A haunting future
RODERIC DUNNETT praises two recent productions
at newly restored Grange Park Opera
Grange Park Opera, which stages three productions each summer in the
Orangery of a crumbling manor near Winchester UK, once owned by the Barings
family, has achieved the near-impossible. By raising 3.5 million pounds
(around 5.5 million dollars) from a host of supportive donors -- the Carphone
Warehouse is prominent among them -- it has completed the transformation
of its auditorium, without intermission, in time for the current season.
Smart work by architect David Lloyd-Jones and builder Martin Smith has enabled
bow-tied punters, diners and picnickers to return for this year's triple
offering of Verdi, Britten and Cole Porter.
As last year, one of the three operas -- Verdi's La Traviata -
will be toured by Pimlico Opera, which conductor Wasfi Kani, the moving
brains behind Grange Park's success, also coordinates. Suffering a surfeit
of Traviatas, I plumped for the other two. Luck varies : the deluge
on the Cole Porter night was worthy of a mid-Atlantic monsoon; happily the
night I attended the Britten a band of 'heavy rain from Dorset' held off
till the moment the opera ended.
Arguably The Turn of the Screw, recently seen again at the Royal
Opera House in Deborah Warner's production, is also in danger of
being overdone, although a worldwide series of productions last season (Berlin,
Athens, Graz, Vienna) and this (Geneva, Chicago, Sydney) can have done Britten's
operatic reputation no harm.
Grange Park's was a production full of interest, and with a striking
twist at the end.
Copyright © 15 September 2002
Roderic Dunnett, Coventry, UK