Garsington Opera has announced a special Beethoven weekend of music and poetry exploring the themes of tyranny, justice and freedom from oppression is planned to mark the 100th anniversary of the First World War on 5th – 6th July.
Peace in Our Time? will open with a conversation, hosted by James Naughtie with Oxford historian Professor Margaret MacMillan, writer Miranda Carter and Jeremy Paxman, it will be followed by a performance of Beethoven’s only opera, Fidelio.
World famous cellist Steven Isserlis will give a recital of cello sonatas by Beethoven and Frank Bridge (written in 1914) that will be interspersed by readings of war poetry, read by Samuel West, including recently discovered unpublished poems by Siegfried Sassoon (including one addressed to Beethoven).
Renowned singer Ann Murray will also give a masterclass with young Garsington Opera singers and the weekend also features tours of the Getty Library and a special cricket match with England Women’s X1 vs an international celebrity team.
The weekend’s highlight is the first ever symphony concert in the Opera Pavilion and will feature Beethoven’s incidental music to Goethe’s tragedy Egmont and Schoenberg’s visceral A Survivor from Warsaw. Both works will be narrated by Samuel West.
The evening culminates with Beethoven’s Symphony no 9 in D minor. Douglas Boyd conducts the Garsington Opera Orchestra and Chorus with Natalya Romaniw, Victoria Simmonds, Paul Nilon and Matthew Rose as soloists..
“Beethoven has the power to express every emotion of the human spirit,” says Douglas Boyd, Artistic Director of Garsington Opera. “I feel that as well as the overwhelming emotional appeal of his music, there are underlying messages of freedom, justice and, ultimately, love that permeate his work.
“The ending of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with Its universal message of hope for a better world is very relevant to the centenary of the First World War.”
Garsington Opera was founded in 1989 by the late Leonard Ingrams and his wife Rosalind at Garsington Manor, near Oxford. Following Leonard’s untimely death, Garsington Opera moved to the Wormsley Estate, home of the Getty family, in 2011.
The Opera gives performances of great artistic quality in a setting of extraordinary natural beauty. Performances take place in the spectacular Opera Pavilion, which sits within the rolling landscape of the Chiltern Hills, less than an hour from London.
Garsington Opera’s 25th anniversary season opens on 6th June with three productions – the British premiere of Offenbach’s sparkling comedy Vert-Vert, Janáček’s 20th century masterpiece The Cunning Little Vixen and Fidelio.
• Tickets from www.garsingtonopera.org telephone 01865 361636
First published on the Charley’s War web site