My Opera Experience

John Savournin

Award-winning British bass-baritone and artistic director and senior producer at Charles Court Opera

John Savournin

What was your first opera?

I think it was Gilbert and Sullivan’s Trial by Jury (1875), a youth production in which I played the Learned Judge, opposite my elder (and much taller!) sister.

What was the last opera you saw and where?

Opera North’s production of The Marriage of Figaro (Mozart, 1786). I was performing with the company in another opera at the same time, and stole a night to catch it at the Leeds Grand Theatre.

What is your favourite opera and why?

I find it difficult to choose just one, but I am a huge fan of Tosca (Puccini, 1900). It’s downright thrilling.

How did you get into opera?

My parents were (and still are!) amateur enthusiasts, and they introduced me to it through local operatic societies. It’s been a part of my life for as long as I can remember.

What opera would you recommend to a newcomer and why?

Any by Puccini. They are dramatically engaging, and usually not too long! Some of them even come in bite-sized ‘acts’ of 30-40 minutes each – Tosca is made up of three short chunks like this – so you get plenty of chances to recharge.