Cavalli rarity to receive its UK premiere at the 2017 Glyndebourne Festival

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  • The 2017 Glyndebourne Festival will open with the UK’s first ever production of Cavalli’s Hipermestra, directed by Graham Vick and conducted by baroque specialist William Christie.
  • The season also includes the world premiere of a new opera based on Shakespeare’s Hamlet composed by Brett Dean with a libretto by Matthew Jocelyn. The production, directed by Neil Armfield, will transfer directly to the 2017 Glyndebourne Tour.
  • Prominent German director Claus Guth will make his Glyndebourne debut directing the third new production of the 2017 Festival, Mozart’s La clemenza di Tito.
  • Revivals of La traviata, Don Pasquale and Ariadne auf Naxos complete next summer’s Festival season.

The UK’s first production of Hipermestra, a rarely seen opera by the influential baroque composer Francesco Cavalli, will open the 2017 Glyndebourne Festival.

Glyndebourne is preparing a new edition of the work in close collaboration with conductor William Christie, a pioneer in the rediscovery of baroque music who will conduct the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. The opera will be directed by Graham Vick; his first new staging for Glyndebourne in 17 years.

Hungarian soprano Emöke Baráth makes her UK debut in the title role with Italian countertenor Raffaele Pe making a Glyndebourne debut as Linceo. Portuguese soprano Ana Quintans, who performed the role of Cupid in Hippolyte et Aricie at the 2013 Glyndebourne Festival, is cast in the role of Elisa, and British tenor Benjamin Hulett, who played Jonathan in the 2015 Glyndebourne Tour production of Saul, will perform the role of Arbante.

Hipermestra, based on the tale of Hypermnestra from Greek mythology, premiered in 1658 but after 1680 was not staged again until its modern premiere at the Early Music Festival in Utrecht in 2006. Glyndebourne’s production will be the first since then and marks the latest chapter in the company’s distinguished history with the operas of Cavalli – the company’s stagings of L’Ormindo (1967) and La Calisto (1970) in arrangements by Raymond Leppard were major influences in the revival of interest in the composer.

Conductor William Christie said: “It was almost 50 years ago that Glyndebourne first introduced Francesco Cavalli, a completely forgotten composer, with two of his works, L’Ormindo and La Calisto. The effect on the opera world was nothing short of extraordinary. Conducted by Leppard with outstanding singers including Janet Baker, Ileana Cotrubas and Richard Van Allan, these works established Cavalli as a great composer of opera and reaffirmed Glyndebourne’s role as a place of discovery. After so many years I’m happy to take up this extraordinary beginning and continue the ‘Cavalli tradition’ at Glyndebourne with a new production of Hipermestra, one of his best works. Times have changed and I am proud to be part of a new Cavalli wave, more in keeping with the historical performance school that is doing so much to continue the evolution of early music. I hope that our Hipermestra will have as much to say to today’s audience as its predecessors had to say so many years ago.”

Another highlight of the 2017 Festival will be the world premiere of a new opera based on Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Commissioned to coincide with the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare in 2016, Hamlet is the work of Australian composer Brett Dean and Canadian librettist Matthew Jocelyn. It will be the sixth world premiere presented at the Glyndebourne Festival in its 82 year history and is part of the Shakespeare400 campaign, coordinated by King’s College London. Visit Shakespeare400.org.

Hamlet composer Brett Dean, said: ‘‘The operatic potential of Hamlet is huge: the themes of life and death, love and betrayal have opera written all over them. Even the fact that Hamlet is a thinker, a man given to self-awareness and self-appraisal, lends itself well to opera. The play provides frozen moments for him to express feelings; built-in ‘aria moments’. There’s a lot of humour in the piece too, as always in Shakespeare, and the wonderful way in which Matthew is shaping the text has been deeply inspiring.’

Hamlet will be directed by the Australian director Neil Armfield, who staged Dean’s acclaimed first opera Bliss in 2010. Conductor Vladimir Jurowski returns to Glyndebourne for the first time since completing his tenure as Music Director to conduct the London Philharmonic Orchestra.

A cast of some of the finest singing actors of the moment will perform in the premiere, including British tenor Allan Clayton as Hamlet, British mezzo-soprano Sarah Connolly in the role of Gertrude and the legendary British bass John Tomlinson as Ghost of Old Hamlet. The Canadian soprano Barbara Hannigan, a strong advocate of contemporary music, will make her Glyndebourne debut as Ophelia.

The third and final new production of the season is Mozart’s La clemenza di Tito and will mark the Glyndebourne debut of the prominent German director Claus Guth, a frequent guest at top European houses including Bayreuth, Salzburg Festival, Theater an der Wien and La Scala.

Glyndebourne’s Music Director Robin Ticciati will conduct the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment for only the second ever staging of the opera at Glyndebourne. The distinguished Australian lyric tenor Steve Davislim makes his Glyndebourne debut in the title role alongside British lyric mezzo-soprano Alice Coote (Vitellia), American mezzo-soprano Kate Lindsey (Sesto) and American soprano Joélle Harvey (Servilia).

Among the productions being revived for the 2017 Glyndebourne Festival is Tom Cairns’s 2014 staging of Verdi’s La traviata, which will receive two performance runs next summer. Canadian soprano Joyce El-Khoury shares the role of Violetta with Russian soprano Kristina Mkhitaryan, both making Glyndebourne debuts, while Alfredo is performed by Brazilian tenor Atalla Ayan and American tenor Zach Borichevsky. The powerful Greek baritone Dimitri Platanias makes his Glyndebourne debut as Giorgio Germont, a role he shares with Russian baritone Igor Golovatenko who made a notable debut as Severo in the 2015 Glyndebourne Festival production of Poliuto.

Katharina Thoma’s 2013 Glyndebourne Festival production of Richard Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos returns with Norwegian soprano Lise Davidsen, who won first prize at the 2015 Operalia competition, making her UK debut as Ariadne. There are Glyndebourne debuts from American tenor AJ Glueckert as Bacchus, American mezzo-soprano Angela Brower as Composer and American soprano Erin Morley as Zerbinetta. The distinguished British baritone Thomas Allen returns in the role of Music Master.

Cornelius Meister, Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra, makes his Glyndebourne debut conducting the London Philharmonic Orchestra.

Completing the season is Mariame Clément’s elegant production of Donizetti’s Don Pasquale, first seen on the 2011 Glyndebourne Tour. A dynamic young cast promises auspicious Glyndebourne debuts from Italian baritone Renato Girolami in the title role, Moldovan baritone Andrey Zhilikhovsky as Malatesta and the Cuban-American soprano Lisette Oropesa as Norina. American tenor Andrew Stenson, who performed the role of Brighella in the 2013 Glyndebourne Festival production of Ariadne auf Naxos, takes the role of Ernesto.

Glyndebourne Tour 2017

Brett Dean’s new Hamlet will transfer directly to the 2017 Glyndebourne Tour with a new cast following its premiere at the 2017 Glyndebourne Festival.

Also touring are revivals of Annabel Arden’s production of Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia, which premieres at the 2016 Glyndebourne Festival later this month, and Nicholas Hytner’s popular 2006 production of Mozart’s Così fan tutte.

Following three weeks of performances at Glyndebourne, the Tour will visit Canterbury, Norwich, Milton Keynes, Woking and Plymouth.

Founded in 1968, the Glyndebourne Tour is a showcase for emerging artists and allows Glyndebourne to present its work to a wider audience. Casting for the 2017 Tour will be announced later this year.

Education work

In 2016 Glyndebourne is marking 30 years of pioneering education work. Among the events to mark the anniversary is the launch of two new awards for gifted young singers, the winners of which will be announced this autumn.

Formed in 1986, under the leadership of Katie Tearle, with the initial aim of complementing its touring activities, Glyndebourne’s education department has expanded to deliver a year-round programme of work that seeks to enrich the lives of as many people as possible through opera.

Among the projects in 2017 is a third incarnation of Glyndebourne Academy, a talent development project for gifted young singers who face barriers to following a standard path towards music college or a professional singing career.

A major singing project with SoundCity involving secondary schools from across Brighton and Hove will culminate in a concert at Glyndebourne in May 2017 with Brighton Youth Orchestra.

Performances for Schools return as part of the 2017 Glyndebourne Tour offering schools subsidised tickets to see Così fan tutte. And in his third year in post, Glyndebourne’s Young Composer-in-Residence, Lewis Murphy, will premiere his first main stage youth opera for Glyndebourne next autumn. The opera will be performed by members of Glyndebourne Youth Opera aged 9-19.