chapter  3
40 Pages

On stage . . .: Festival opera productions

Susana Walton, in her biography of her husband William, reports his comment that in the late forties, “opera was very much in the air in London.” (Walton, 1988: 133). Indeed, the immediate postwar climate appeared propitious for opera in every way. The unexpected international success of Britten’s Peter Grimes in 1945 revived British composers’ interest in the genre. The next few years saw the founding of the Covent Garden Opera (now the Royal Opera) as London’s second permanent opera company and the English Opera Group, a new professional touring troupe. These developments, along with the postwar expansion of broadcasting and the renewed availability of university and community productions, generated an operatic ferment.