An undoubted highlight of this year’s festival will be the National Gilbert & Sullivan Opera Company’s production of Haddon Hall which is the dramatisation of a local legend based on the nearby Haddon Hall. This will be the first professional production since its debut in 1892. This light opera with music by Arthur Sullivan and libretto by Sydney Grundy features many of Britain ‘s leading G&S actors wanting to take advantage of such a rare opportunity.
It is 1660, just before the Restoration of the Monarchy. Sir George Vernon, a Royalist, is in a property dispute with his cousin, Rupert Vernon, a Roundhead supporter of Parliament. Sir George fears that this dispute will be resolved in favour of his cousin, who has strong ties to the current government, and that his family will lose Haddon Hall. To secure the estate’s long-term future, Sir George has arranged the marriage between Rupert and his only surviving child, Dorothy Vernon. But Dorothy is in love with John Manners, the impoverished second son of the Earl of Rutland. Manners, who is also a Royalist is of no use to Sir George, and he has forbidden their union. Torn by her love for her father and her love for John Manners, Dorothy fled Haddon Hall and eloped with Manners. The couple were eventually reconciled with Sir George, and they inherited the estate on his death. Haddon Hall remains in the Manners family to the present day.
The fantastic cast includes Richard Suart, Nicholas Sales and Bruce Graham. It is a directed by Sarah Helsby Hughes and conducted by Andrew Nicklin