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    “Bampton…have produced some delightful treats over the years. This year’s offering…ranks among the best…” Four Star Review for Gluck Double Bill

    Jul 31, 2014

    “Birthday boy Gluck is largely ignored this year – in the UK, at least – with few apparently interest in the Austrian composer’s 300th anniversary.

    Step forward adventurous Bampton Classical Opera, who are not only marking the occasion but have chosen to do so by giving the first UK staging of his little-known gem, Il Parnaso confuso (The Muses confused), and teaming it with Venetian composer Bertoni’s Orfeo – a work that uses the same libretto as Gluck’s more famous version.

    Renowned for unearthing operatic rarities, Bampton Opera founders Jeremy Gray and Gilly French have produced some delightful treats over the years.  This year’s offering possibly ranks among the best, with two charming pieces that complement each other and benefit from Gray’s slick, unfussy direction and a simple set that ingeniously adapts for both operas.

    Most excitingly, there is fine young talent mixed in with some of the favourites.  Mezzo Anna Starushkevych, winner of Bampton’s inaugural Young Singers’ Competition last year, impresses, switching easily from a playful Muse in Il Parnaso confuso to an anguished, lovelorn Orfeo in the Bertoni piece, singing both with equal warmth and conviction.

    Soprano Aoife O’Sullivan, a Bampton regular, is equally impressive in the transition from Apollo, who has to cajole the Muses into entertaining for a Royal wedding in Il Parnaso confuso, to a sweetly sung, vulnerable Euridice in Orfeo.

    Strong performances, too, from another Bampton regular, Caryl Hughes, and newcomer Gwawr Edwards, as the other Muses, while Thomas Herford and Robert Gildon provide robust support in both operas.

    The Bampton orchestra, as ever, accompanies with spirit and commitment under the baton of Thomas Blunt.”

    Oxford Times, July 2014 Nicola Lisle