Telling the story of operatic impresario John Christie, David Hare’s heart-rending drama The Moderate Soprano makes a long-awaited West End premiere at the Duke of York’s Theatre.
Lauded by audiences and critics alike during a highly acclaimed 2015 run at the Hampstead Theatre, The Moderate Soprano is now set to hit all the right notes in the West End, with original stars Roger Allam and Nancy Carroll returning to lead the cast.
Jeremy Herrin will return to the production to direct the celebrated play, while there will be brand new set and costume designs by the multi award-winning theatre and opera designer, Bob Crowley.
Set in the South Downs of Sussex, the show centres on Christie, whose two greatest passions are opera and a beautiful young soprano, Audrey Mildmay, with whom he was completely in love. In a move which many believed to be folly, the couple proposed the formation of the Glyndebourne Opera House, an idea met with stiff opposition.
But amidst all the stiff manhattans, rolling lawns – and the sound of sheep from across the HaHa – their idea was triumphantly born, and went on to become revered the world over. David Hare’s new play is the story of an intense love affair and the unrelenting search for artistic excellence in the face of searing scrutiny, sacrifice and the impending Second World War.
Explaining the show’s origin, David Hare has said: “Few people know the extraordinary story of how an eccentric English schoolmaster bumped accidentally into three refugees from Hitler’s Germany, and formed one of the world’s great opera houses in the 1930s in the middle of the English countryside. But even fewer know that Glyndebourne’s true founder was John Christie’s adored wife, Audrey Mildmay, whom he called ‘the moderate soprano.”
Multi-Olivier Award winners Allam (Privates On Parade, Henry IV, Money) and Carroll (After The Dance, Woyzeck) will return to play Christie and Mildmay respectively, and with Headlong Artistic Director Herrin back at the helm after his recent string of West End hits, The Moderate Soprano is all set for another acclaimed London run.
Dramas have a rich history in the West End; find out more about plays in London.