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New annual Into Opera Festival launches in Norfolk

PUBLISHED: 16:03 29 July 2019 | UPDATED: 16:03 29 July 2019

Fleur de Bray playing Adina in The Elixir of Love Credit: Peter Marsh at ashmorevisuals

Fleur de Bray playing Adina in The Elixir of Love Credit: Peter Marsh at ashmorevisuals

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Norfolk is famous for its beautiful beaches and the Broads, but not many would associate this peaceful corner of England with opera.

Christopher Turner will perform at the Into Opera Festival Credit: Ian ReesChristopher Turner will perform at the Into Opera Festival Credit: Ian Rees

Until now Norfolk has been one of the few counties in the UK not to boast an annual opera festival but Norfolk based charity, Into Opera, is set to change that.

For four days from August 8 to 11, The Octagon Barn in Little Plumstead, on the outskirts of Norwich, will become home to the inaugural season of the Norfolk Into Opera Festival.

Audiences can expect an opera experience that is fun, affordable and designed to provide them with their first taste of opera.

The festival includes a Gala Concert on Friday, August 9 called Opera Unwrapped with seven opera singers including acclaimed tenor Christopher Turner and American soprano Sofia Troncoso.

Sofia Troncoso will perform at the Into Opera Festival Credit: Ian ReesSofia Troncoso will perform at the Into Opera Festival Credit: Ian Rees

There will also be three performances of a new production of Donizetti's comic opera The Elixir of Love set in rural Norfolk during World War One. This production will star the tenor Thomas Elwin and soprano Fleur de Bray who have previously performed at venues including the Royal Opera House, English National Opera, the National Theatre and Opera Stuttgart.

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Genevieve Raghu, Artistic Director and Founder of Into Opera, said: "We want to get more people 'into' opera so we are trying to tackle head on some of the actual and perceived barriers which might prevent people from going to an opera.

"We have chosen to launch the 2019 Norfolk Into Opera Festival at the beautiful Octagon Barn for a few reasons.

The Into Opera Youth Company in rehearsals for The Elixir of Love Credit: Peter Marsh at ashmorevisualsThe Into Opera Youth Company in rehearsals for The Elixir of Love Credit: Peter Marsh at ashmorevisuals

"Firstly, we are setting our main production The Elixir of Love on a farm so it really adds to the atmosphere of the production and on the opening night we are even serving a Hog Roast on the lawn to add to the spirit!

"Secondly, we wanted an intimate venue so that audiences could feel close to the action, immersed in the story and able to see into the singers' eyes and thirdly, we wanted an informal environment - where you could relax outside before performances, enjoy a drink from our outdoor bar, bring a picnic and hopefully enjoy some lovely weather,"

Into Opera has been getting people 'into' opera in Norfolk since launching in September 2017 and their first project A King's Ransom involved a collaboration with classical composer Patrick Hawes and hundreds of primary schools across Norfolk.

Some of the children who participated in A King's Ransom are now members of the Into Opera Youth Company and will perform alongside the professional company.

Tickets are available for the Into Opera Festival at into-opera.org.uk or by calling the Norwich Theatre Royal Box Office on 01603 630000.

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