Grange Park Opera's last season in Hampshire contains plenty of food for the soul with three operas and a musical
Sadly, after some eighteen years, this is Grange Park Opera’s last season at the Grange. It opens joyfully, as last year, with a musical. Lionel Bart’s version of Dickens’ Oliver Twist – the 1960s Oliver!, is packed full of singable numbers and opens with a celebration of Food, Glorious Food.
There is more jollity with Puccini’s La Fanciulla del West, Puccini’s Spaghetti Western which really does end with the lovers riding off into the sunset. In the Californian goldfields of the 1840s, Minnie, the golden-hearted barmaid, fends off the attentions of the sheriff. The one thing Minnie doesn’t have is someone to love, until a dark, handsome stranger walks into town.
But there is more serious fare and it’s no thin gruel: two powerful stories of star crossed lovers. In Verdi’s Don Carlo hopeless passion is played out against a backdrop of political turmoil and religious tyranny; a bitter father-son rivalry ignites when Don Carlos finds that his intended bride, Elizabeth, has been promised to his father, King Philip II.
Another heroine whose marriage is determined by a political deal falls for the wrong man courtesy of a fatal love potion in Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde, a portrait of unquenchable yearning and sexual passion. The final aria of the final act of Grange Park’s final opera at The Grange will be a soprano tour de force, the heroine’s dying aria, Liebestod.
But the Grange Park Opera story doesn’t end here. There will be more; the company is currently fundraising to create a purpose built opera house in the grounds of West Horsley Place in Surrey
The Grange Park Opera Season opens at The Grange, Northington, on June 2 with Lionel Bart’s Oliver! And continues with Puccini’s La Fanciulla del West on June 4. Verdi’s Don Carlo opens on June 18 and Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde on July 13.