Longborough Festival Opera: the first 30 years

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Longborough Festival Opera: the first 30 years is a new book that tells the story of opera at Longborough, written by Richard Bratby.

When Martin and Lizzie Graham first began hosting opera evenings in their garden, neither they nor anyone else could have imagined what Longborough Festival Opera has become today: an internationally recognised opera company that punches far above its weight. 

You might remember early days sitting on bales of hay, or perhaps you’ve discovered Longborough more recently: but everyone who attends an LFO performance makes their own memories of Britain’s most magical – and ambitious – summer opera festival. 

Full of anecdotes, recollections and photographs, from the early days in a stable yard to the triumphant staging of Wagner’s Ring cycle in a purpose-built theatre, this book celebrates Martin and Lizzie’s remarkable achievement: how a dream became bricks, mortar and sublime music on a Cotswold hillside.

Richard Bratby is an affectionate chronicler...the Grahams lead the cast with personal memories, and photos spill out on every page as if from a family album

BBC Music Magazine

a wonderful celebration of a jewel in the crown of the Cotswolds, of Gloucestershire, and indeed of the country’s operatic offer

Midlands Music Reviews

Available in bookshops:

The Borzoi Bookshop1 Digbeth St, Stow-on-the-Wold GL54 1BN

Ledbury Books and Maps 20 High St, Ledbury HR8 1DS 

Longborough & Sezincote Village Shop & Cafe 1 Moreton Road, Longborough GL56 0QQ

Buy the book online:

Please select postal delivery during checkout to have your order shipped to you.

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Longborough Festival Opera: the first 30 years (hardback, limited edition)

Richard Bratby (author)

162 pages

ISBN: 9781739547806

Dimensions: 201 x 258mm

Published: 11 November 2023

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Longborough Festival Opera: the first 30 years (paperback)

Richard Bratby (author)

162 pages

ISBN: 9781739547813

Dimensions: 192 x 252mm

Published: 11 November 2023


About the author

Richard Bratby

Richard Bratby is a critic for The Spectator, Gramophone, Bachtrack and The Birmingham Post, and writes on music, opera and culture for the BBC, the Salzburg Festival and concert promoters around the world. Formerly an orchestral cellist in the now-defunct Sri Lanka Philharmonic, he worked as a concerts manager for the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, and later the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, where he founded and managed the CBSO Youth Orchestra. 

His books include Forward: 100 Years of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (“a gem”: The Oldie), Classical Music: An Illustrated History and Refiner’s Fire: the Academy of Ancient Music and the Historical Performance Revolution. Born on the Wirral, Richard studied History at St Edmund Hall, Oxford, and worked briefly as a History teacher before entering the classical music business. He is married to the theatre historian Dr Annette Rubery, and they live in Lichfield with their cat Rusty and several miniature steam locomotives.

Book Podcast

Listen again to the book launch

Hear readings and music from the launch of the book, on our podcast.

I can vouch for the utter brilliance of what Martin and Lizzie Graham have achieved at Longborough

Cotswold Life, '9 Cotswold Books for Christmas 2023'

The story of an inspiring vision...the heart-warming tale of an obsession

Pershore Times

A delightful story that any music lover and/or opera devotee will enjoy, and if nothing else, like me, it is an enticement to get to Longborough and enjoy the Festival…An inspiring tale that will drive anyone with a vision to go ahead and fulfil their dream

Yorkshire Times