A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Nevill Holt Opera, Leicestershire, 12th to 16th June
Though a newcomer to the country house opera scene, and outside the usual circuit, Leicestershire’s Nevill Holt Opera is a musical powerhouse set in the loveliest surroundings. The 17th-century stable-block of Nevill Holt Hall becomes an intimate theatre which hosts two productions each year. Mozart’s Così fan tutte is coming up, but the opener is Benjamin Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream—a deliciously funny take on the Shakespeare with dark undercurrents. Nicholas Chalmers conducts the Britten Sinfonia in a new, psychologically-driven production by Anna Morrissey, starring rising young artists.
Dead Man Walking
Welsh National Opera, Cardiff, 7th June
An opera about a nun and a death row prisoner may not sound like an obvious hit, but Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking is a contemporary classic, selling out all over the world since its premiere in 2000. The story of Sister Helen Prejean inspires a work steeped in the American South—bluesy, hot, sensual music that is at once original and disarmingly direct. Karen Kamensek conducts this one-off concert performance by Welsh National Opera.
Matthias Goerne and Antonio Pappano
Wigmore Hall, 23rd June
The Royal Opera’s Music Director Antonio Pappano turns accompanist for this recital, joining baritone Matthias Goerne, above—one of the great lieder-singers—for a concert built around Mahler’s Des Knaben Wunderhorn, a sequence Heine described as “the heartbeat of the German people.” The programme includes Shostakovich’s haunting Pushkin settings and Swiss composer Frank Martin’s Jedermann, which follows one man’s journey from morbid fear of death to restored faith.