DARK and powerful, Fidelio at Garsington Opera set the scene for a night of drama.
The Beethoven opera is a revival of John Cox's acclaimed 2009 production, with which Douglas Boyd made his début with the company.
He is now also the artistic director, as well as the conductor. And I could see why it was back on this season's bill as it is a moving and powerful piece.
It follows the story of Leonore, who dresses up as a man, to save her husband, Florestan from being wrongly imprisoned.
Meanwhile, the gaoler, Rocco, is ordered to help kill Florestan by Don Pizarro, the prison governor, which goes against his better judgement.
The set is imposing and grey with few props and it is a generally dark production, which increases the tension.
At the end of the second half there is a visually amazing scene as prisoners climb out from under the stage.
In the second half it really picks up the pace and there were some amazing vocals.
Leonore, played by Rebecca von Lipinski, was a fantastic soprano and a superb performer, while tenor Peter Wedd was mesmerising as the suffering Florestan.
Bass-baritone Stephen Richardson commanded the stage when he sang and had a beautiful voice, while bass-baritone Darren Jeffrey was a brilliant bad guy.
Jennifer France, who played Marzelline, and Jaquino, who played Sam Furness, were both great performers too.
The impressive pavilion which is put up every year at the Wormsley Estate near Stokenchurch never fails to impress.
And the extended interval where you can enjoy a picnic and the beautiful grounds make for a special evening.
Fidelio is being performed until July 13. For more details go to www.garsingtonopera.org