The Magic Flute at Waterperry Opera Festival

If you fancy tickets to Phantom of the Opera and a backstage tour, tea and a tour of the House of Lords, or simply unwinding at a rural retreat, then head over to the Waterperry Opera Festival’s website for the company’s online auction and get bidding!

These are just some of the fabulous items up for grabs. Budding maestros might be tempted by the opportunity to conduct the Waterperry Opera Festival Orchestra, with a bit of coaching thrown in, or you might prefer to choose from the variety of holidays and operatic treats on offer.

Money raised from the auction will go towards the festival’s own charitable projects.

There will also be a special Stay-at-Home Gala to give a taste of what’s in store for Waterperry Opera Festival audiences this summer – coronavirus permitting, of course.

“We have two events going on at the same time,” explains Rebecca Meltzer, who co-founded the festival with tenor Guy Withers in 2018.

Rebecca Meltzer and Guy Withers

“The auction will be accessible via our website, where we have listed all the bids. We’ve got a total of 23 different items, and there’s quite a wide range of things.

“Simultaneously to that, as that goes live, we are streaming about 40 minutes of footage on our website, on YouTube and on Facebook, which is a combination of different videos of some of our artists who have videoed arias and excerpts from operas we are performing this summer from their homes.

“We have put this together in a sort of montage with a lot of individuals talking about their roles in the festival, the way the festival runs, why we have our fundraising target, where the money goes to, and so on.”

The Waterperry Opera Festival rose from the ashes of Art in Action, which sadly ended in 2016 after 40 years. Already, after just two years, the festival has attracted widespread acclaim.

This year’s festival is scheduled to run from 13th-16th August and includes Donizetti’s The Elixir of Love in collaboration with English National Opera, Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel, Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf and the short opera Greed by festival patron Jonathan Dove.

The Magic Flute at Waterperry Opera Festival

At present, organisers are optimistic about the festival going ahead.

“Because our festival is not until August, right now we very much hope to be able to go ahead with the festival in its full version,” Rebecca says.

“Of course we are fully aware that things are changing constantly, and we don’t know what the government guidelines will be then, so we will be adapting our stance on this as we know more, if we have to adapt it at all. 

“At the moment we very much intend to go ahead with the full festival, and we will be making our final decision on this by the end of May.

“We don’t start rehearsals until mid-July, so it’s still a way off. A lot of work goes into something like this, so we really hope to be able to put it together.”

If the lockdown continues, though, Rebecca hopes that a reduced version of the festival will be available online.

“We have various different versions depending on what is possible, and we will create the festival in some form and make it available to the public in some way this summer, in August.”

Mansfield Park at Waterperry Opera Festival

Meanwhile, there’s tonight’s online gala to enjoy, not to mention the chance to grab some special treats in the auction. 

The gala footage will continue to be available online after tonight, while the auction runs until Sunday.

Head to the Waterperry Opera Festival website to find out more: www.waterperryoperafestival.co.uk

NICOLA LISLE

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