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‘I want to give my country a model of perfection… Nothing less. My country needs cheering up. I’m the man to do it.’
Nobody can doubt John Christie’s passion nor his formidable will: his wooing of his opera singer wife has been marked by a determination befitting a man who won the Military Cross at the Battle of Loos. Now, in 1934, this Etonian science teacher’s admiration for the works of Wagner has led him to embark on an ambitious project: the construction of an Opera House on his estate in Sussex.
But such is the scale of the enterprise that passion alone may not be enough. It’s only when a famous violinist is delayed by fog overnight in Eastbourne that Christie hears word of a group of refugees for whom life in Germany is becoming impossible. Perhaps they can deliver Christie’s vision of the sublime – assuming they’re willing to cast his wife in the lead.
David Hare’s new play is the story of an intense love affair between some unlikely bedfellows, and of the unrelenting search for artistic excellence in the face of searing scrutiny, sacrifice and war.
The Moderate Soprano premieres at Hampstead Theatre, London, in October 2015.
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