Country house opera 2023: what to book and when
Out of town or just up the road, opera from May to August is a perfect fit with gardens, picnics and mingling
Grange Park Opera booking is open now, with good availability at all performances. The love-themed season opens on 8 June with Wagner's Tristan and Isolde, followed by Puccini's passionate and dramatic Tosca, then Massenet's romantic Werther. The Theatre in the Woods at West Horsley Place is an easy drive out of London, and also accessible by train from Waterloo, and then it's a short taxi ride – or walk across the fields.... Click here for more details.
Also up and running is Glyndebourne Festival Opera, with three new productions and three revivals, and tickets are available. Pop down on the train from Victoria to Lewes, where a shuttle bus meets ticket-holders. New this year: Mozart's Don Giovanni, Handel's Semele and Poulence Les Dialogues des Carmelites. Plus revivals of Benjamin Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream, Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress and Donizetti's frothy L'Elisir d'Amore. Click here for details. Click here for best ticket availability.
Glyndebourne Festival Opera's classic production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. Photo: Robert Workman
On 4 April, booking opens for Garsington Opera on the Getty estate near High Wycombe. On the bill, Rossini, Smetana, Richard Strauss and Mozart. Trains from Marylebone to High Wycombe are met by a shuttle bus. Click here for details.
Only a day later, on 5 April, opera-lovers will be booking for Opera Holland Park 2023 (30 May to 31 August). The five productions include a new opera by Jonathan Dove, entitled Itch. Verdi's Rigoletto opens the season which promises to be terrific. Click here for more details.
At all these lovely and welcoming venues, dress code is a matter of personal choice, but most people favour dressing up. Picnics are welcome in the long intervals at Grange Park, Glyndebourne and Garsington, where patrons can book places under cover or head for free-to-use tables and chairs in the open air. Many people have an early picnic in Holland Park before OHP shows begin, with their shorter intervals.
Summer starts here!