Baroque Opera at The Vache.
With the cancellation of the main Glyndebourne season this year I’ve been deprived of my annual fix of country house opera. It’s a first-world problem – but now there is a first-world solution!
The Vache Baroque Festival, set in the grounds of stately home The Vache in the heart of the Chilterns, is opening its doors to the public on 4 and 6 September 2020 for the first time, with two performances of Purcell’s opera, Dido & Aeneas.
I first performed Dido as a boy in the early 1970s playing Belinda in a school production and was entranced by the elegance, beauty and emotional austerity of Purcell’s music and of course, British prep schools were in the vanguard of gender fluidity at the time…
The story has a contemporary resonance with royal relationships much in the news –“In an attempt to keep the peace, Dido, Queen of Carthage agrees to marry Trojan Prince, Aeneas. As feelings grow, a blissful future seems certain. But unbeknownst to the happy couple, lurking spirits threaten to tear them apart… “
If you haven’t been to an open-air performance before the drill is quite simple. The grounds at The Vache are open from 4 pm so bring a picnic (hampers are also available to purchase online), enjoy a drink from the onsite bar and explore the beautiful gardens before the opera starts at 7.15 pm.
The production is directed by critically-acclaimed 2007-2009 Jette Parker Young Artist Stage Director Thomas Guthrie, musically directed by Jonathan Darbourne and choreographed by Ukweli Roach, with members of his dance company Bird Gang performing. Dido & Aeneas will enchant and inspire in this modern take on a well-known myth.
Katie Bray, winner of the Dame Joan Sutherland Audience Prize at Cardiff Singer of the World 2019, leads the cast as Dido, Queen of Carthage. She is joined by Jolyon Loy (Aeneas), Betty Makharinsky (Belinda), Angela Hicks (Second Woman), James Geidt (Sorcerer), Esther Mallett (First Witch), Sarah Anne Champion (Second Witch), and Rory Carver (Sailor).
and for more information and to book tickets, head to the website: www.vachebaroquefestival.com
Friday 4th September, 7.15 pm with grounds opening from 4 pm
Sunday 6th September, 7.15 pm with grounds opening from 4 pm
Running time of Dido & Aeneas: approximately 1 hour with no interval.
The Vache, Vache Lane, Chalfont St. Giles, HP8 4SD