Longborough Festival Opera will close its 2019 season with a brand new production of Francesco Cavalli’s rarely performed La Calisto, with a cast of talented young artists at the start of their careers.

The production marks a bold departure from the festival’s typical programming, as Longborough hopes to welcome new audiences to the world of opera.

Director Mathilde Lopez comments: “Comical and colourful, La Calisto is a complex story of desire that is valued when it is male, but shameful when it is female. Set in a derelict shopping mall, with broken vending machines, trolleys and various female shoppers with different animal heads, our production colourfully evokes the absurdity and exhaustion of a very masculine approach to sex and relationships.”

Longborough’s Artistic Director Polly Graham adds: “We are delighted to be working on this amazing opera with the innovative and vibrant theatre director Mathilde Lopez. Her direct and honest approach never fails to create compelling theatre. We are bringing Mathilde together with music director Lesley Anne Sammons, whose experience and joyful music-making will bring out superb performances from our brilliant young cast.

“Lesley Anne has set down a new arrangement of the opera for a genre-bending musical ensemble that includes double bass, accordion, clarinet, harpsichord and electric bass guitar – an exciting response to Cavalli's gender-bending opera.”

La Calisto is Longborough’s 2019 Young Artist production. The annual scheme aims to ensure the future of high-calibre opera performances by offering artists at the beginning of their careers world-class performance opportunities, coaching and mentoring from the festival’s creative and technical teams.

After performing in several of Longborough’s previous Young Artist productions, rising star Chiara Vinci returns this season to sing the title role in La Calisto. Having originally trained as a dancer at the Rambert school, Vinci is a multi-talented artist with a bright future.


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