Archive for October 2009

Garden Opera — sad news

October 15, 2009

GardenOpRosinaA very sad announcement from one of my favourite opera companies:


The Trustees of Greensong Productions, the charity which owns and operates Garden Opera, regret to announce that they have decided that it is no longer financially viable for Garden Opera to continue its operations.  Two summers of wet weather in 2007 and 2008, combined with the recession, took a significant toll on our performance bookings for this year. Notwithstanding the reduction in salaries and fees to staff, singers and musicians, for which we thank them, and the generosity of friends and supporters, we are without reserves to sustain the loss suffered in 2008 and the substantial loss now forecast for 2009.  With no improvement in sight, we simply cannot afford to carry on and we will now effect an orderly and prompt run-down of our affairs.

The Trustees and Peter Bridges, who has run Garden Opera for the last 14 years, thank everyone who has been associated with the company: all our singers, musicians, directors, costume and set designers, back stage crews and many others; Lucy de Castro, who, as general manager, has so patiently sorted out all conceivable problems over the last seven years; our friends and supporters, particularly those who have helped us with donations; and, of course, our hosts who have been fantastic and without whom there would have been no Garden Opera.

Over the years, Garden Opera has brought a lot of fun and happiness (and good music) to a huge audience across the country and overseas, including a great Barber this summer which was really well-received. Furthermore, through our performances we have helped many of our hosts over the years to raise several hundred thousand pounds for their many different charities.
So, it is with considerable sadness that we bring down the curtain.

However, Peter has informed the Trustees that he would like to have the opportunity to re-establish Garden Opera in a new guise.  Should that prove to be possible, they wish him all good fortune.  

Ray Miles


9 October 2009

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Commiserations to Peter and to Lucy and to all the members of the company past and present, and thanks for some of the greatest operatic experiences ever.  Let us hope the phoenix will find a way to rise again.

Any millionaires out there??

More info on their website:

‘Tristan und Isolde’ at Covent Garden

October 3, 2009


Well!  The Royal Opera’s new production of Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde has really set the cat among the pigeons.  I couldn’t possibly comment myself, being closely involved with it (I wrote and edited the surtitles).

The critics’ reaction has been generally more than favourable (four or five stars) – the audience’s markedly less so (one seasoned witness said ‘I’ve never heard booing like it in the Opera House’)…

If you really want to see the fur flying, check out Charlotte Higgins’ blog on the Guardian website, and (especially) all the follow-up comments.  Most interesting.

Were you there?  What did you think?  Let me know — add a comment below.

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Please note — all views expressed on this site are my own (or those of other contributors or persons quoted) and do not represent the views or policy of The Royal Opera or any other employer or organisation mentioned.

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 photo (uncredited) stolen from Charlotte Higgins’s blog