Wednesday, 19 April 2017

A first Strauss and a new Mascagni: Opera Holland Park in 2018

 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
Mascagni's Iris at Opera Holland Park 2016  (Photo Robert Workman)
Opera Holland Park, taking advantage of its new found independence, is able to reveal more of the company's advanced planning. This means that details have been announced of the 2018 season which will feature four with new productions, with an intriguing mix of classics and rarities.

2018's real rarity is Mascagni's Isabeau, with Opera Holland Park following up its success with the 2016 production of Mascagni's Iris with another of this composer's undeservedly unknown operas. Again with a libretto by Luigi Illaca, who wrote Iris, the opera is a take on the Lady Godiva story, rich in Wagnerian symbolism. David Butt Philip will sing the role of Folco.

The company is also staging its first production of a Richard Strauss opera. Adriadne auf Naxos will be presented in 2018 in a new production directed and designed by Anthony Macdonald which is a co-production with Scottish Opera.  This will be OHP's second co-production, a welcome development, with last year's production of Rossini's La Cenerentola being their first (see my review). The new production of Ariadne auf Naxos premieres in Scotland in February and March 2018 and comes to OHP in July 2018. Brad Cohen conducts with Jennifer France (who played Adele in OHP's Die Fledermaus last year, see my review) as Zerbinetta, the American soprano Mardi Byers as the Prima Donna / Ariadne, Dutch tenor Kor-Jan Dusseljee as the Tenor / Bacchus and Stephen Gadd as Music Master.

Director Rodula Gaitanou (who directed last year's outstanding production of Vanessa at the Wexford Festival, see the review on and designer Cordelia Chisholm are responsible for a new production of Verdi's La Traviata, with Lauren Fagan making her role debut as Violetta. The final new production is Mozart's Cosi fan tutte which features a strong cast including Sarah Tynan as Despina, Kitty Whately as Dorabella and Nicholas Lester as Guglielmo.

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