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Arcola Theatre announces 2019 Grimeborn Opera Festival

Grimeborn. Image by Idil Sukan

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

ARCOLA Theatre has announced the 16 productions that make up the 2019 Grimeborn Opera Festival, which runs from July 29 to September 7.

The festival, which is returning for its 13th successive year, features bold new versions of classic operas, rarely-seen and long-forgotten works, and brand new pieces from some of the most exciting up-and-coming opera artists.

£12 tickets are available for every single show in the season.

Following their smash-hit The Rape of Lucretia (winner of the 2019 Off West End Award for Best Opera Production), Julia Burbach and Peter Selwyn reunite for a thrilling new take on Wagner’s Das Rheingold.

Arcola produces the first London performances of Jonathan Dove’s acclaimed reduction since its premiere in the 1990s, with 18 live musicians from the Orpheus Ensemble and an exceptional cast of singers. It follows hot on the heels of Julia Burbach’s production of Die Walküre at Bordeaux Opera.

Music Director Peter Selwyn said:

“The Arcola is the perfect space for a contemporary look at the powerful curtain-raiser to the Ring Cycle. The audience will get to see the conflicts, the personal dramas and relationships very close up. They will be really able to get inside the characters and story, experiencing this powerful and thrilling music in the most direct way.”

Arcola Artistic Director Mehmet Ergen said:

“When the chance arises to experience a part of the Ring Cycle, it’s very rarely at these prices. Affordable tickets have always been key to Grimeborn, and to our belief that opera should be accessible to everyone. Its roots are in the streets, in the stories we share, and in the power of music to unite and affect us all. Grimeborn champions that power, and creates a platform for young and adventurous artists to wield it. I can’t wait to watch this year’s line-up with opera fans and first-timers alike.”

Classics are brought daringly into the 21st century by Opera Allegra, whose Violetta (July 29-31) investigates the psychological depths of La Traviata, and Baseless Fabric Theatre, who reimagine Strauss’ Die Fledermaus (August 6-7) for the modern day. Rossini’s dazzling comic opera Count Ory (August 13-17) is revived by Opera Alegría, while Ensemble OrQuesta present Rameau’s Baroque tale of love and obsession Hippolyte et Aricie (Hippolytus and Aricia) (August 13-17).

Over The Pond bring Bellini’s tragedy I Capuleti e I Montecchi (The Capulets and The Montagues) (September 2-4) to Studio 2, while the Arcola Participation Queer Collective make their Grimeborn debut with Don Jo (September 4-7), vividly re-interpreting Mozart’s iconic anti-hero through a queer lens.

Music and stories from around the globe are placed right to the forefront of the festival. Arabic and Western music is woven together by chamber orchestra Ruthless Jabiru in a hard-hitting look at worldwide violence against women; Verity Lane presents an avant-garde twist on traditional Japanese culture; while two productions – Scott Joplin’s Treemonisha (August 27-31) and Amy Beach’s Cabildo (August 29-31) – interrogate how American stories have been buried by nostalgia.

Brand-new and pioneering pieces include Sane and Sound (August 7), which seeks to demystify our relationship with delusions and hallucinations, and Noah Mosley’s critically-acclaimed operatic folk tale Aurora (August 23-25).

Two double-bills draw out the unexplored connections between familiar characters: the loss and longing of Hotspur/Pierrot (August 29 and September 1) and the tortured internality of Miss Havisham’s Wedding Night/12 Poems of Emily Dickinson (August 1-3). Irrational Theatre will stage a joyous trio of short comic operas by Samuel Barber, Peter Reynolds and Jacques Offenbach.

For full listings and to book tickets, visit www.arcolatheatre.com/grimeborn/.

Image by Idil Sukan.