The Grange Festival’s 2021 season is set to start on Thursday 24 June 2021 with an exciting programme of opera, a concert staging of a musical and their first ever presentation of spoken theatre. Having had to postpone the 2020 programme, this summer’s festival will see the productions of Rossini’s La Cenerentola, Puccini’s Manon Lescaut, Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Lerner & Loewe’s My Fair Lady that would have been performed last summer, as well as a new production of Shakespeare’s King Lear. The Festival’s residency partnership with Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra continues with the orchestra accompanying nearly all productions during the 2021 season. 

Opening the season on Thursday 24 June is Britten expert Paul Curran’s heralded production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which was first seen in Valencia in 2016. English counter-tenor Alexander Chance sings Oberon with 2019 Grange Festival International Singing Competition prize winner Samantha Clarke as Tytania and James Platt as Bottom. Anthony Kraus conducts all performances. 

Following their witty staging of The Barber of Seville in 2018, director Stephen Barlow and conductor David Parry reunite for more Rossini. Their new production of La Cenerentola boasts a strong international cast led by Sicilian mezzo-soprano Josè Maria Lo Monaco who returns to The Grange to sing the title role of Cinderella/Angelina, with the young Maltese tenor Nico Darmanin as her prince, Don Ramiro. 

Francesco Cilluffo returns to The Grange Festival after his success in Falstaff in 2019. He conducts Puccini’s Manon Lescaut in a new production by Stephen Lawless which opens on Saturday 26 June. Having sung the roles of Alice and Ford in Falstaff, Elin Pritchard and Nicholas Lester now sing Manon and her brother Lescaut respectively, while Peter Auty performs the role of Des Grieux. 

The Festival’s first musical – Lerner & Loewe’s My Fair Lady – receives three concert performances (8, 16 & 18 July) and will be directed by Guy Unsworth and conducted by Alfonso Casado Trigo, who led the hugely successful Candide in 2018. After her Festival debut as Susanna (Figaro) in 2019, Ellie Laugharne shows her versatility as a singer by taking the principal role of Eliza Doolittle, while English singer and actor Richard Suart performs the role of Colonel Pickering. 

The Grange Festival will present spoken theatre for the first time with Shakespeare’s King Lear. Directed by multiple award-winning director Keith Warner, the cast is made up of leading British opera singers who, rather than singing, will enact Shakespeare’s words in a unique project especially for The Grange Festival. Sir John Tomlinson leads the cast in the role of Lear with Sir Thomas Allen as Gloucester, while Lear’s daughters are played by Susan Bullock as Goneril, Emma Bell as Regan and Louise Alder as Cordelia.  

Artistic Director Michael Chance comments: “The hunger for live performance is clear. We can all feel it. As we get nearer to opening the Festival when our theatre at The Grange will come alive again, we certainly expect further bumps in the road. But we are confident that 24 June will be a memorable day. We have not been idle during the Covid year: we have much better ventilation, completely new balcony seating, and five productions we know will electrify our audiences. Our welcome will be heartfelt”. 

The season brochure can be downloaded here

Public booking opens on 20 April at 10.30am. 

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