Tuesday, 24 July 2012
Summer at last
We seem to have emerged the other side unscathed! After weeks of unsettled weather, the final shower came, precisely as forecast, mid-afternoon on Friday 20th July, and by the evening performance we had complete calm and tranquillity in the Deanery Garden, except for the swifts furiously circling around. Saturday was even better with clear blue skies, and there was a sense of immense gratitude from the audience the moment they came through the gates that at last summer had arrived . Several commented that they had had miserable evenings at Glyndebourne, Garsington and Grange Park and so they seemed determined to enjoy the special Bampton experience. Both performances were wonderful – the double-bill had proved a challenge, but all the singers brought the two operas alive with confidence and skill, with glorious singing and dynamic acting. Mike Wareham’s revolving set worked a treat, taking us from the run-down French18th century workshop of Blaise, to Don Lopez’s gaudy 1930s Spanish villa , and finally to the grotto in his garden at night. Many in the audience, perhaps primed by the pre-performance talks, were fascinated by the several premonitions of Figaro to be found in L’amant jaloux and the garden finale cast its particular magic in the open-air setting, beautifully lit by Ian Chandler. We had enjoyed a special treat in the afternoon too, when four members of the orchestra gave a delightful concert of string quartets by Puccini, Humperdinck, Wagner and Grétry in the very special historic setting of Cote Baptist Chapel. A wonderful weekend. Thank you especially to our hosts at the deanery and to our many many kind volunteers who do so many essential jobs before and at the performances.