Stowe Opera’s ‘Marriage of Figaro’ at Winslow Hall
In July 2012, the Stowe Opera Company will perform Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro in the grounds of Winslow Hall in Buckinghamshire.
The Stowe Opera Company was founded in 1995 by the renowned musician and conductor Robert Secret and originally performed in the grounds of Stowe School. The company’s repertoire has included Don Giovanni, Figaro, Don Carlos and Madam Butterfly and The Times described their musical standards as being: “A bit of a miracle.”
Winslow Hall itself is a perfect backdrop for such a performance and here the company will perform on six dates:
Saturday 21st July at 6.00 pm
Sunday 22nd July at 3.00 pm
Wednesday 25th July at 6.00 pm
Thursday 26th July at 6.00 pm
Saturday 28th July at 6.00 pm
Sunday 29th July at 3.00 pm
Each evening performance will have a 90-minute supper interval whilst the Sunday matinees will have a 30-minute interval. Tickets are £60 per person. For the comfort of the audience, the stage and auditorium will be covered by a performance marquee and seating will be tiered for optimum viewing.
Winslow Hall itself is a fascinating Grade I listed house that the architectural commentator Marcus Binney described as being: “A trophy without rival… The Rolls-Royce of English domestic architecture.” Built to the designs of Sir Christopher Wren, the property has variously been a school, an office for RAF Bomber Command and an antiques showroom.
Restored as a private house by Sir Edward Tomkins, the former British ambassador to the Netherlands, and his wife following their purchase of it in 1959, Winslow Hall was offered for sale in May 2007. It was rumoured that the former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his wife, Cherie, were to buy the house but ultimately it was sold to the former restaurateur Christopher Gilmour and his delightful Australian wife, Mardi.
The Gilmours, like previous custodians, generously allow the annual Winslow Show to take place each August opposite Winslow Hall and now with the arrival of the Stowe Opera Company, the building really is making it’s mark culturally also.
As Steven Berkoff once commented:
“A great opera house isn’t run by a director, but by a great administrator.”
Christopher Gilmour is indeed such a man and do I suspect that this will be a festival that should not be missed.