It is three years since they launched the cycle with Das Rheingold. At this rate, the first production will be looking dated by the time the tetralogy completes but it’s quite an undertaking for a company lacking the resources of the big subsidised houses. The achievement is all the greater considering Longborough gets absolutely no public grants.
The Cotswolds-based festival will open Die Walküre on 24 July, with just two further performances during the following week.
Jason Howard, who made his debut as Wotan in David McVicar's production at Opera du Rhin in Strasbourg, will reprise the role and Alwyn Mellor, who recently sang Tosca for WNO and will be Grange Park’s Isolde in 2011, makes her debut as Longborough’s Brünnhilde. As former pupils of Donald McIntyre and Anne Evans respectively, they bring a continuation of great Wagner singing to the event.
The production is conducted by Anthony Negus, a resident conductor at Welsh National Opera. He has worked at Bayreuth and was the legendary Reginald Goodall’s assistant for all of his last performances, many of which he conducted. He was assistant conductor to Vladimir Jurowski for Tristan and Isolde at Glyndebourne’s 2009 season.
Alan Privett directed Longborough’s 2007 production of Das Rheingold, which received ecstatic press reviews, and he returns for the second instalment. He is LFO’s resident artistic director and has directed many productions for the Festival.
Die Walküre is joined by new productions of Don Giovanni (a continuation of LFO's cycle of Mozart/da Ponte operas,which will end with Cosi in 2011) and Madama Butterfly, with the season opening on 17 June.
The opera house, which seats 500, nestles in the gorgeous village of Longborough near Moreton-in-Marsh in Gloucestershire. Further details at www.lfo.org.uk