Opera Holland Park first revealed details of its 2023 season in September. The west London-based company has now confirmed the full cast, creatives and date information.
The company’s 2023 season kicks off in May. It comprises four new productions: Verdi’s gripping tragedy Rigoletto (1851), Humperdinck’s cautionary fairytale Hansel and Gretel (1893) Puccini’s bittersweet portrait of love and friendship La bohème (The Bohemians, 1896) and Gilbert and Sullivan’s comedy of ancestral ghosts, obligatory wickedness and falsified tax returns, Ruddigore (1887), in a co-production with Charles Court Opera.
Completing the line-up is the world premiere of Jonathan Dove’s new opera for families, Itch. Commissioned by OHP, the work is based on the best-selling novels Itch and Itch Rocks by radio DJ Simon Mayo.
First on the roster is Rigoletto. The tragic story revolves around the licentious Duke of Mantua, his hunch-backed court jester Rigoletto and Rigoletto’s daughter Gilda. The duke and his jester are cursed by a courtier whose daughter the duke has seduced with Rigoletto’s encouragement. The curse comes to fruition when Gilda falls in love with the duke and sacrifices her life to save him from the assassin hired by her father.
The cast includes English baritone Stephen Gadd as Rigoletto, British-Irish soprano Alison Langer as his doomed daughter Gilda and Korean tenor David Junghoon Kim as the Duke of Mantua. The assassin Sparafucile is played by English bass Simon Wilding, with his sister Maddalena sung by British mezzo-soprano Hannah Pedley. English bass-baritone Matthew Stiff performs the role of the outraged father, Count Monterone.
This new production is staged by director Cecilia Stinton, while award-winning conductor Lee Reynolds wields the baton. It is designed by Neil Irish, with lighting by Jake Wiltshire. Dominic Ellis-Peckham is the chorus master.
Performances take place at Opera Holland Park’s specially built theatre on 30 May and 1, 3, 7, 9, 15, 17, 22, 24 June at 7.30pm.
Based on Grimm brothers’ fairytale of the same name, Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel tells the tale of two children lost in a haunted forest who are captured by an evil witch when they discover a gingerbread house.
British mezzo-soprano Charlotte Badham and Latvian soprano Laura Lolita Perešivana sing the roles of Hansel and Gretel respectively. Their parents, Peter and Gertrud, are sung by Welsh-Irish bass-baritone Paul Carey Jones and British soprano Meeta Raval respectively. Scottish soprano Eleanor Dennis is the Gingerbread Witch.
Director John Wilkie will stage this new production and the conductor is Karin Hendrickson. Designs are once again provided by Neil Irish and chorus master duties are again undertaken by Dominic Ellis-Peckham. The lighting designer is Robert Price and Michael Spenceley is the movement director.
Performances take place at 7.30pm on 10, 14, 21, 23 June. There is a relaxed matinee on 18 June at 2pm. Relaxed performances offer a laid-back approach to noises and movement from the audience, so are ideal for younger audiences and those who find it difficult to follow the usual conventions of theatre behaviour.
The Young Artists performance, showcasing the talents of Opera Holland Park’s Young Artists, takes place on 16 June at 7.30pm.
La bohème is one of the best-known operas in the repertoire. It tells of the love affairs between penniless poet Rodolfo and seamstress Mimì and artist Marcello and provocative singer Musetta.
English tenor Adam Gilbert sings the role of Rodolfo, with British Soprano Katie Bird as the doomed Mimì. British baritone Ross Ramgobin is Marcello, alongside English soprano Elizabeth Karani as Musetta.
Rodolfo and Marcello’s housemates, the musician Schaunard and Colline the philosopher, are sung by British baritone Harry Thatcher and British-Irish bass Barnaby Rea, respectively. British bass Henry Grant Kerswell takes on the roles of Alcindoro, Musetta’s rich lover, and Benoît, the four housemates’ landlord.
Natascha Metherell directs this new production, while conductor George Jackson wields the baton. Madeleine Boyd is the designer, with lighting by Charles Morgan Jones. The chorus master is Richard Harker.
Performances take place on 19, 21, 25, 27 and 29 July and 1, 3 and 5 August at 7.30pm. There is a relaxed matinee at 2pm on 23 July.
World premiere Itch, commissioned by Opera Holland Park, is about young element hunter Itchingham ‘Itch’ Lofte as he finds a new element with strange properties. As others learn of its existence, Itch and his friends and family are in increasing danger.
British tenor Adam Temple-Smith takes on the title role, with British-Indian soprano Natasha Agarwal as cousin Jack, English soprano Rebecca Bottone as mum Jude and American baritone Eric Greene as dad Nicholas.
Bottone also takes the role of Itch’s enemy Roshanna Wing, with English bass-baritone Nicholas Garrett as the brilliant but evil Nathaniel Flowerdew.
Jessica Cottis conducts this new production from director Stephen Barlow. It is designed by Frankie Bradshaw, with lighting by Jake Wiltshire
Itch premieres on 22 July at 7.30pm, with following evening performances on 26 and 28 July and 2 and 4 August. A relaxed matinee is on 30 July at 2pm.
The final production in Opera Holland Park’s 2023 season is Ruddigore in which a witch’s curse plays havoc with the Murgatroyd family, the baronets of Ruddigore, and the love between young Rose Maybud and the man she knows as Robin Oakapple.
Charles Court Opera favourites baritone Matthew Kellett and bass-baritone John Savournin play Sir Ruthven Murgatroyd, who has run away to the Cornish village of Rederring and disguised himself as a young farmer in order to escape the curse, and Sir Despard Murgatroyd, his brother who must now inherit – both the title and the curse – respectively.
Welsh soprano Llio Evans sings the role of Rose Maybud. English baritone Stephen Gadd is Sir Roderic Murgatroyd, the 21st baronet and a ghost, having fallen foul of the curse. English baritone Richard Suart is Robin’s faithful servant Old Adam Goodheart.
Charles Court Opera’s musical director David Eaton conducts, while Savournin, who is also the company’s founder and artistic director, directs. Designs are by Madeleine Boyd and the chorus master is Richard Harker.
Performances take place on 9, 10, 11 and 12 August at 7.30pm. A relaxed matinee is on 12 August at 2pm.
Tickets for all productions will go on sale shortly.
Opera Holland Park’s 2023 season comprises four new productions of well-known tragedies, a fairytale opera, a comedic farce and a world premiere.