The 2018 Presteigne Festival opened on the evening of Thursday 23 August at St Andrew's Church, Presteigne, Powys, UK, with the Welsh premiere of Joseph Phibbs' exciting new chamber opera Juliana first performed, to rave reviews, at the Cheltenham Music Festival in July.
Laurie Slade's libretto brilliantly transplants August Strindberg's most celebrated play, Miss Julie, to a contemporary Swedish setting, confronting a number of topical issues head-on (including the divide between rich and poor, immigration and the transgression of class, social and sexual boundaries).
As in Strindberg's original, the action takes place during a single day - Midsummer's eve - when the night is short and passions run very high.
In Nova Music Opera's simple but stylish production, soprano Cheryl Enever took the title role, whilst Kerstin, the housekeeper, was sung by mid-Wales born mezzo Rebecca Afonwy-Jones. Baritone Samuel Pantcheff sang the role of Juan, a morally deficient immigrant servant who lives on the edge emotionally. Richard Williams directed and George Vass, artistic director of the Presteigne Festival, conducted the Nova Music Opera Ensemble.
Posted: 1 September 2018
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