It was a mixed weather weekend at Garsington, glorious perfect English summer afternoon on Saturday - and cloudy yesterday. But even so yesterday the place looked classically beautiful, with the very English garden and outbuildings providing as elegant a "foyer" as any opera house could wish for!
But the opera is the thing - and a memorable performance on Saturday of Britten's last opera, Death in Venice, conducted by the definitive and peerless Steuart Bedford, was the finest offering of this year's Garsington Opera. The central performance by Paul Nilon has been rightly acclaimed, and the overall ensemble put together by the excellent Garsington team provides support of the greatest quality in every detail. William Dazeley impresses in his multiple roles as the Traveller etc.........another great feather in this distinguished baritone's cap.
Yesterday we had Richard Strauss' Intermezzo, a curiosity which had huge success at Glyndebourne in the 1970s and 80s, with Elisabeth Soderstrom and Felicity Lott successively taking on the central role of Christine. Garsington provided an excellent production by Bruno Ravella who managed to solve all the many problems caused by the episodic structure of the piece. It was a pleasure to hear it again - for the first time in more than 30 years.......and as always Garsington assembled a cast of strength down to the last little part, with striking performances especially from Sam Furness (Baron Lummer) and Oliver Johnston as Stroh. Mary Dunleavy was the last minute replacement Christine and Garsington is fortunate to have secured her - she saved the day with great distinction, and was a fine partner for Mark Stone's elegant and personable Robert.
Next and last stop - Cosi fan tutte on Wednesday. Meanwhile there is much family stuff to enjoy as my youngest daughter comes to the end of her primary education - sports day and a musical, to add to a Cadogan Hall concert last week.
This evening to the Garrick AGM - a different form of theatrical entertainment!