How do you set a classic novel to music? Indeed how do you set that most popular of English novelists, Jane Austen, to music? When first reading Mansfield Park, Jonathan Dove felt immediately that it was an opera, so when he was approached for a commission, he thought of staging it in a large drawing room, using 10 singers accompanied simply and strikingly by a piano duet. With talented librettist Alasdair Middleton, he set about adapting the novel, and from the first words sung by the whole company, “Mansfield Park, Chapter One”, there is a strong narrative drive, impeccable vocal writing and wonderful ensembles that sparkle with style and wit.
Following the critical success of the first performances, Opera South is presenting two shows at Haslemere Hall, showing that the piece works well in small- to medium-size proscenium arch theatres and that it is the perfect work for young artists.
Thomas Humphreys plays Sir Thomas Bertram