Rossini debut at Dorset Opera

THIS year’s Dorset Opera Festival, from 25th to 29th July, features the company’s first ever Rossini, and a welcome return for favourite bass-baritone Mark S Doss in his signature role of Mephistopheles in Gounod’s Faust.

This exciting all-French programme will be performed at the Coade Hall at Bryanston School, with a long interval at each performance for audiences to enjoy champagne, dinner or picnics in the landscaped grounds of the school, near Blandford Forum.

After 43 years, Dorset Opera will stage its first Rossini – Le Comte Ory, a comic opera set at the time of the Crusades. It will be performed using the new Bärenreiter edition and features Nico Darmanin as the eponymous anti-hero, with Jennifer France as the subject of his advances, Countess Adele, Heather Lowe in the trouser role of Isolier, Steven Page as Ory’s tutor, and the young Polish baritone Simon Mechlinski as Raimbaud.

The orchestra will be conducted by Argentinian conductor Jose Miguel Esandi and the director is David Phipps-Davis whose L’Elixir d’Amore was the Dorset Opera hit of 2015.

The performance dates and times are 25th and 27th July at 7pm and Saturday 29th at 2pm.

In an all-French year, the second opera will be Gounod’s Faust starring the young Spanish tenor Alejandro del Cerro making his UK debut in the title role, with last year’s glorious Tatyana, Anna Patalong, making her role debut as Marguerite, and Dorset Opera favourite bass-baritone Mark S Doss as Mephistopheles. Doss has previously wowed the Dorset audience with his stunning voice and charismatic stage presence in The Flying Dutchman, Fidelio and last year’s Macbeth.

Later this year Doss will sing Alfio at the Royal Opera House in November and December and next season he will join Welsh National Opera to sing Scarpia in Tosca.

The New Zealand baritone Nicholas Lester is Valentin, Marguerite’s ill-fated brother. Faust is conducted by Dorset Opera Festival’s music director, Jeremy Carnall and directed by Christopher Cowell.

The performance dates of Faust are 26th, 28th and 29th July at 7pm.

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