Live opera is set to return to Kensington with a summer festival of four productions by Opera Holland Park (OHP) and a co-production with Charles Court Opera, west London-based opera company OHP has announced.

The festival comprises Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro (1786), Verdi’s La traviata (The Fallen Woman, 1853), Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen (1924), Mascagni’s L’amico Fritz (Friend Fritz, 1891) and Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance (1879).

The five headline operas “trace an exhilarating route from the gardens of Andalusia via a country house near Paris and the vineyards of Alsace to the forests of Moravia, before heading to the West Country of England,” OHP said in a statement.

Performances will take place in a new 400-seat performance space, created by Opera Holland Park and theatre designer takis. The open-air theatre has been built from sustainable materials and specially designed to provide safe social distancing and greater accessibility.

The season starts in June with Mozart’s sublime comedy The Marriage of Figaro (1-26 June). The new production promises a “wedding day to remember – but not for the reasons you’d expect”. It stars baritone Julien Van Mellaerts as Count Almaviva, sopranos Nardus Williams and Elizabeth Karani as Countess Almaviva and Susanna respectively and baritone Ross Ramgobin as Figaro. George Jackson conducts the City of London Sinfonia and the Opera Holland Park Chorus

Next is La traviata (5-29 June), a revival of OHP’s 2018 production. It sees sopranos Lauren Fagan and Alison Langer sharing the role of Violetta and tenors Matteo Desole and Stephen Aviss that of Alfredo. Baritone Stephen Gadd as Giorgio Germont, mezzo-sopranos Laura Woods and Ellie Edmonds as Flora and Annina respectively and baritone Mike Bradley as Gastone make up the rest of the cast, with Matthew Kofi Waldren conducting.

The following month sees a new English-language version of Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen (13-30 July). This exuberant tale of the joys, thrills, fears and sorrows of life features sopranos Jennifer France as the Vixen (with Harriet Eyley taking over the role on 25 July) and Julia Sporsén as the Fox, with baritone Grant Doyle as Forester and mezzo-soprano Ann Taylor as his wife. The production is conducted by Jessica Cottis.

The final new production from OHP is Mascagni’s L’amico Fritz, a feel-good romantic comedy about marriage (16-31 July). It stars soprano Kiandra Howarth as Suzel, baritone Paul Carey Jones as David, mezzo-soprano Kezia Bienek as Beppe, baritone Themba Mvula as Hanezò and soprano Rose Stachniewska as Caterina. Beatrice Venezi conducts.

Closing the series is Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance (3-7 August). This co-production with Charles Court Opera (CCO) – “the masters of G&S in small places” – is directed by CCO’s Artistic Director John Savounin, who also takes the role of the Pirate King; the company’s Music Director David Eaton conducts. Tenor Peter Kirk plays Frederic. The part of the Major-General is sung by baritone Richard Burkhard, while his daughters Mabel and Edith are played by sopranos Daisy Brown and Alys Roberts respectively.

For more details and how to book, see Opera Holland Park’s website



Opera Holland Park’s newly designed open-air theatre will host a festival of opera this summer.