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Thursday, 9 June 2016

Zaza, Magda, Katya & the Don - Opera Holland Park announces 2017 season

 Anne Sophie Duprels as Iris and Noah Stewart as Osaka in Iris at Opera Holland Park 2016. Photo Robert Workman
 Anne Sophie Duprels as Iris and Noah Stewart as Osaka
in Iris at Opera Holland Park 2016. Photo Robert Workman
Opera Holland Park's 21st season opened on Tuesday 7 June 2016 with Mascagni's Iris; the first season with the opera company an independent charity rather than being part of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. The company has also announced its plans for the 2017 season, and perhaps top of the list is the fact that their major sponsor, Investec, has announced that it will be continuing to sponsor the company for another three years from 1 October 2016, which will see the company's sponsorship running to an impressive nine years.

For 2017 the number of operas will drop to a more manageable four, rather than the current five, but the number of performances will stay the same. The repertoire is the familiar mix of the known and the unknown, and clearly going independent has not robbed Michael Volpe (general director) and James Clutton (director of opera) of their taste for the unusual. So the repertory for 2017 includes new productions of Puccini's La Rondine, the First World War era near operetta that has tended to be on the sidelines of the repertory until recently, Leoncavallo's Zaza, a real rarity which was triumphantly revived last year by Opera Rara and whose links to Cilea's Adriana Lecouvreur (both are set backstage at the theatre) make it an obvious choice for OHP, and Mozart's Don Giovanni. Olivia Fuch's highly regarded 2009 production of Janacek's Katya Kabanova will also be making a welcome return. The season also includes performances from the Royal Ballet School.

The company's press release also mentions extending the company's work into the winter months, which is an extremely intriguing prospect and will help to give the newly independent company a greater sense of its own personality (not that OHP is lacking that). Plans include a small concerts series, community productions, and singer development events as well as providing space in the summer season for new initiatives like Schools Matinees and Open Days.

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