Michael Chance Countertenor
Michael Chance Countertenor

Press release

The Grange Festival announces world premiere of a specially-commissioned orchestral version of Jonathan Dove’s Mansfield Park, commemorating the 200th anniversary of the death of Jane Austin

16, 17, 23 & 24 September 2017

The Grange Festival’s Artistic Director Michael Chance is delighted to announce the world premiere staging of a new orchestral arrangement of Jonathan Dove’s critically-acclaimed chamber opera Mansfield Park in September 2017.

This production of Mansfield Park puts down a firm marker for The Grange Festival’s desire to extend its work outside the festival season. The Grange Festival’s inaugural summer season, 7 June-9 July 2017, includes brand new productions of Monteverdi’s Il ritorno d'Ulisse, Bizet’s Carmen, Britten’s Albert Herring as well as a performance of Verdi’s Requiem and an evening devoted to the songs of Rodgers & Hammerstein and Rodgers & Hart with the John Wilson Orchestra. Mansfield Park, in September, is a welcome addition for the year, and the first world premiere of specially-commissioned work to take place at The Grange.

This newly-orchestrated version of Mansfield Park has been commissioned from Jonathan Dove by The Grange Festival to celebrate the serendipity of two significant milestones for Hampshire occurring in 2017: the 200th anniversary of the death of Austen, and the inaugural season of The Grange Festival in the heart of the county with what promises to be a highly entertaining musical staging of one of her best-loved novels.

Mansfield Park was originally written by Jonathan Dove to a libretto by Alasdair Middleton based on the novel by Jane Austen for a cast of ten singers with four hands at a single piano. The scale of this new version, with 12 musicians instead of piano, is ideally suited to the theatre of The Grange, and its setting in the magical estate hidden away in the Hampshire countryside, famed for its Greek revivalist architecture and overlooking an ornamental lake. It can be imagined as Mansfield Park itself.

The commission also allows a continued relationship between the works of Austen, one of the world’s most recognized and admired authors, and Jonathan Dove, one of Britain’s most successful living composers. This orchestration of Mansfield Park follows a year in which Dove’s The Monster in the Maze, a new community opera commissioned by the London Symphony Orchestra, Berliner Philharmoniker and Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, was performed under the baton of Sir Simon Rattle in three separate productions and was a finalist at the International Opera Awards.

The Grange will bring together director Matin Lloyd Evans and conductor David Parry. The youthful configuration of roles will allow the opportunity to cast some of the brightest and best of the newest vocal talents in this county, with full casting being announced in the Spring.

The Grange Festival’s Artistic Director Michael Chance said:

“I am so pleased that Jonathan Dove has agreed to orchestrate Mansfield Park for The Grange Festival. It’s such a perfect piece for our gem of a theatre. The setting and the conceit of a play within a play is a crucial part of Jane Austen’s story - in a house within the house which gives rise to a unique relationship between the opera and the company. My hope is that devotees of Jane Austen, of opera and of The Grange will all come to see what promises to be a highly entertaining musical staging of one of her best-loved stories.”

Nicholas Suffolk, Exhibitions and Interpretation Manager at Hampshire County Council, sad:

“We are delighted that The Grange Festival is staging the world premiere of Mansfield Park. The performances will form an important part of the Jane Austen 200 celebrations; a programme of exhibitions, performances, lectures and more, celebrating Hampshire author Jane Austen on the 200th anniversary of her death. We aim to bring national and international audiences to our county to celebrate Jane’s life in Hampshire, and partners like The Grange Festival is key to doing this. They make a valuable contribution to the cultural life of the county.”

Priority Booking for The Grange Festival is now open and audiences are encouraged to become a Friend or Founder to gain access to the tickets: www.thegrangefestival.co.uk .
General booking opens in Spring 2017.

For further press information, please contact:
Cécile Beauvillard Burman or Victoria Bevan at Albion Media
cecile@albion-media.com ■ 020 3077 4943 ■ 07527 490124
victoria@albion-media.com ■ 020 3077 4947 ■07917 764318

About The Grange Festival

The Grange Festival was founded in 2015 to continue opera at Grange Park in Northington. A magical estate hidden away in the Hampshire countryside, famed for its Greek revival architecture and overlooking an ornamental lake, The Grange has an award-winning theatre which is intimate yet flexible and known for its excellent acoustics.

The only opera festival in the country with a singer as Artistic Director, The Grange Festival is committed to bringing the highest standards of performance to audiences through a range of opera and theatrical work by working with world-class directors, musicians from the UK and abroad and creating the most exciting artistic collaborations. In the years ahead, The Grange Festival aims to make its work as accessible as possible through an ambitious programme of events and education work, which will utilise the theatre for more of the year, as well as extensive outreach work and a subsidised ticket scheme.


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