Investec Opera Holland Park’s 2018 casts will feature an exciting mix of longstanding Opera Holland Park (OHP) performers, house debuts from established artists, and rising stars, across four brand new productions and 31 performances (28 of which are public). These principals are joined by the Opera Holland Park Chorus and City of London Sinfonia, which celebrates a 15-year partnership with OHP in 2018.
Verdi’s La traviata, returning to OHP after over a decade’s gap, opens the 2018 Season on 29 May, with a cast of predominantly familiar OHP faces. Lauren Fagan, who made her debut as Donna Anna in Don Giovanni in 2017, returns as Violetta and her lover Alfredo is played by Matteo Desole, making his OHP debut. The creative team are also established OHP names. Following La rondine last year, Matthew Kofi Waldren returns to conduct. Rodula Gaitanou, Cordelia Chisholm and Simon Corder, who last worked together at OHP on The Queen of Spades in 2016, take the roles of director, designer and lighting designer respectively. This production is sponsored by Viking Cruises.
Opening on 31 May, Mozart’s Così fan tutte makes a welcome reappearance at OHP after six years, in another new production. Eleanor Dennis makes her OHP debut as Fiordiligi and Peter Coleman-Wright as Don Alfonso. Four other principals return: Sarah Tynan as Despina, Kitty Whately as Dorabella, Nicholas Lester as Guglielmo, and Nick Pritchard (an OHP Young Artists Scheme alumnus) as Ferrando. The creative forces of conductor Dane Lam and director Oliver Platt reunite, having worked together most recently on the 2017 production of Don Giovanni. Alyson Cummins, who designed the sparkling 2017 production of Zazà, returns.
In 2018, OHP stages its first ever Richard Strauss opera, a co-production with Scottish Opera. Performances of Ariadne auf Naxos will be given in Scotland in March and April 2018 before the production moves to OHP in July. Mardi Byers and Kor-Jan Dusseljee make OHP debuts as the Prima Donna/Ariadne and The Tenor/Bacchus respectively, while OHP favourite Jennifer France returns as Zerbinetta. There are further house debuts from Alex Otterburn, playing Arlecchino; Daniel Norman as Scaramuccio; Elgan Llyr Thomas as Brighella; and John Molloy as Truffaldino. Stephen Gadd takes on his second production of OHP’s 2018 Season, in the role of The Music Teacher, and the voice of classical music on BBC Radio Scotland, Jamie MacDougall, plays The Dancing Master. The actress and author Eleanor Bron, who plays Carol Tregorran in The Archers, makes her debut on the OHP stage as The Major Domo. The conductor will be Brad Cohen, who last appeared at OHP in 2015 for Flight. Antony McDonald makes his OHP debut as both director and designer, with Wolfgang Göbbel as lighting designer and Lucy Burge as choreographer.
OHP continues its tradition of championing rare late Italian opera in 2018, adding Mascagni’s Isabeau to its repertoire. OHP dispelled the myth that Mascagni is a one-hit wonder with the sell-out production of Iris in 2016 and previous productions of L’amico Fritz and Zanetto. Anne Sophie Duprels, who wowed audiences with her portrayal of Iris in 2016 and Zazà in 2017, returns in the title role. David Butt Philip returns to OHP in the role of Folco, having sung in the chorus in 2009 and since become one of the UK’s leading tenors. King Raimondo will be sung by Mikhail Svetlov, who appeared in Kát’a Kabanová last summer; with George von Bergen returning to OHP as Cornelius, and Ermyntrude and Ermyngarde played by Nadine Benjamin and Joanna Marie Skillett respectively. Fiona Kimm is Giglietta, Oliver Brignall sings Il cavalier Faidit and Thomas Humphreys is L’araldo maggiore. The director Martin Lloyd-Evans and designer takis reunite, having collaborated on the 2017 production of La rondine and the 2016 production of Die Fledermaus. Francesco Cilluffo conducts, making his OHP debut.
Almost 1,000 young people from the borough and across London will have the chance to discover opera in a special Schools’ Matinee of La traviata on 13 June. It will give students in years 6 to 9 the opportunity to explore and experience an extraordinary professional opera with supporting pre-performance workshops and educational resource packs. Tickets cost just £5 per student, and will go on sale on 31 October 2017.
OHP is delighted to be welcoming back The Royal Ballet School for four Summer Performances at the end of June. There will be a chance to see some of the opera world’s rising stars in the prestigious Young Artists Performance of La traviata on 11 June. The cast will be announced in January.
The 2018 Season will once again be sponsored by Investec Wealth & Investment (IW&I), to which OHP is extremely grateful for ongoing sponsorship until October 2019. IW&I’s generosity enables productions of the highest quality as well as innovative schemes to widen access to opera, via the Inspire programme.
Investec Opera Holland Park’s 2018 Season will run from 29 May to 28 July. Tickets will be available from January. For further information please visit www.operahollandpark.com.