The achievements and enterprise of Longborough Opera are now world-renowned, but we continue to marvel at what this tiny summer festival, nestling deep in the Cotswolds, manages to bring off year by year.
Libby Purves in her Radio 4 Midweek programme referred to the 500-seat theatre as a converted barn. When you get there, the whole rural aspect of the building has disappeared, with comfortable boxes, excellent stalls seating, and a pleasant foyer bar.
And the stage, tiny in width and depth, makes up for its limitations in those directions with a resourceful exploration of heights and levels in Longborough’s new production of Don Giovanni. Jane Bruce’s set-designs make use of a spiralling staircase, a balcony backstage above, and all kinds of visual tricks allowing singers to spill into the action from all directions.
The cast is uniformly excellent, though Nicholas Merryweather’s Don Giovanni does take a little time to develop. I wonder if his stove-pipe hat is an inhibition.
Gianluca Marciano conducts a deft and colourful orchestra (pity, though, that these strategic limitations prevented our seeing three different orchestras on stage at the end of Act One), Jenny Miller’s direction is economical and effective, and the whole impression is one of what this tremendous opera’s premiere must have been like at the tiny National Theatre in Prague in 1787.
Repeated Friday and Saturday (6.30pm). Details on 01451 830292.