Opera Holland Park (OHP) has announced that its 2024 season will feature the opera house’s first production of an opera by Handel. The German composer’s Acis and Galatea (1718) will bring the season to a close.

OHP’s 2024 season opens with a revival of Stephen Barlow’s 2008 production of Puccini’s Tosca (1900). With the action moved to the heat, glamour and corruption of 1960s Rome, the plot sees the corrupt chief of police Scarpia meet his match in the diva Floria Tosca, who is trying to prevent the execution of her lover, Mario Cavaradossi, as a member of the resistance.

Portuguese tenor José de Eça makes his company debut as Cavaradossi, South African soprano Amanda Echalaz returns to the role of Tosca. Matthew Kofi Waldren conducts.

The production is the first of two Puccini operas in the programme, marking the centenary of the great composer’s death. The second is Edgar (1889), Puccini’s homage to Wagner. Three semi-staged performances will provide a rare opportunity to experience this seldom-performed early romance.

Set in mediaeval Flanders, it tells the story of the eponymous knight who must choose between vice and virtue, personified by two women: the hedonistic Tigrana and the chaste Fidelia. Based on Alfred de Musset’s play, Le coupe et les lèvres, it is a tale of regret and redemption.

Ruth Knight directs British tenor Peter Auty in the title role, with French soprano Anne Sophie Duprels as Fidelia and British soprano Gweneth Ann Rand as Tigrana.

Cecilia Stinton’s new production of Rossini’s classic comedy The Barber of Seville (1816) sees Figaro – the barber of the title – turn puppet-master as he tries to prevent the beautiful Rosina’s wedding to ageing Doctor Bartolo, and instead cement a match between her and Count Almaviva.

An unusual double-bill is a new production of Leoncavallo’s true crime tragedy Pagliacci (Clowns, 1892) and a revival of John Wilkie’s acclaimed 2019 staging of Wolf-Ferrari’s comedy Il segreto di Susanna (Susanna’s Secret, 1909). These two very different approaches to marital jealousy contrast Wolf-Ferrari’s elegant honeymoon comedy with Leoncavallo’s violent story of a double murder.

When Gil detects the scent of a cigarette in his apartment, he assumes that his wife Susanna has taken a lover, but her secret is not what it seems. Anglo-Swiss baritone Richard Burkhard sings Count Gil, with British mezzo-soprano Clare Presland as Countess Susanna and British bass-baritone John Savournin as Sante.

Renowned British tenor David Butt Philip returns to OHP to make his role debut as the murderous Canio the clown in Martin Lloyd-Evans’s new production of Pagliacci. British-Irish soprano Alison Langer sings the role of Nedda, Canio’s unhappy wife, with British baritone Harry Thatcher as her lover, Silvio.

Closing OHP’s season is Acis and Galatea. Based on an episode in Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Handel’s tragicomic serenata celebrates love, loss and transformation as as the sea nymph Galatea and the shepherd Acis celebrate their mutual love, enraging the lustful cyclops, Polyphemus.

Louise Bakker directs and Michael Papadopoulos conducts, with British tenor Anthony Gregory and English soprano Elizabeth Karani as the lovers, Acis and Galatea. South African bass-baritone Chuma Sijeqa takes the role of Polyphemus.

Opera Holland Park will also be hosting a co-production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic opera The Yeomen of the Guard (1888) with Charles Court Opera. In the gloomy bulk of the Tower of London, Colonel Fairfax awaits his execution for the crime of sorcery. The arrival of two strolling players,however, sets the scene for a daring escape.

Charles Court Opera’s artistic director and CEO John Savournin directs and takes the role of Wilfred Shadbolt, head jailor and assistant tormentor. David Eaton conducts the City of London Sinfonia in this new production.

Further information is available from Opera Holland Park, including dates, times and ticketing.



Opera Holland Park’s 2024 season opens with a revival of Stephen Barlow’s 2008 production of Puccini’s Tosca.