Good news today for opera fans: Garsington Opera, long beset by location difficulties, has found a new home at last. It is the Wormsley Estate in the Chilterns. Wormsley is the Getty family's estate and houses, among other things, a famous cricket ground and a deer park. The plan is that from 2011 a special pavilion will be put up each year to house the operatic performances. Here's what it may look like (photo credit: Millennium Models):
Garsington, now 21 years old, has been searching for a new location for two years, since the untimely death of its founder, Leonard Ingrams. Its problems go further back, though, since some of its Oxfordshire neighbours used to take virulent exception to the sound of opera drifting over the leaves. Perhaps they would have liked to try the north London flat where we were living then, in which noise - take your pick of pop music, parties, car horns, road rage and someone leaving a TV on all the time next door - would usually occur all night, all year round. But hey, it's all relative.
The opera company's enviable reputation for performing unusual works starring some of the most gifted young singers in the country will now be able to continue. Here's a comment from Mark Getty, which suggests that its presence will be A Very Good Thing:
“We are delighted to welcome Garsington Opera for a summer season each year. I see Garsington Opera forming a central part of a vibrant cultural future for Wormsley Estate. It is also important to us that Garsington Opera will bring its terrific outreach activities to benefit schools and others in the local area with an interest in the performing arts. We are very pleased to be associated with a successful arts organization which enjoys such a high reputation for excellence in its field both nationally and internationally.”
Jessica Duchen is a music journalist and the author of four novels, two biographies and several stage works. She writes regularly for The Independent and BBC Music Magazine. Her latest novel, Songs of Triumphant Love, is published by Hodder.
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