Waterperry Festival Unveils 2023 Festival Lineup

By Chris Ruel

The Waterperry Festival has announced its 2023 lineup. The ten-day festival, which runs Aug. 11-20, features something for everyone, from children’s shows to grand operas.

Here’s what’s in store for audiences.

The festival will unveil a new production of “Carmen,” directed by Anna Morrissey and featuring Samantha Price in the title role, Xavier Hetherington as Don José, Matthew Durkan as Escamillo, Catriona Hewitson as Micaela, and Ed Danon as Zuniga. Bertie Baigent conducts. The opera will be performed in English.

A pre-show discussion, “Carmen: from Page to Stage,” follows.

Performance Dates: Aug. 11, 12, 15, 17 & 19, 2023

Opening day also features the festival premiere performance of librettist Alasdair Middleton and composer Jonathan Dove’s “Mansfield Park.” The show—back by popular demand—brings the audience into Jane Austen’s world, perfect for opera fans and the author alike. The opera is directed by Rebecca Meltzer, with Music Director Ashley Beauchamp at the piano.

The cast includes Flora Macdonald as Fanny Price, Phil Wilcox as Sir Thomas, Emily Gray as Lady Bertram, and Milo Harries as Edmund Bertram.

A post-show talkback “Jonathan Dove: Writing for Opera” follows.

Performance Dates: Aug. 11, 12, 13, 15 & 16, 2023

Family-friendly fare is offered with “Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes” featuring the tales of Little Red Riding Hood and The Three Little Pigs.” With a running time of under an hour and ideal for ages five and over, Lily Dybel stage directs with Aleksandra Myslek as music director. The show is a co-production with Opera Holland Park.

Performance Dates: Aug. 12, 13, 19 & 20, 2023

Also opening on Aug. 12 is Judith Weir’s “King Harald’s Saga,” based on the 13th-century Icelandic Saga Heimskringla by Snorri Sturluson. The one-woman show directed by Eleanor Burke features eight different characters in a tale about King Harald of Norway’s invasion of England in 1066. The site-specific performance takes place in the further grounds of Waterperry Garden.

The featured vocalist is soprano Harriet Burns.

There will be a post-show talkback entitled “The Making of King Harald’s Saga.”

Performance Dates: Aug. 12 & 13, 2023

Spend lunchtime with Peter Rabbit in Haydn and Potter’s “Peter Rabbit’s Musical Adventure.” This all-ages show features a string quartet and narration by Oskar McCarthy. Guy Withers directs.

Performance Date: Aug. 12, 13, 18 & 20, 2023

Classical music hits are on tap for the one-night-only extravaganza that is Waterperry Prom. The program includes music by Bizet, Mozart, Elgar, Puccini, and others performed by the 2023 Waterperry Festival Artists and Orchestra. Bertie Baigent conducts this informal concert with Guy Withers, Artistic Director and CEO of the festival, serving as host.

Performance Date: Aug. 13, 2023

The festival will stage a double bill featuring Händel’s “Acis and Galatea,” alongside Purcell’s “Dido and Aeneas.” Michael Papadopoulos conducts with Rebecca Meltzer (A&G) and Guy Withers (D&A) splitting directorial duties.

Vocalists featured in “Dido and Aeneas” include Bernadette Johns as Dido, Jerome Knox as Aeneas, Anna Cavaliero as Belinda, and Eleanor Sanderson-Nash and Shakira Tsindos as First and Second Witches respectively.

Featured vocalists in “Acis and Galatea,” include Ellie Neate as Galatea, Thando Mjandana as Acis, and Michael Bell as Damon.

Performance Dates: Aug. 16, 18 & 20, 2023

Presentations of Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” featuring contemporary dance are also on tap. Tess Jackson conducts.

Performance Dates: Aug. 18, 19 & 20, 2023