Grange Park Opera, Surrey, today released a free online recording of its new production of Benjamin Britten's Owen Wingrave as part of its Interim Season of online performances, which will be available until end 2020. Originally concieved as an opera for television in 1971, Britten's 'ghost-opera', about a man who wishes to deviate from his family's military traditions, is the perfect adaptaion for an online, streamed production.
Filming over five days in September, director Stephen Medcalf has set Britten’s opera in 2001 on the brink of the war with Afghanistan and collaborates with an incredible cast; Ross Ramgobin as the titular lead; Susan Bullock as Miss Wingrave; Richard Berkeley Steele as Sir Philip Wingrave; and William Dazeley and Janis Kelly as Mr and Mrs Coyle respectively. Filmed on location, the production makes use of actual haunted houses in Surrey and London to facilitate the numerous interiors required.
Medcalf comments, “A minimal crew maintained distancing in intimate domestic interiors and COVID restrictions required the cast to costume themselves. I’ve given full rein to the satirical, often blackly comic aspects of the opera. Alongside that there are three serious themes: the pressure from society to conform; the courage it takes to stand up for who we really are; the destructive love of family.”