Life seems to have been both too frantic and too fraught to manage blogging recently, but now with a week ahead mixing rural frolics in Bampton (the annual Morris Dancing festival and of course the Jubilee) with scenery painting may permit a few postings. Today the bunting around the village square is miserably bedraggled as the rain pours down (did anyone tell the Almighty that there’s a hosepipe ban?), but Anthony Hall and I were dry and sheltered in the capacious barn of Andrew Hichens (you’ll know Andrew if you’ve bought tickets from us on the phone) as we worked on the rebuild of the set of The Marriage of Figaro in readiness for our Buxton Festival performances in July. This is, of course, the opera by Marcos Portugal, whose 250th birthday is being celebrated at Buxton this year with our three performances. The set from our 2010 production needs something of a facelift and revamp to make it suitable for the Buxton Opera House, and we are trying to get it finished ahead of work on the set for the Philidor/Grétry double bill. The photos show work-in-progress on the Countess's bed-chamber, and panels for the all-important wardrobe.
It always helps coming early in the alphabet, and the June edition of Opera Now which has just arrived through the letter-box happily lists us in the Worldwide Events Guide between Aix-en-Provence and Bayreuth. It’s nice to read that the ‘husband-and-wife team’ running Bampton is described as ‘indefatigable’ (well, you have to be when, on the 3rd June it’s necessary to light a log-fire at home in order to stay warm!) but, more importantly, that Bampton ‘continually surprises its audiences, breathing fresh life into little-known operas’. We certainly hope that many will be surprised by our little-known offerings this summer.