Orchestra & Chorus
Garsington Opera Orchestra
The Garsington Opera Orchestra is an integral component of our productions each season. Providing the artistic core of our performances, many players have been with us for over twenty years.
The orchestra came together in 1993 as an amalgam of the Guildhall String Ensemble, with an additional team of wind and brass players. From this developed a loyal orchestra of players whose commitment and high calibre we value greatly. The sense of chamber music they bring to our productions, their innate ability to adapt to every style of music from Mozart to Janáček, and the creation of a seamless partnership with each conductor have been invaluable to the success of our performances.
"After almost twenty years playing at Garsington Manor, uprooting to Wormsley a few years ago felt like a risky move. Would the magic of the old setting get lost in translation? Garsington at Wormsley now feels comparatively luxurious, and we are better sheltered than ever (though I still warm my fingers on the hot water bottle on my lap) and what made Garsington special to me as a player hasn't changed: the commitment of all involved to produce a rich diversity of operas to the highest standard and without compromise. More recently the company has ventured into new territory, from the pit to the stage. Last year saw us sharing the stage with the RSC for Mendelssohn's A Midsummer Night's Dream, a truly memorable experience. This year we are especially looking forward to working with Rambert on Haydn's The Creation. To be part of such a large and integrated team, striving for top-quality performances night after night in this most stunningly beautiful of settings, is both a privilege and a joy."
Julian Sperry, Principal Flute
“The Garsington Opera Orchestra was an extraordinarily disciplined and powerful presence.”
“Perfect tempi, radiant textures and wall-to-wall virtuosity. Glorious stuff.”
"The audience simply thrills at the virtuosic singing and playing, and marvels at the set.“
Wall Street Journal
“The ravishingly beautiful score was played richly by the excellent orchestra.”
Garsington Opera Chorus
A hub of talent, energy and commitment, the Garsington Opera Chorus makes a vital contribution to the artistic life of the company. Every year young singers – many of them recent graduates or products of leading conservatoires from across the country – audition to earn a place in this prestigious ensemble. Those selected embark on a challenging professional journey. They will work with world-class artists from a range of disciplines: conductors, directors, choreographers, designers. They will perform on stage alongside eminent and inspiring principal artists, many of whom sang in an opera chorus at the start of their own careers.
The Chorus features in many and diverse ways in all our productions. This year its members will fly between Heaven and Earth to serve as a colourful array of Priests, Augurs, Zephyrs, Nymphs and Swains in Handel's sparkling musical drama Semele; they will then appear in Mozart's witty yet profound tale of love, betrayal and forgiveness, as the peasants, villagers and servants of Le nozze di Figaro; haunting sailors' voices will be heard from afar in Debussy's ravishing Pelléas et Mélisande. The Chorus's final appearance of the season will be as the Gypsies, Turks and Masqueraders thronging the stage of Rossini's irresistible comic opera, Il turco in Italia.
Garsington Opera takes pride in nurturing its Chorus under the guidance of Chorus Master Susanna Stranders. Specialist practitioners from outside the company are regularly invited to discuss important aspects of the opera business. These sessions offer advice and encouragement to enhance each and every singer’s professional development. Further opportunities for Chorus members to showcase individual talent include masterclasses with celebrated artists and understudying singers in principal roles.
The diverse experiences gained by members of the Garsington Opera Chorus provide an invaluable professional foundation. Every year, talented young singers join us and begin the work of building successful musical careers.