Experiencing The Grange Opera

Genevieve Hudson L6 writes: Students studying music were given the opportunity to visit Grange Park Opera in Alresford to see Massenet’s Don Quichotte.  First performed in 1910, Massenet’s opera, based on the novel Don Quixote by the Spanish novelist Miguel de Cervantes, tells the story of an old man’s desperation to be loved by a popular and flirtatious younger woman.

This particular staging, by Charles Edwards differs in the way that it portrays Don Quichotte as a composer who is writing throughout the performance and is struggling with the creation of his own most recent opera. I thought the orchestra were extraordinary and I particularly enjoyed the theme played in unison by the clarinet and the bassoon in the interlude, which sounded stunning above the piano pizzicato strings.  I was also particularly impressed with the character of Quichotte himself, who, through his stance, movement and facial expressions played the role of a helpless old man really well. He really allowed the audience to sympathise with his lack of hope in pursuing the provocative Dulcinée.

Both the music and setting of the evening were incredible and I thoroughly enjoyed both aspects. Having never visited The Grange before, I was instantly blown away by the stunning (and understated) grounds and theatre in which the opera was performed. The extended interval also gave us the perfect opportunity to enjoy a sunny picnic in the warm sun and wander around the beautiful gardens.