Grange Park Opera – sommarfestival
HISTORY OF THE GRANGE
The Grange, one of the most celebrated neo-classical mansions in Britain, is located in Hampshire, seven miles from Winchester, and owned by the family of John Baring, Lord Ashburton. English Heritage has a guardianship deed on the Grade I-listed building.
1662 Robert Henley bought the estate and a modest house known as The Grange. In 1665 he commissioned William Samwell to build an impressive five storey red brick residence to replace the house. Robert Adam designed a kitchen block and naturalistic landscape with a lake, a bridge and a folly.
1787 The house was sold to the Drummond banking family.
1795 The Grange was leased to George, Prince of Wales as a hunting lodge with over 400 deer in the park
1804 Henry Drummond commissioned William Wilkins to transform his brick house into a Greek temple. The massive Doric portico is a copy of the Theseion in Athens and the side elevations imitate the Choragic Monument of Thrasyllus. This was the first Greek Revival house in Europe. The transformation was largely external – the old house was literally wrapped in Roman cement, a very hard render made from ground flint. This is when the podium visible today was built. What had been ground floor rooms became basement rooms and the main reception rooms which had been on the piano nobile were now at the same level as the podium. The windows of servants’ rooms on the uppermost storey were covered by the entablature of the temple and this is partly why it was necessary to extend the house.
1817 Before the works were finished, Drummond sold the house to his neighbour Alexander Baring, also a banker.
1820 Baring commissioned Robert Smirke, a pupil of George Dance, to build the single storey west wing.
1823 Charles Robert Cockerell was commissioned to further extend the house. His additions included an elegant dining room and an orangery in the form of a temple. The orangery made advanced use of iron and glass with rainwater collected from the roof channelled through internal columns into a reservoir to supply the house and the orangery. This building was adapted to form the opera house in 1998.
1868 John Cox further extended the buildings and modernised the interiors. This was the heyday of the house – with a staff of more than a hundred and exuberant house parties attended by Thomas Carlyle, Alfred Lord Tennyson and other society figures.
1890 Francis Baring, the 5th Lord Ashburton, sold Bath House in Piccadilly and to accommodate his paintings, converted the orangery into a picture gallery which doubled as a ballroom.
1934 The Grange and 600 acres of the park were sold to Charles Wallach whose fortune was from the medicinal use of paraffin and other petroleum by-products. The rest of the estate remained in the ownership of the Baring family.
1944 On 24 March Churchill and Eisenhower met at The Grange to discuss the invasion of Europe.
In 1964 Charles Wallach died and the house and 600 acre park was bought by John Baring (now 7th Lord Ashburton). In 1975 he placed the building in the guardianship of the Department of the Environment (now English Heritage).
1998 Grange Park Opera staged its first summer festival at The Grange.
See a list of Founding Donors
In 2002 a new theatre was built inside the old Orangery by Studio E Architects, which won the RIBA Award 2004, RIBA Conservation Commendation 2004, Georgian Group Award for Best New Building in a Georgian Context 2004 and was shortlisted for the Crown Estate Conservation Award 2004.
Grange Park Opera anordnar årligen en operafestival sedan 1998.