England has been a breeding opera producers out in the beautiful countryside for more than 75 years. Bampton Classical Opera, hailing from the Cotswolds, has been going for 20 years and I have only juist caught up with it. And this I did yesterday evening in the delightful urban setting of St John's, Smith Square, a stone's throw from the Houses of Parliament.
La finta semplice - by the 12 year old Mozart was the offering. And a great delight it was. A well chosen cast of uniform quality and a chamber orchestra of string strength 3/2/2/1/1 with double wind and a couple of horns played with refinement under the excellent Andrew Griffiths. And the witty intelligent production and design by Jeremy Grey was all one could ask for. Altogether a delightful evening with a piece that I have never managed to see before in all these years.
Amongst the singers I particularly enjoyed the splendid couple Nathalie Chalkey and Gavan Ring. As far as I can make out there is just one more performance - in The Barn at Bury Court, in Farnham on the Hampshire Surrey border, on October 20. Worth the trip.
I am off to Somerset now to inspect my brand new grand daughter for the first time.