstanding Longborough Youth Chorus. This is a multi-layered paean to nature, dreamworlds and love.” – Polly Graham, Artistic Director, Longborough Festival Opera

Playground Opera: The Downfall of Don José
6 – 16 June 2023

Longborough’s Playground Opera production is back by popular demand this season. The project is part of the festival’s ongoing commitment to making great opera accessible to a younger audience, immersing them into the plots and music with participation and preparation. In 2023, Longborough will be touring a specially adapted performance of Bizet’s Carmen in local schools during the summer term.

“Playground Opera 2023 takes The Downfall of Don José back on tour in June, visiting local state primary schools with workshops for 450 children aged 10-11, and reaching an audience of 1,450 children aged 4-11. Bizet’s Carmen has been adapted to encourage children to delve deeper into the plot, understand the characters, and question the dodgy decision making of Don José. The children will rewrite the story, learn some of the choruses, and take part performing with the Playground Opera cast and musicians.” – Jessica May, Head of Learning and Participation, Longborough Festival Opera


Public tickets are on sale from Monday 27th February 2023.

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