Opera Holland Park introduces the 2021 Season, including casting and a reimagined auditorium

A breath of fresh air

Working with the set designer takis, Opera Holland Park has reimagined the stage and auditorium of its theatre. The new dynamic and exciting performance space provides maximum safety for audiences and artists under the company’s iconic canopy roof.

Capacity will be reduced from 1000 to 400 seats this season, using individual chairs that can be moved according to the numbers in each household ‘bubble’, to enable social distancing and increase step free access.

Sustainable materials in takis’s designs reflect the natural beauty of the theatre’s setting in Holland Park and a programme of five operas in which nature plays a central role. The Royal Philharmonic Society Award-winning City of London Sinfonia returns as resident orchestra.

Five full productions mark the return of live opera to Holland Park in 2021

To celebrate Opera Holland Park’s silver jubilee and the tenth anniversary of the company’s Young Artists scheme, the season opens on 1 June with The Marriage of Figaro (sung in Italian). Former OHP Young Artists Elizabeth Karani (Susanna), Nardus Williams (Countess) and Julien Van Mellaerts (Count) lead the cast, joined by Ross Ramgobin as Figaro. The production will be conducted by George Jackson, directed by Oliver Platt and designed by takis.

Rodula Gaitanou’s acclaimed 2018 production of La traviata returns in revival, reuniting conductor Matthew Kofi Waldren with Lauren Fagan (Violetta), Matteo Desole (Alfredo), and Stephen Gadd (Germont).

The second new production of the 2021 Season is The Cunning Little Vixen (sung in English). Stephen Barlow, who has previously directed Tosca and Flight for OHP, returns to Holland Park, with Jenni France (Vixen) and Julia Sporsén (Fox), last seen together at OHP in the 2018 production of Ariadne auf Naxos. Jessica Cottis conducts.

Adele Thomas makes her OHP debut directing a new production of Mascagni’s romantic comedy, L’amico Fritz, alongside the Italian conductor, Beatrice Venezi. Kiandra Howarth leads the cast as Suzel, the girl next door who captures Fritz’s heart.

A co-production of The Pirates of Penzance with Charles Court Opera, directed by John Savournin, and starring Savournin, Yvonne Howard and Richard Burkhard, originally scheduled for 2020, closes the main season.

Nurturing young talent

The number of Young Artists Performances this season has been increased to four performances of The Marriage of Figaro, conducted by Lada Valešová and directed by Rebecca Meltzer. The 2020 Young Artists whose debuts were cancelled last summer, Charlotte Badham (Cherubino), Hannah Bennett (Marcellina) and Guy Withers (Basilio/Don Curzio), make their belated debuts with the 2021 cohort of Young Artists.

Opera Holland Park is also delighted to host British Youth Opera in August 2021, while The Royal Ballet School’s return to the theatre is eagerly expected in 2022. Further details of British Youth Opera’s plans and other guest artist appearances and residencies will be announced soon.

Working closely with the community

Despite a 60% reduction in capacity, Opera Holland Park has kept its annual percentage of free and accessible tickets. This year also sees the introduction of a programme of four Discovery Matinees. These performances specifically welcome people who want to try opera out for the first time in a relaxed environment, and those who love opera but find the normal theatre-going experience inaccessible. This year there will also be two Schools Matinee performances of The Marriage of Figaro on 16 and 22 June.

Opera Holland Park’s International Opera Award-winning outreach and education Inspire team is already planning activities to complement The Cunning Little Vixen, starting with the Clever Little Fox OperaUNITY session for families with children under the age of five or those with special educational needs, which takes place on Friday 11 June at 10am.

Opera for Thought, an Inspire project designed for those living with dementia, will focus on The Marriage of Figaro, and workshops will be available to those schools joining us for the Schools Matinees.