Michael Chance Countertenor
Michael Chance Countertenor

Announcing the 2020 season

27 October 2019
Our aim is to whet your appetite and invite you into our world of dreams and passions. And when you have made your choices, and committed to your visits next summer, I sincerely wish that your hopes and desires will be richly satisfied.

I am thrilled to be staging our first Puccini: Manon Lescaut, his first great success. A heart-wrenching tale of passion and despair, starring two young singers who have already turned heads and ears on The Grange stage, Elin Pritchard (Alice in Falstaff) sings Manon Lescaut, and Samuel Sakker, a winner in our 2017 singing competition, returns as Des Grieux. Conductor Francesco Cilluffo galvanized the BSO so stylishly in Falstaff and undoubtedly will do so again. Stephen Lawless, a colleague of many years, will bring vast international experience to create a new production for us.

I was privileged to sing at Benjamin Britten’s last public appearance a few weeks before he died in 1976 and have enjoyed a long association with Aldeburgh and its Festival ever since. It gives special pleasure to be staging probably his most globally performed opera, A Midsummer Night's Dream, to coincide with the 60th anniversary of its first performance in Aldeburgh’s Jubilee Flail, exactly where I sang to its composer. Another longstanding operatic colleague, Paul Curran recreates for us his hugely acclaimed production made originally for Valencia opera house. Our chorus master since 2017, Antony Kraus, conducts. Hampshire school children will play the fairies, and the cast showcases new and established vocal talent of the highest quality.

There is nothing quite so likely to raise the pulse as a slow building Rossini aria, piling on virtuosic vocal display and madcap Italian idiom and gradually accelerating towards musical exhilaration. We heard such two seasons ago in the Barber, and, by popular demand both of audience and performers, we return, with Cinderella. I am pleased to welcome back many of the same team complemented by international stars, some appearing in UK for the first time.

We are proud to present three evenings of Dance@TheGrange curated by Wayne McGregor. One of the UK’s best loved national ballet companies under their new world-famous Director will appear alongside Studio Wayne McGregor. This is ‘quite something’ to be able to announce. I have no doubt that this will be one of the hottest tickets of the Festival. Classical and modern ballet and some incredible contemporary dance will take the breath away. We will give you the names as soon as we can.

And we offer two evenings of a 'bonne bouche’, if one of the best-loved musicals of all can be squeezed into that epithet. My Fair Lady in full symphonic form - orchestra and chorus on stage, with the principals playing and singing the drama downstage, will be memorable. I personally cannot wait.

We are hugely excited about the scale of our first community opera Jonathan Dove’s The Monster in the Maze which acts as the finale of our 2020 Festival. I look forward to telling you more about it.

Last year you came in great numbers (around 95% attended every performance) and we were showered with critical plaudits. It seems we are on a bit of a roll. I relish the prospect of seeing you all again next year, with even more of your friends, and relations. Let us all enjoy being the ‘touchstone of English summer opera’.
Michael Chance, CBE

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