Raqib Shaw to exhibit new work at the 2016 Glyndebourne Festival

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An exhibition of new work by Raqib Shaw will be displayed at the 2016 Glyndebourne Festival, which opens for public booking on 7 March.

In the second year of White Cube at Glyndebourne, the London-based, Kashmiri born artist has created three new paintings based on two of the operas at the 2016 Festival – Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg and Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

A passionate fan of opera, Shaw is known for his gloriously opulent paintings which suggest a fantastical world full of intricate detail, rich colour, and jewel-like surfaces.

“Glyndebourne has always had a special place in my heart since I first visited as a student,” he said. “This summer I’m delighted to present a suite of paintings inspired by this picturesque setting and the current programme of wonderful operas and spectacular sets, which I have always loved.”

Andrea Schlieker, Director of Commissions and External Projects, White Cube and curator of White Cube at Glyndebourne, added: “Raqib Shaw’s work is the perfect fit for Glyndebourne. Taking his cue from productions in this year’s Festival, the three new paintings will fuse the opera’s narrative with the special Glyndebourne setting, all delivered in Raqib Shaw’s characteristic magical and magnificent style.”

The exhibition will be housed in a temporary gallery designed by London-based architects Carmody Groarke and shortlisted for the Architects’ Journal 2016 Small Projects Award.

Peter Hall’s iconic production of Benjamin Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, from which Shaw is taking inspiration, is one of two operas based on Shakespeare plays appearing at the 2016 Glyndebourne Festival, as Glyndebourne joins arts and culture organisations in marking the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare. The second is a new production of Berlioz’s Béatrice et Bénédict directed by Laurent Pelly and conducted by Glyndebourne’s Music Director Robin Ticciati.

American mezzo-soprano Elizabeth DeShong, who will perform the role of Hermia in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, said: “Returning to Glyndebourne is an honour on so many levels. Marking the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death at a British opera festival, and one with such a unique connection to Benjamin Britten, is thrilling. Having had such a marvellous time at Glyndebourne in Peter Hall’s La Cenerentola in 2012, I am eagerly anticipating the magic that his A Midsummer Night’s Dream will bring to audiences and artists alike. This definitely qualifies as a checkmark on the career bucket list!”

A Midsummer Night’s Dream will also provide the inspiration for a Glyndebourne Youth Opera performance featuring new compositions from Glyndebourne’s Young Composer in Residence, Lewis Murphy.

Shakespeare has played a role in every decade of Glyndebourne’s history. This history will be explored through an archive exhibition celebrating all of the Shakespeare-inspired works that have appeared on the Glyndebourne stage including Macbeth, Falstaff, Otello and The Fairy Queen.

Gus Christie, Executive Chairman of Glyndebourne, said: “Like many arts organisations, Glyndebourne was keen to celebrate the legacy of William Shakespeare in 2016. His work has inspired many operas, some of which feature at some very important moments in Glyndebourne’s history. One example that comes to mind is Glyndebourne’s staging of Macbeth at the inaugural Edinburgh Festival, the conception of which Glyndebourne was closely involved with. The production also has a special place in the Christie family history as my father Sir George Christie, then aged nine, performed the small role of Fleance in that production. We’re delighted to be part of the worldwide celebrations taking place this year.”

Commemorations continue in 2017 with the world premiere of a new commission based on Hamlet, composed by Brett Dean, with libretto by Matthew Jocelyn.

All of Glyndebourne’s planned Shakespeare events are part of the Shakespeare400 campaign, coordinated by King’s College London. Visit Shakespeare400.org

The rest of the 2016 Festival line-up consists of a new production of Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia directed by Annabel Arden and revivals of Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen, Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro and Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg.

The Glyndebourne Festival will once again be available on stage, on screen and online as part of Glyndebourne’s efforts to make its operas available to broad audiences. Three Festival productions will be screened in cinemas UK-wide and broadcast for free online in partnership with Telegraph Media Group.

Public booking for the 2016 Festival opens on Monday 7 March. The Festival runs from 21 May to 28 August, featuring international opera stars including Gerald Finley, Alessandro Corbelli, Danielle de Niese and Stephanie d’Oustrac.