After the musical heights and sheer glamour of Richard Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier, Garsington has the potential to hit gold again with three new productions, the revival of a big hit, and new community opera.
Opening the season is Monteverdi's Orfeo, often considered the first opera, first performed in Mantua in 1607 and still loved for its stately and serene score. The story is of Orpheus's descent into the Underworld, to retrieve his dead bride, Eurydice – a story that has fascinated composers for centuries since this first exploration, as English National Opera demonstrated with its four Orpheus operas in 2019/20.
Laurence Cummings conducts The English Concert, in John Caird's production. Ed Lyon sings Orfeo and Zoe Drummond sings Euridice. There are eight performances from 1 June to 3 July.
Natalya Romaniw, star of Rusalka in 2022, with Roderick Williams in Garsington's Eugene Onegin in 2016. Photo: Mark Douet
Next comes Mozart's bittersweet comedy, Così Fan Tutte. Bruno Ravello, who directed that wondrous Rosenkavalier, re-creates John Cox's production first staged in the old Garsington Manor. Italy at the outbreak of the First World War is the backdrop for a series of deceptions that part then re-unite two pairs of lovers, but with a shadow over the future.
Tobias Ringborg conducts the English Concert. Henry Waddington and Ailish Tynan as Don Alfonso and Despina lead the lovers astray. There are 12 performances, from 2 June to 20 July.
Garsington Opera was among the first companies to spot the enormous talent of soprano Natalya Romaniw, her Tatyana in Eugene Onegin in 2016 a landmark moment, followed by a spirited Marenka in 2019 in Smetana's The Bartered Bride. Now she returns again in the title role of Dvorak's Rusalka, as the water nymph who sacrifices her voice for the love of a prince on land. The wonderful music includes the much-loved 'Song to the Moon'.
Douglas Boyd conducts the Philharmonia Orchestra. Sky Ingram sings the haughty princess who usurps Rusalka. There are nine performances from 18 June to 19 July.
The Turn of the Screw at Garsington returns in 2022. Photo: Johan Persson
Benjamin Britten's The Turn of the Screw, based on Henry James's chilling novel, was a highlight of 2019. In a very welcome revival in 2022, Verity Wingate sings the young governess daunted by her unsettling new charges, with Robert Murray as ghostly Peter Quint and Susan Bickley as the housekeeper, Mrs Grose.
For Louisa Muller's five-star production, with Christopher Oram's atmospheric design, the Philharmonia Orchestra is conducted by Mark Wigglesworth. There are six performances from 2 to 18 July.
Finally, one of Britain's leading composers, Roxanna Panufnik, collaborates with a fellow Londoner, journalist, novelist and librettist Jessica Duchen, in Dalia, the story of a Syrian refugee. Dalia is given a new home in Britain, and discovers a talent for cricket. A roster of top professionals heads the cast of this community opera, among them soprano Nadine Benjamin, tenor Ed Lyon and bass-baritone Jonathan Lemalu.
Douglas Boyd conducts the Philharmonia Orchestra. There are three performances from 28 to 31 July.
It's a lovely season, featuring the best of four centuries of music. And if you can't wait till June, enjoy that amazing Der Rosenkavalier, streamed here on Operavision until 30 April.
Public booking is open. Ticket prices include a voluntary £70 donation
|What||Garsington Opera 2022|
|Where||Garsington Opera, Wormsley Estate , Stokenchurch, HP14 3YG | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Marylebone (underground)|
01 Jun 22 – 18 Jul 22, Five operas in repertory
|Website||Click here for more information and booking|