Michael Chance Countertenor
Michael Chance Countertenor

Announcing the 2018 season

17 January 2018
We are selling tickets fast for the next and 2nd Grange Festival in June and July 2018. The first season was hugely ambitious and terrifically successful. A total of five operas performed under the banner of The Grange Festival, four in the amazing theatre at The Grange, and one at The Wallace Collection in London in November. And in addition we also managed a brilliantly received performance of Verdi Requiem with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and Chorus (together with our own), with no fewer than 147 performers on stage at The Grange, and an unforgettable night of Rogers with both Hammerstein and Hart with the heavenly John Wilson Orchestra. And we put on our first international singing competition. For that we received almost 150 entries from 28 countries. It sounds breathless and exhilarating, and it was.

Dance comes to The Grange this summer for the first time. But, in fact, it’s not quite the first time because in November we had a sneak preview of the extraordinary Akram Khan and his company who showed us and 150 Hampshire sixth-formers a glimpse of his new world-touring show. You saw it first at The Grange ! This proved an eye-opening, mind-altering prelude to our own Dance production under the inspirational guidance of Wayne McGregor and Ed Watson from the Royal Ballet which opens our 2018 Festival. Queues round the block for this one. And our last performance, Candide (our way of celebrating Leonard Bernstein’s Hundredth year) has also proved a box -office hit. Our 3 operas aren’t doing too badly either, all miles ahead of last year in ticket sales so far, several weeks before public booking opens. They are Handel’s first smash hit (when he was 23) Agrippina; Rossini’s and opera’s most beloved comedy The Barber of Seville; and Mozart’s play-with-song, The Abduction from the Seraglio, (many Mozart lovers' secretly favourite opera).

There is so much which is crying out to be performed at The Grange, not just operas, but more and more dance, drama (who wouldn’t want to see Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night’s Dream there, for instance ?), concerts, both classical and jazz, and (my secret wish) a Christmas show with all the trimmings.

When I had to think on my feet and come up with a name for this new festival, it would have been obvious in many ways to be hip and trendy, and call it Art in Arcadia, or Opera works, it really does or something which would have established an immediate departure from our recent past, but which didn’t celebrate the place, our glorious setting in Hampshire, or allow us to do a wealth of live performance there, under the all-encompassing title of Festival. And festive is what we should always try to be, as well as entertaining, and thrilling, and transformative and memorable. I know of no highly regarded composer or performer who doesn’t want his or her work to be white-hot, edge-of -your seat stuff and world-beating in quality. Welcome to The Grange Festival.
Michael Chance

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