Friday, 3 February 2012

Opera Holland Park 2012 season

Opera Holland park have announced their new season. As usual it is an interesting mix of core repertoire with one or two less familiar items. Opera Holland Park has become known for its championing of lesser known works by the verismo school. This year they are doing Zanetto a 1-act opera by Mascagni, first performed in 1896. It is a relatively miniature piece, using just 2 singers and with a gentle score that is a long way from the world of Cavelleria Rustican, but then Mascagni had a habit of not writing the same thing twice. The singers are Patricia Orr (in the title role, a trouser role) and Janice Watson. It will be paired with Gianni Schicchi, which needs no introduction, but in fact this will be OHP's first production of the opera. Alan Opie will be taking the title role.

Another comedy closes the season, Verdi's Falstaff in a production by Annilese Miskimmon (always someone to watch) with OHP regular Olafur Sigurdson in the title role, conducted by Peter Robinson. The season opens with Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor. The director is Olivia Fuchs, which should guarantee some interesting slants on the opera; she has contributed quite a few interesting productions at OHP in the past. The title role is sung by Elvira Fatyakhova, a Russian lyric coloratura soprano who has worked a lot in Australia singing Lucia, Elvira and Gilda. Edgardo will be sung by Aldo di Toro.

Core repertoire is covered in productions of Cosi fan tutte and Eugene Onegin. In Cosi director Harry Fehr will have a very interesting young quartet of soloists, Elizabeth Llewellyn, Julia Riley, Andrew Staples and Dawid Kimberg. Llewellyn caused quite a sensation when she appeared as the Countess in the recent ENO Le Nozze di Figaro.  I have followed Riley's career with interest since college, with Cendrillon; since then she has contributed some very striking male roles in Handel and Cavalli. Fehr himself is an ex-ROH Young Artist.

Eugene Onegin will have Mark Stone in the title role, with Tatyana sung by Anna Leese who was in last year's L'Amico Fritz at OHP. Daniel Slater will direct; conductor Alexander Polianichko, making his OHP debut, comes with a very impressive pedigree.

For children, Tobias Picker's opera Fantastic Mr. Fox makes a return.

Pricing remains keen (£12.50 to £65.50), which given the high levels of production and casting seems a bargain. All in all an interesting season with a nice mix of the well known and the unusual, plus some very striking young singers.


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