Friday, 21 June 2013

Opera Holland Park Christine Collins Young Artists

Christine Collins Young Artists & Alan Opie in Gianni Schicchi  at Opera Holland Park 2012 (c) Kasete Skeen
Christine Collins Young Artists & Alan Opie in Gianni Schicchi
at Opera Holland Park 2012 
(c) Kasete Skeen
On Friday 14 June 2013 I went along to hear the Opera Holland Park Christine Collins Young Artists performing in Puccini's Madama Butterfly (see my review). The aim of the scheme is to give young singers the opportunity to perform the main roles in a full opera performance in the Opera Holland Park theatre. The singers are given full training, with their own dedicated associate director, in parallel to the main cast.

The scheme's title sponsor is the philanthropist Christine Collins and she not only provides the sponsorship which enables the scheme to run, but takes an active part in it attending auditions alongside Opera Holland Park Producer James Clutton and Associate Producer Sarah Crabtree. The scheme started last year, when a group of young singers performed in Puccini's Gianni Schicchi alongside Alan Opie in the title role. This year Anne Sophie Duprels sang the title role in Madama Butterfly with the remaining solo roles being taken by young artists.

The intention of the scheme is two fold, to provide a platform for young singers, but also to help Opera Holland Park grow a relationship with young talent, encouraging them to return for further roles and developing both the theatre and the audience's relationship with them. As a testament to this, a number of the young artists from the 2012 performance have returned to the 2013 festival. Oliver Platt and Matthew Waldren, associate director and associate conductor of the 2012 Young Artists performance of Gianni Schicchi have got full main stage jobs this year as the creative team for Les pecheurs de perles. Singers Chloe Hinton, Alistair Sutherland, Maud Millar and Nathan Morrison from the 2012 Young Artists performance are all returning with roles in the main stage production of Madama Butterfly (Maud Millar is also playing the 'Drink Me Bottle' in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland). Additionally Luis Gomes (Pinkerton in this year's Christine Collins Young Artists performance of Madama Butterfly) and three other of this year's young artists will be appearing in I Gioielli della Madonna.

Having seen both last year's Christine Collins Young Artists performance of Gianni Schicchi and this year's Madama Butterfly, I remain impressed with what the young artists have been encouraged to achieve and look forward to seeing them further on the Opera Holland Park stage.

The Opera Holland Park season runs until 3 August 2013, further information from the festival website.
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