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The Beggars Opera © Patrick Berger 03 1

2018 playlist #13

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Let us take you on an audio tour through some of the landmark operas that we have hosted over the decades. 

Our opera programme this August features some real orchestral treats. Audiences can look forward to the renowned director Stefan Herheim's interpretation of Rossini's Cinderella, La Cenerentola, on 24-26 August, the Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord's take on the jukebox musical The Beggar's Opera on 16-19 August, a concert performance of Wagner's Siegfried on 8 August and of Englebert Humperdinck's Hansel and Gretel on 15 August, and a sleek-looking production of The Barber of Seville on 5-8 August. 

The Marriage of Figaro - which The Barber of Seville is the catchy sequel to - last came to us in 2015 and was one of two operas produced by Glyndebourne Opera at the very first International Festival in 1947. The other was Verdi's Macbeth, which we also gave new life to as part of our anniversary celebrations last year. 

This isn't the first time that we've hosted La Cenerentola either. In 1971, the iconic mezzo-soprano Teresa Berganza appeared in the opera's title role, with Claudio Abbadao leading the London Symphony Orchestra alongside, in what is now widely considered a landmark production. The recording that followed, released by Deutsche Grammophon in 1972, is also often lauded as one of the best. 

Teresa Berganza would later grace our stage again as the lead in Carmen, a role that she had repeatedly refused in the past due to her strong views on how the heroine should be depicted. Towards the end of his career as Festival Director, Peter Diamond at last persuaded her in 1977. She would go on to play Carmen multiple times and even be labelled "Carmen of the century".

We celebrated our 70th anniversary last year with a new rendition of Greek, Mark-Anthony Turnage's adaptation of the Oedipus myth set against a working-class community in a Thatcherite world, and with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra's much lauded concert performance of Die Walküre, the second installment to Wagner's ring cycle. This summer we will continue our exploration of Wagner's mythical world with the third episode, Siegfried

Other news

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James McArdle on tackling an epic

James McArdle makes a welcome return to the International Festival next month in Peter Gynt. We spoke to the actor about the epic production, preparing for such a demanding role and his top tips for Festival-goers this August.

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1927: Animating Roots

Paul Barritt, Co-Artistic Director of 1927, talks us through his animation process for creating productions like Roots.