Hall to host open-air opera productions

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PACK the picnic hamper – Winslow is set to join the likes of Glyndebourne with its very own open-air opera this summer.

Professional company Stowe Opera has been invited by the owner of Winslow Hall to perform in the grounds at the end of July.

There will be a covered stage and auditorium to the rear of the hall, and the audience will sit on raked seating.

Parking will be in the field opposite the hall

Stowe Opera, which used to perform in Stowe School’s Roxburgh Hall, has been dark for the past six years due to building work at the school.

Conductor Robert Secret said he was approached by Winslow Hall’s owner, Christopher Gilmour, about putting on a show in his grounds.

The company will be giving six performances of Mozart’s Marriage Of Figaro, on Saturday and Sunday, July 21 and 21, Wednesday and Thursday, July 25 and 26, and Saturday and Sunday, July 28 and 29.

On Saturdays, Wednesday and Thursday, performances will start at 6pm with a 90-minute supper interval. Sunday matinees will begin at 3pm with a 30-minute interval.

Mr Secret, who ran Stowe Opera for 14 years before its enforced break, said: “We hope it will become an annual event.”

He will be carrying out auditions for cast members in London next week.

“We hope to have the whole thing wrapped up by the end of next week,” he said.

Winslow Town Council has agreed to contribute up to £1,000 in sponsorship towards the event.

Town mayor Llew Monger said: “The town council is pleased to be able to support this venture because we think it’s good for Winslow. It supports our aim of making Winslow a vibrant community.

“It will bring many visitors over the course of the week into Winslow and I’m confident they will come back again and again.

“I hope the organisation can find a way to make the opera accessible to all.”

Tickets are on sale, at £60 a head, from Mr Secret on 01280 848275. For more information, visit www.stoweopera.com