Love, loss, death and the thrill of the dance are the themes of the summer 2020 season at Opera Holland Park (OHP), the London-based company has announced, with six brand new productions in the programme, which includes 40 performances from 2 June to 8 August.
The season features a mix of well-known favourites and rarely heard works. It opens with Tchaikovsky’s tragedy of first love and second thoughts, Eugene Onegin (1879). This much-loved opera is a powerful tale of youthful love and heartbreak.
OHP’s new production will be directed by Julia Burbach, making her company debut. She was a finalist in the Newcomer category of the 2019 International Opera Awards and winner of the 2019 Off West End Award for Best Opera Production.
Next is a new version of Verdi’s hugely popular exposé of unchecked power, ruined innocence and revenge, Rigoletto (1851). English baritone Stephen Gadd takes the title role, with British soprano Anna Patalong as Gilda, his daughter.
Matthew Kofi Waldren returns to conduct his third Verdi opera in three consecutive OHP seasons. The production is directed by Natascha Metherell, who has previously worked at the Royal Danish Opera and the Liceu, Barcelona.
In an exciting development, OHP will be hosting its first Discovery Matinee. This performance of Rigoletto will be a relaxed presentation with a touch tour, audio-description and accessible pricing to allow newcomers to discover opera.
The third production of the season is Lehár’s romantic comedy The Merry Widow (1905), sung in a new English translation by Kit Hesketh-Harvey with Giles Havergal. The lead couple of Hanna Glawari and Count Danilo will be performed by Swedish soprano Julia Sporsén and baritone Alex Otterburn respectively.
Christopher Luscombe, an associate artist of the Royal Shakespeare Company, makes his OHP debut as director of the production. John Andrews is the conductor.
A double-bill of lesser-known works comprises Margot la Rouge (1902), Delius’s only verismo opera, receiving its first major UK staging and the two-act version of Puccini’s early work Le Villi (The Fairies, 1884).
In the former, soldier Thibault recognises his first love in a brothel. The girl he knew as Marguerite is now Margot, and the lover of a pimp. In the second Anna – abandoned and forgotten by her sweetheart, Roberto – dies of a broken heart. When he returns, penniless and repentant, Anna and the Willis, the haunted spirits of abandoned brides, lure him into a fatal dance.
Martin Lloyd-Evans (director), takis (designer), Francesco Cilluffo (conductor) and Jake Wiltshire (lighting designer) form the creative team for both works.
The final production in the season sees Charles Court Opera making their OHP debut with a new version of Gilbert and Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance (1879). The piece is directed by John Savournin, the company’s artistic director and senior producer, and conducted by Resident Musical Director David Eaton. It marks the first production of a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta at Holland Park for 20 years.
The summer season starts on 2 June, with performances continuing to 8 August. Priority booking opens on 22 January, with general tickets on sale from 26 February.
The summer 2020 season at Opera Holland Park opens on 2 June. A total of six new productions form a packed programme (Opera Holland Park).