In Garsington Opera's 2016 season Tchaikovsky, Rossini and Mozart offer protagonists who make vows with life-changing consequences.
Promises - declarations of intent, pledges. Courageous and dangerous. Tatyana, a romantic country girl who yearns for more than the routine of provincial family life pledges her love to the glamorous visitor from Moscow in an impulsive and passionate letter. Unfortunately he is not impressed and the letter sets off an inexorable and tragic chain of events. In Eugene Onegin Tchaikovsky’s own pain, frustration and loss informed an opera about unfulfilled love.
Rossini’s heroine is a young woman of independent spirit, resourcefulness and many skills. Written when he was just 21, L’italiana in Algeri combines hilarity and a touch of the surreal as Isabella adventurously searches in foreign lands for the man to whom she has promised her heart. Shipwrecked in Algiers, she is at the mercy of the governor, who, bored with his long-suffering wife, wants a new Italian one. But he has met his match. Isabella outwits him and rescues her beloved Lindoro along the way.
Mozart’s twelfth opera, written when he was 24, has been called his first masterpiece. His protagonist Idomeneo is a man who battles with the consequences of a rash promise to the Gods when he is saved from drowning at sea. He vows to sacrifice the first person he sees when he reaches home – who turns out to be his son, Idamante. A terrible struggle ensues between paternal love and a deadly vow, complicated by the anguished love triangle between Idamante and two princesses, one an enemy captive.
In 2015, Garsington Opera joined with the RSC to create A Midsummer Night’s Dream. This year they offer a different kind of contrast, partnering with ballet company Rambert to produce Haydn’s oratorio The Creation. With a depiction of chaos, a thrilling choral sunburst of 'Let there be light’, through musical illustrations of the first rain and clouds, animals, birds and fish, to Adam and Eve’s rapturous hymn of praise for their newly made world, it is the story of the creation of the universe, based on the versions in Genesis and Milton’s Paradise Lost.
The Garsington Opera season opens on June 3 with Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin and continues with Rossini’s L’italiana in Algeri on June 4 and Mozart’s Idomeneo on June 19. Haydn’s The Creation opens on July 14.