True to adventurous form, the Theatre in the Woods kicks offs with a rarely performed opera by Leoš Janáček, The Excursions of Mr Broucek. Broucek is a little man with big dreams, who is swept into adventures that include a trip to the Moon and a dip into a 15th century riot. The Czech composer's airy music helps these escapades take flight.
Tenor Peter Hoare sings the title role in David Pountney's production, with other roles played by Fflur Wynn, Mark le Brocq, Andrew Shore and Clive Bayley. Performances are on 9, 18, 26, 29 June and 7 July, at 5:45PM.
Next comes La Gioconda by Amilcare Ponchielli, an opera that when it opened at La Scala, Milan, in 1876 briefed unseated Giuseppe Verdi as the opera composer of the day. Set in Venice, it stars Amanda Echalaz in the title role, as the loyal daughter of a blind mother and faithful lover of duplicitous Enzo, sung by Maltese tenor Joseph Calleja. Stephen Medcalf directs and Stephen Barlow conducts.
Listen out for 'The Dance of the Hours', often heard outside the opera. Performances are on 11, 16, 20, 23 June; 2, 10, 13 July at 5:45PM.
Soprano Elizabeth Llewellyn sings Desdemona in Otello. Photo: Shirley Suarez
Verdi follows, appropriately, with Otello. Gwyn Hughes Jones takes the title role of the opera based on Shakespeare's play about enflamed jealousy. Baritone Simon Keenlyside sings the devilish Iago, with soprano Elizabeth Llewellyn as the wronged Desdemona and Elgan Llyr Thomas as Cassio, suspected of being her lover.
David Alden directs and Gianluca Marciano conducts. Performances are on 19, 22, 25, 30 June; 3, 6, 9 July, at 5:45PM.
Finally, Richard Wagner's churning love story, Der Fliegende Holländer – The Flying Dutchman – is sung by an impressive cast in three semi-staged performances. The great Welsh bass-baritone Bryn Terfel sings the title role, as a ghostly sailor condemned to drift on the high seas until released by love. Rachel Nicholls, who has just impressed with Wagner's Brunnhilde in English National Opera's The Valkyrie, is Senta, the young woman who takes pity on him. Tenor Nicky Spence sings Erik, Senta's faithful lover.
Wagner specialist Anthony Negus conducts, and there are two performances only, on 14 and 16 July.
While you choose your dates, enjoy Grange Park Opera's Gianni Schicchi, its new year gift, free online. Click here to view from 6 Jan 2022.
Operas are sung in their original language, with English surtitles. Public booking is open. Prices include a voluntary donation
|What||Grange Park Opera 2022|
|Where||Grange Park Opera, West Horsley Place, West Horsley,, Leatherhead, KT24 6AW | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Waterloo (underground)|
09 Jun 22 – 17 Jul 22, Four productions, with long dinner interval
|Website||Click here for more information and booking|