The Merry Widow at Glyndebourne
Marcia Bellamy and Stephen Plaice have been commissioned to create a new version of Franz Lehár’s ever popular operetta The Merry Widow for the Glyndebourne Festival in 2024.
This commission follows their highly successful adaptation of Offenbach’s Mesdames de la Halle – In the Market for Love which Marcia and Stephen adapted for Glyndebourne during the pandemic in 2020.
The new production of The Merry Widow, which is directed by Cal McCrystal, conducted by John Wilson and designed by Gary McCann, will open on June 9th 2024. It will star Danielle de Niese as the widow, Germán Olvera as Danillo and Sir Thomas Allen as Baron Zeta.
See the Glyndebourne website for further details.
Set in a Parisian market, this hilarious one act operetta was commissioned by Glyndebourne for performance in the gardens throughout August 2020. Marcia collaborated with Stephen Plaice to produce the new version of Offenbach’s 1858 hit, directed by Stephen Langridge, calling it In the Market for Love or ‘Onions are Forever’.
Having previously worked with Stephen Plaice to produce Offenbach’s work in Bouffe!, Marcia was thrilled to be part of the creative team to bring Offenbach to Glyndebourne for the first time, as part of their artistic response to the challenges of COVID-19.
Here is an introduction to the occasion from Glyndebourne’s YouTube channel.
“Wittily reworked by Stephen Plaice…Mesdames de la Halle is an Offen-ready treat.”
“There’s a thrown-together, on-the-hop feel to it – the set is clearly a raid on the company’s store house – but it’s a full staging, with first-rate singers and a small but polished…That’s several causes for celebration right there.”
The Guardian ****
“In the Market for Love is a slight, daft piece and the gamble of this “Covid” production by Stephen Langridge, with a new English libretto by Stephen Plaice, is that it pushes to the foreground the things that some of us might like to forget, at least for an hour: masks, visors, 1/2/3-metre rules, squirts of sanitiser.”
The Times ****
“With boisterous direction, and the whole cast romping cheerfully over Offenbach’s bouncy galops and flirtatious waltz songs, it’s surely the most fun any of us will have in the opera house for the foreseeable future, and a million times more helpful, right now, than the incoming tide of earnest new-music commissions about the trauma of lockdown.”
“Irrepressible energy, irreverent wit and a terrific ensemble performance bring some brightness into the prevailing gloom.”
The Stage ****
Marcia is a featured soloist in Orlando Gough’s recorded score for the startling and visceral new Staging Schiele by Shobana Jeyasingh, at the Queen Elizabeth Hall and on tour in the UK. Named on the Guardian’s Top 4 Dance Choices for Autumn 2019. Listen to a sample.
Collaborating with Stephen Plaice on a new singing translation of Rachmaninov’s The Bells, Marcia set the new text for a sensational première by the Guildhall Symphony Orchestra and Guildhall Symphony Chorus, conducted by Dominic Wheeler September 27th, 2019. Previously published with an English text based on the Russian translation, the new text attempts to bring the libretto closer to Poe’s original poem to revitalise this important work in modern performance.
Marcia created the role of Cassie in Bloom Britannia, a new People’s Opera by Stephen Plaice and Orlando Gough for Barefoot Opera. The first act of the opera was performed at the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill in April 2019 to great acclaim, with the full opera receiving three performances in October 2021. See a trailer for the opera here.
Marcia returns to the role of Harriet in the musical String! This story, woven from the lives of the people of Hailsham and its historic rope making industry, comes March 1 & 2 2024 to the Grove Theatre Eastbourne.
Music by Tony Biggin, book by Stephen Plaice, with featured narration from beloved television actor John Bowler.