Longborough Festival Opera's 2015 season features two towering tragedies: Tristan und Isolde and Rigoletto and lifts the spirits with the more lighthearted Don Pasquale and Xerxes
Longborough stepped into the limelight with its regular Wagner productions and completed its Ring Cycle in 2013. This year the journey continues. Wagner interrupted his composition of the Ring at the end of Siegfried to write Tristan und Isolde, the tragic story of lovers who begin as enemies as Tristan, who has killed Isolde‘s lover, conveys her to an unwanted marriage. A magic potion which they drink in retribution turns out to bring not death but love and thus begins an affair which cannot but end in tragedy. Anthony Negus conducts, as with all the Longborough Wagner productions; Carmen Jakobi directs.
Don Pasquale, one of Donizetti’s most enduringly popular operas, is a sparkling comedy about an old man determined to marry in order to provide himself with an heir, since his nephew refuses his chosen bride. Needless to say with the aid of a crafty friend and a monster of a performance by a fictitious wife, all ends the way it should with suitable morals drawn. Director Alan Privett sets it on a 1930’s Hollywood sound stage, where the principal actors and the studio crew all have their private lives, as well as a job to do. The conductor is Thomas Blunt.
Verdi’s Rigoletto takes the season back to tragedy, exploring the boundaries of love and innocence, power and corruption. In a world where the ruthless win and the outsider pays the cost, the hunchback Rigoletto tries to keep his young daughter Gilda out of reach of his womanising boss. Rising young conductor Gad Kadosh makes his UK debut at Longborough in a new production directed by Caroline Clegg who sets it in America in the 20’s with the Duke as a corrupt millionaire CEO of a burgeoning corporation. It’s a world of post-war exuberance, decadence and glamour where the old is irreverently ridiculed and replaced.
And finally, Handel’s Xerxes, a witty, elegant and often hilarious commentary on love and power. The eponymous hero less than heroically pursues his brother’s girlfriend, jilts his fiancée and creates mad schemes to conquer the world. Everyone revolves around his unpredictable actions, trying to keep their own lives intact. Conducted by Jeremy Silver it is directed by Jenny Miller.
Longborough Festival Opera’s season opens on June 12 with Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde and continues with Donizetti’s Don Pasquale on July 3; Verdi’s Rigoletto on July 4 and Xerxes on July 25.