Friday, February 04, 2011

Wagnerian goings on at Bonkers Hall

The other day I blogged about Grange Park Opera and their production of Tosca at Bonkers Hall (or Nevill Holt, as they insist on calling it) this summer.

I was reminded of this passage from Anne Chisholm's biography of Nancy Cunard, who grew up at Nevill Holt. It describes the tensions in the marriage between Nancy's Bonkersesque father Sir Bache Cunard and his artistic American heiress wife Maud:
In later years Lady Cunard herself would tell a story that indicates that Sir Bache was not entirely unaware of what was going on. He returned to Holt on one occasion in midsummer, to find the house full of musicians and music lovers; one hot night, Maud recalled, one of the guests had thrown open his bedroom window and had given the Valkyries' cry, and from window after window other voices had answered until the whole place resounded with Wagnerian melodies.
"When my husband came back," Lady Cunard once told Cecil Beaton, "he noticed an atmosphere of love. 'I don't understand what is going on in this house,' he said, 'but I don't like it.'"
I suspect this may be unfair to Sir Bache Cunard, and it would certainly be unfair to Lord Bonkers. He is a great patron of the Royal Opera House, Oakham, and no stranger to love.

Now read more about Nancy Cunard.

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