Garsington Youth Opera Premiere

This August Garsington Opera's Youth Company will perform in the world premiere of The Happy Princess, a new commission written specially for the Company by composer Paul Fincham, with a libretto by Jessica Duchen (Silver Birch, 2017). Based on Oscar Wilde's The Happy Prince, the title role will be sung by professional soprano Lara Marie Müller, winner of the 2017 Simon Sandbach Award. There will also be a number of solo roles for the Youth Company which consists of 80 young people aged 9 to 21 from the local area. The performance will be conducted by Jonathon Swinard, Garsington's Head of Music, with Karen Gillingham (director), Suzi Zumpe (vocal director) and Ruth Paton (designer). 

The story tells the tale of the statue of the Princess who witnesses her people's suffering and enlists the help of a Swallow to take the jewels and gold encrusting her to the needy. Together they transform lives - but at a terrible cost to the devoted Swallow. 

Paul Fincham read music at Cambridge University where is was Music Director of Cambridge Footlights and is now a full-time composer having recently moved from a successful first career in the corporate world. He has composed an award-winning film score and last year his Christmas carol Ring the Bells was published by Boosey & Hawkes. The Happy Princess is his first opera.

Jessica Duchen was a music critic for The Independent for 12 years and is the author of six novels. Her librettos include Roxanna Panufnik's Silver Birch, Garsington Opera's commissioned People's Opera premiered in 2017 and shortlisted for an International Opera Award in 2018. 

The performances takes place on the main stage at Wormsley on 2 August 2019.