Tag Archives: Opera Holland Park

La Rondine, Opera Holland Park, OHP, June 2017

Opera Holland Park aims to make opera more accessible, and by launching their 2017 season with Puccini’s light and fizzing Rondine they help do just that. Its lively melodies and Parisian sentimentality may lack the tragic depth of La Traviata or the drama of La Bohème, but if it’s dramatic punch you need, Katya Kabanova …

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Queen of Spades, Opera Holland Park, OHP, August 2016

This Tchaikovsky opera contrasts psychological darkness with airy gaiety that comes out very effectively in Rodula Gaitanou’s production. Excellent chorus direction and Jamie Neale’s choreography creates a sense of fun and spontaneity in lighter moments, and the wonderful sets and costumes by Cordelia Chisholm deliver a sumptuous setting for this tale of obsession that descends …

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La Cenerentola, Opera Holland Park, OHP, July 2016

Rossini’s delightful Cenerentola is just the thing for Opera Holland Park, particularly in this charming a witty Oliver Platt production brought to life by a fine cast. The splendid designs by Neil Irish contrast the black, white and silver of the courtiers in the ball scene, with the garish colours of the ugly sisters and …

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La Bohème, OHP Young Artists, Holland Park, June 2016

Stephen Barlow’s production, which already debuted earlier this month, gives us a Café Momus scene full of fun in Act II, almost as if specially designed for this Christine Collins’ Young Artists performance on 24th June. I loved the sixteenth century costumes, and the numerous small entertaining vignettes by members of the Company. This was …

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Iris, Opera Holland Park, OHP, June 2016

Opera Holland Park staged Mascagni’s little-known Iris during their second season in 1997, but this production by Olivia Fuchs is entirely new. The opera itself premiered in 1898, eight years after Cavalleria Rusicana, and Mascagni’s librettist for this new work suggested a tragedy set in Japan, in keeping with a vogue for exotic subjects. The …

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Lakmé, Opera Holland Park, OHP, July 2015

This Delibes opera about the days of the Raj, when a British officer falls in love with the daughter of a Brahmin priest, expresses a late nineteenth and early twentieth century fascination with exotic locales — think Pearl Fishers and Madama Butterfly — and like Butterfly is based on a work by French novelist and …

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Aida, Opera Holland Park, OHP, July 2015

For the fourth performance on July 4, the orchestra under Manlio Benzi produced a thrilling and vivid account of Verdi’s score, helped by excellent singing and a colourful and imaginative production. It starts with a black-tie cocktail party in a gallery of Egyptian antiquities, and director Daniel Slater takes a delightfully tongue-in-cheek attitude to Acts …

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Il Trittico, Opera Holland Park, OHP, June 2015

A terrific evening and superb start to Opera Holland Park’s 2015 season. Neil Irish’s designs were excellent, particularly for Il Tabarro in Martin Lloyd-Evans production where weary stevedores and noises of the quayside set the evening in motion. As captain of the barge, Stephen Gadd’s calm tension and eventual exasperation, as he pleads with his …

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Adriana Lecouvreur, Opera Holland Park, OHP, July 2014

When an opera detractor points to a high quality of music being unmatched by the libretto they can hardly have a better example than Cilea’s Adriana Lecouvreur. Conducted with verve and sympathy by Manlio Benzi this fin-de-siècle outpouring of dramatic harmony makes for a wonderful evening, but the impenetrable story about love, jealousy, dissimulation, political …

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Norma, Opera Holland Park, OHP, July 2014

Why is this glorious bel canto opera not performed more often? The reason is surely that one needs a terrific Norma, and Opera Holland Park produced one. Yvonne Howard was superb, and with Heather Shipp as Adalgisa these are performances not to be missed. Their duet towards the end of Act I when Adalgisa comes …

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Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Opera Holland Park, OHP, June 2014

Rossini’s Barber is always fun, and Oliver Platt’s new production for Opera Holland Park gives it a nineteenth century London touch, complete with lamplighters, Bow Street Runners and a drunken sot who claims his shilling as if he were one of the street musicians. The designs by Neil Irish work very well in this context and I …

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La Fanciulla del West, Opera Holland Park, OHP, June 2014

The 2014 opera season at Holland Park started off with a bang — a terrific production of Puccini’s Fanciulla. During the overture the stage fills with soldiers viewing an atomic explosion in the Mojave desert, reflecting the setting in California, albeit a century later than the time of the gold rush in the original, and …

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I Gioielli della Madonna, Opera Holland Park, OHP, July 2013

“There’s a one-eyed yellow idol to the north of Kathmandu”, and the moral of the story is that if you steal jewels from a sacred idol, you will die, and the jewels will revert to their proper location. In that poem the jewel was stolen to satisfy the whim of a young woman, who rejected …

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Cavalleria Rusticana, and I Pagliacci, Opera Holland Park, OHP, June 2013

After an unusually long winter, walking across Holland Park for the opening of the OHP season it seemed that summer had really arrived. As the orchestra played the Prelude to Cavalleria Rusticana the set opened to reveal Turiddu in bed with Lola, and after the chorus entered to sing of orange blossom, over a dozen …

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Yevgeny Onegin, Opera Holland Park, OHP, July 2012

This production by Daniel Slater updates the action by nearly 100 years to a time we all understand, making it clear that Onegin is living in the past. Such was arguably Pushkin’s intent in setting his novel in the period 1819–25 when reforms were very much in the air, and later crushed. Here we are …

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Double Bill: Zanetto/ Gianni Schicchi, Opera Holland Park, OHP, July 2012

Mascagni, friend of Puccini and composer of the hugely successful Cavalleria Rusticana, produced more than a dozen other operas. Cav was his second, and L’amico Fritz (OHP last year) the third. Now Opera Holland Park have produced a later one, Zanetto which, like Fritz, suffers from a very weak libretto. But it was gloriously sung by Janice Watson as the wealthy, celebrated, but lovelorn Silvia, and Patricia …

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Così fan tutte, Opera Holland Park, OHP, June 2012

This was a second hit for Opera Holland Park this season — a great team performance bringing Così fan tutte fully to life. Fine eighteenth century designs by Alex Eales, plus a cheerful sunny set in the centre of the stage, were accompanied by the chorus as an on-stage audience, and bright lighting design by Colin Grenfell that showed …

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Lucia di Lammermoor, Opera Holland Park, OHP, June 2012

The new Holland Park season opened on a blustery cool evening, just right for the Scottish setting of Donizetti’s Lucia. Its plot, based on a novel by Walter Scott, is absolutely up to the minute in view of the government’s recent proclamation making forced marriage illegal, and costumes were appropriately modern. These omens turned out well, and …

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La Wally, Opera Holland Park, OHP, August 2011

Act I of this opera is super, ending with Wally’s famous aria Ebben! Ne andrò lontana (Well then! I shall go far away) sung with great dramatic purpose by Gweneth-Ann Jeffers. Rather than sing this as a set piece aria, she alternated beautifully between pensive moments and real power. Her stubbornly narcissistic father Stromminger, well-portrayed by Stephen Richardson, …

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Rigoletto, Opera Holland Park, OHP, July 2011

Rigoletto himself was brilliantly sung and performed by Robert Poulton. He didn’t overdo the nastiness of this character, as sometimes happens, yet his determination to take revenge came over very well when he makes the fatal mistake of telling his daughter to go home alone, after showing her the Duke’s real character.

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L’amico Fritz, Opera Holland Park, OHP, June 2011

This is Mascagni’s second opera after his great success with Cavalleria Rusticana, and Stuart Stratford’s conducting of the City of London Sinfonia brought out its high moments most beautifully.

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Don Pasquale, Opera Holland Park, OHP, June 2011

Don Pasquale is Donizetti’s sixty-fourth opera, and one of his most successful. The title character is a wealthy but crotchety older man who disapproves of the marital choice of his nephew Ernesto. This young man wants to marry the high-spirited, youthful widow, Norina, so Pasquale has decided to take a young wife for himself, and disinherit …

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La Forza del Destino, Holland Park Opera, OHP, August 2010

I’ve always found [this] terrific stuff, and was delighted with the excellent musical direction by Stuart Stratford, whom I remember doing an equally fine job at Holland Park last summer with Katya Kabanova.

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Francesca da Rimini, Holland Park Opera, August 2010

Zandonai was a very talented composer, whom Puccini favoured for completing Turandot, though his son Tonio vetoed the choice and it went to Alfano. In this opera there is no release from the tension in the music, so what ought to be wonderful moments are lost in the overall fabric, and there is no clear focus.

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Fidelio, Holland Park Opera, OHP, July 2010

Beethoven’s only opera is a plea for justice, an idealistic cri de coeur from a composer who originally wanted to dedicate his third symphony to his hero Napoleon, only to be vastly disappointed when the general declared himself emperor.

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Don Giovanni, Holland Park Opera, July 2010

This production by Stephen Barlow gives a clear and convincing take on the story … and Robert Dean did a very fine job conducting the City of London Sinfonia.

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Katya Kabanova, Holland Park Opera, August 2009

This performance was a team effort, led with great emotional sensitivity by Stuart Stratford in the orchestra pit.

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Un Ballo in Maschera, Holland Park Opera, July 2009

The key scene in the opera is the midnight rendezvous between the king and Amelia, where they are surprised by Amelia’s husband Anckarstrom, and she veils her face.

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Roberto Devereux, Holland Park Opera, June 2009

For opening night on June 2, Joan Sutherland was in the audience and when people began to recognise her shortly before the start of the second half, there was a warming round of applause.

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