Leonard and Rosalind Ingrams (Leonard being brother of Richard, founder of Private Eye) began Garsington Opera in 1989, in the garden of their home, Garsington Manor - once famous as the home of Bloomsbury socialite Lady Ottoline Morrell. The Ingrams sought to promote lesser-known operatic works alongside well-known classsics, presenting many UK premieres and often giving young, up-and-coming British opera stars their first big breaks. In time they established an educational programme, encouraging young people's interest in opera through work in schools (and Oxford Brookes University). Garsington village's own am-dram group - and the church - also got to use the beautiful manor gardens for their summer productions.
Sadly, Leonard passed away in 2005 and in late 2010, the tough decision was taken to relocate to Wormsley. Thankfully, the move isn't far - Wormsley is only 15 miles from Garsington and just off the handy M40 Oxford-London route. The short summer season (2 June – 5 July 2011) opens in the beautiful, specially-designed Opera Pavilion and includes the British premiere of Vivaldi’s La verità in cimento ('Truth in ordeal') - the 13th opera by the composer best known for his Four Seasons. This engaging tale is fraught with emotion and the score is filled with the sparkling arias and duets which the Garsington Opera audience has come to expect as standard. Rossini’s delightful Il Turco in Italia and Mozart’s The Magic Flute complete the season - all of which takes place in the new pavilion, specially designed for optimum comfort, great acoustics and perfect sightlines. Covered verandas, terraces and bars allow plenty of space for lingering over spectacular views of the 2,500 acre estate - and shows start early to allow continuation of the fabulous picnic tradition in the long dinner interval. Only now, you may take your fizz and sandwiches overlooking the deer park, by the lake or by the famous cricket pitch (or dine in the marquees catered by Jamie Olivers’ Fabulous Feasts) rather than under the dovecot with the backdrop of Wittenham Clumps on the horizon!
Garsington Opera's educational and community arm will continue in the Wormsley area.
For more info, history and all box office enquiries, visit www.garsingtonopera.org (Box Office: 01865 361636). See Daily Info's Opera listings for individual performance details and reviews, or click here to see any current Garsington Opera listings.