It is highly likely you have heard of Glyndebourne, the world renowned Opera Festival that is held annually in East Sussex during the summer months. There is also another Opera festival at London’s Arcola Theatre that you should have heard of too, perhaps Glyndebourne’s assertive cousin, that as the theatre website perfectly describes, produces the following:
Innovative adaptations of traditional operas. Unknown, rarely-seen or under-appreciated works. Brand new pieces from the most exciting up-and-coming composers, musicians and companies.
What is this festival? It is called Grimeborn. First launched in 2007, from the 4th-29th August this innovative showcase of new works will be capturing the audiences imagination for another year, whether an established opera fan or a newcomer to the genre. This variety of topics covered by the operas will appeal to a wide spectrum of ages and interest which makes this fringe festival such a must-see.
In particular, a rehearsed work in progress called The Queen and I sounds particularly promising. Showing for only two performances on the 23rd August, this new opera is based on the book by Amy Rosenthal with music and lyrics by KS Lewkowicz. It tells the story of the little known love affair that takes place between Queen Victoria and her Muslim servant, which was also her last, as she was in the latter stage of her life. The outrage of the relationship felt by the Prince of Wales, means he wants to commit his mother to an asylum for being mentally ill. This story sounds especially gripping, with forbidden love and heightened emotions to elevate the drama to boiling point.
With new productions of classics such as La Boheme and Falstaff at Grimeborn 2015 you can be sure old favourites will become new ones in no time, in fact they will practically be unreconigseable apart from of course the music and libretto! There really is even more of a reason to get excited about classic operas that you know are getting the direction and style that they truly deserve.
To find out more about Grimeborn and to buy tickets here is the link to the Arcola Theatre Website: https://www.arcolatheatre.com/whats-on/grimeborn