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Opera Cultural Heroine of 2020

The Telegraph

“Things looked bleak for opera in the first months of lockdown: as well as the wholesale cancellation of productions, the business was paralysed by the medics’ insistence that singing could transmit the virus through the projection of saliva droplets. But for Wasfi Kani, the founder/director of Grange Park Opera (based at West Horsley Place in Surrey), the restrictions were just a challenge. She sprung into action the moment the rules allowed her some leeway and commissioned friends like Bryn Terfel and Simon Keenlyside to stream online concerts from their homes. That was just the beginning: with imagination and common sense, the problem of saliva droplets could be avoided. Grange Park Opera went on to become the first venue to film an opera post-lockdown – Poulenc’s La voix humaine – and to commission an exciting new opera by a young composer, Alex Woolf ’s A Feast in the Time of Plague, staged live before a socially distanced audience in September. Since then, Grange Park has also made a highly original film of Britten’s Owen Wingrave. For sheer resourceful creativity, no other company can match it.