This year’s Aldeburgh Festival marks the event’s golden jubilee with two important productions of Britten operas, new works, and modern classics. Like the country-house opera seasons at Glyndebourne, Garsington and Grange Park, the Aldeburgh Festival is a must for Londoners who like to combine the highest quality music with a dose of fresh air.
Highlights this year are the 50th anniversary production of Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the opera with which in 1967 he opened the radical Snape Maltings Concert Hall, focal point of the festival, and a beautiful venue surrounded by atmospheric landscape. This production starts Iestyn Davies (counter-tenor) as Oberon, with Sophie Bevan (soprano) as Tytania, Matthew Rose (bass) as Bottom. The opera is directed and designed by Netia Jones, who has a gift for complementing sound with visual affects. There are four performances (9,11,12 and 14 June).
Also from the heart of the 20th-century opera repertoire, Britten’s Billy Budd will be performed in a concert staging (24,25 June) of Opera North’s hugely successful 2016 production, with Roderick Williams (baritone) as the innocent seafarer, Brindley Sherratt as his nemesis and Alan Oke as his captain, torn between human kindness and duty.
There will be 13 world premieres, including a new work for soprano and ensemble by Oliver Knussen (23 June), featuring the dynamic and inventive soprano Claire Booth.
The exciting new conductor of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Mirga Gražinytè-Tyla, makes her Aldeburgh debut (17 June) with the overture that Britten wrote for the opening of the venue, The Building of the House, Beethoven’s Symphony No 5 and the UK premiere of the Viola Concerto by the German composer Jörg Widmann. The following night (18 June) the same forces perform Stravinsky’s scintillating Petrushka.
The sought-after Widmann, whose compositions also helped launch the spectacular new Elbphilarmonie in Hamburg in January, is himself the clarinet soloist in the UK premiere of Three Shadows Dance (11 June).
Other highlights are a performance in a nearby house of Poulenc’s startling piece of telephone music theatre, La Voix Humaine, and there are many, many chamber music events.
The Aldeburgh Festival is a two-hour drive out of London and trains go from Liverpool Street Station to Saxmundham, a few minutes from Snape Maltings, the principal venue.
General booking opens at 00.01, 14 February. Click here for more details of events and booking.
|What||Aldeburgh Festival, Aldeburgh|
|Nearest tube||London Liverpool Street (overground)|
09 Jun 17 – 25 Jun 17, Times vary
|Price||£0 - £TBC|
|Website||Click here for more information and booking|