A description of the old Garsington is on this old 2002 webpage here.


Picnic beside the lake at WormsleySo after many successful years of opera from Garsington Manor, Garsington Opera leaves its original home and relocates to Wormsley, the Getty estate on the edge of the Chiltern escarpment by Stokenchurch.

The question for longtime Garsington enthusiasts like ourselves is whether the festival can retain its charm when it moves away from its original Oxfordshire home.

We visit twice this year - on the second night we see Rossini's wonderfully silly Turk in Italy and in the last week of the season we watch Vivaldi's "La Verita in Cimento"


The setting at Wormsley is very different from the old manor house and gardens. Instead of hedged garden walks and knot gardens you have a fine open setting of the house and park surrounded by vistas of hills and woods dotted with deeraksdf and sheep.

The new auditorium, designed by Richard Davies, is temporary like the one at Garsington Manor, coming down at the end of each season. However it is a much more substantial building which not only looks wonderful but also provides more seating, a full orchestra pit, and great acoustics to support the performance.

Also designed specially for the festival are the row of picnic tents which lead up the hill from the car park to the auditorium and match its clean lines very effectively.

If the weather is fine and you enjoy a picnic, you can also do as we did and choose a table by the lake. Here you can savour your meal alongside the swans and ducks.

Il Turco in Italia

Il Turco in Italia is Rossini's popular comic opera set in Naples with a romantic Eastern prince, Selim, arriving and causing chaos with both Geronio's flirtatious young wife, Fiorilla (above) and the beautiful gypsy Zaida. Conducted by David Parry, this strong production looked and sounded good. Especially memorable was Rebecca Nelsen singing Fiorilla in her UK debut. Her light coloratura sounded effortless - I look forward to more visits to the UK by this fine Texan soprano.

La Verita in Cimento

Staging Vivaldi as opera is more of a challenge as his beautiful but repetitive arias provide less opportunity for stage direction. Duncan Taylor's design provided a largely black and white set, transported to country house, perhaps not unlike Wormsley. Here the highlight was the scheming Damira, dressed in red and sung by Diana Montague, whose strong singing and entertaining performance led the evening. The orchestra, conducted by Laurence Cummings, performed well and there was good support from Jean Rigby as the sultan's wife as well as the impressive, if occasionally overly powerful voice of the young Swedish soprano, Ida Falk Winland.

So overall a successful first season for Garsington. In the year when we visit The Grange for the first time we can confirm that Garsington continues its quality and charm. For a North Londoner it is a lot easier to get to than Glyndbourne presenting high quality opera in stunning settings.

Garsington at night