Longborough Festival OperaNew Banks Fee, Longborough, Moreton-in-Marsh GL56 0QF Category Museums & Galleries, For Adults
Longborough Festival Opera started life in 1991 as Banks Fee Opera. After a series of chamber music concerts in the drawing room of Banks Fee we invited Travelling Opera, a small touring opera company to give two performances with a small orchestra on a temporary stage in the courtyard of the stable block. The original audience were mainly local supporters of the charities.
The opera evenings, with picnic interval, were very popular and we were begged to continue! Until 1998, our relationship was mainly with Travelling Opera, whose productions of well-known operas in English were much enjoyed by our steadily increasing audience. Over that period, Banks Fee Opera presented Cosi fan tutte, The Marriage of Figaro, The Barber of Seville, La Bohème, Don Giovanni, La Traviata, The Magic Flute and Carmen. Longborough Festival Opera was founded after our move to New Banks Fee, where we converted a barn into a theatre, using seats from the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, which were being discarded during the process of its recent refurbishment.
LONGBOROUGH AND WAGNER
If each of the British country house opera companies has its speciality, Longborough’s has to be its commitment to Wagner. LFO is the first privately owned opera house to have staged a full-length production of Wagner’s Ring Cycle. Having completed a production of the reduced version prepared by Graham Vick and Jonathan Dove for the City of Birmingham Touring Opera company, starring Sir Donald McIntyre as Wotan, Longborough started work on the full-length version of the Ring using an orchestra of 70 players, prepared by Lessing. Das Rheingold was produced in 2007 and repeated in 2008. It was directed by Alan Privett, conducted by Anthony Negus and designed by Kjell Torriset.
The same team went on to stage Die Walküre in 2010, Siegfried in 2011 and Götterdämmerung in 2012. In 2013, the ambition of being the first private opera house in the UK to produce the Ring cycle was achieved, with three complete cycles in June and July. As it turned out, these were the only fully-staged Ring Cycles to appear in the UK in Wagner’s bicentenary year. See the press page for reviews of these, which were very well received by audience and critics alike.
The next production of an opera by Wagner here will be Tristan und Isolde, conducted by Anthony Negus, directed by Carmen Jakobi and designed by Kimie Nakano.