Wednesday, 6 April 2016

From Footy to Verdi

left to right Adam, Harry and Rob
left to right Adam, Harry and Rob
Opera was, and to a certain extent still is, a spectator sport in Italy and one which everyone enjoys and takes part in. Though the opening night of the new season at La Scala in Milan is a glamorous occasion, there is far less a sense that opera is only for the upper classes and the glamorous. But in the UK opera going, as with many things, is still riddled with class prejudice.

It doesn't have to be like this, and now Michael Volpe, general director of Opera Holland Park, has made a charming film in which he challenges three Chelsea fans (Adam, Harry and Rob), men in their fifties, to learn more about opera. As well as being an opera nut, Volpe is himself a Chelsea fan and has detailed his own colourful beginnings on a council estate in his book Noisy at the Wrong Times. And Opera Holland Park makes admirable attempts to keep the doors wide open and encourage everyone to come, providing an operatic experience which aims to be affordable, approachable and high quality.

The new film is a lovely example of the delight which comes from finding opera is for you after all. The film shows the three men discovering opera, going to a rehearsal chorus at the Royal Opera House and seeing Verdi's La Traviata. One of them comments that he was shocked and surprised at how much he enjoyed it. It is a film full of character. You can watch the film on YouTube or see it after the break.

The Opera Holland Park season begins on 7 June 2016 with Mascagni's Iris directed by Olivia Fuchs.




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