Tuesday 15 August 2023

Puccini centenary and a Handel first: Opera Holland Park's 2024 season

Puccini: Tosca - Amanda Echalaz - Opera Holland Park in 2008 (Photo Fritz Curzon)
Puccini: Tosca - Amanda Echalaz
Opera Holland Park in 2008 (Photo Fritz Curzon)
Next year is the centenary of Puccini's death and Opera Holland Park is celebrating the event in style in its recently announced 2024 season. 

Stephen Barlow's striking 2008 production of Tosca, set in Rome in the 1960s, is set to return having last been seen in a revival at the Richmond Theatre in 2009, and alongside this there will be a semi-staging of Puccini's second opera Edgar. The plot, based on a play by Alfred de Musset, centres on medieval knights struggling with sensual indulgence and love, unsurprisingly influenced by Wagner's Tannhauser. Unsuccessful at its premiere in 1889, Puccini continued to tinker with the work until 1905. The work wasn't premiered in the UK until 1967 (by Hammersmith Municipal Opera) and its last major UK staging seems to have been by New Sussex Opera in 2012.

Alongside these two, the 2024 season also features a new production of Rossini's The Barber of Seville, which will also be the Opera Holland Park Young Artists production. A new production of Leoncavallo's Pagliacci will feature alongside a revival of John Wilkie's 2019 production of Wolf-Ferrari's comedy Il segreto di Susanna, [see my review] offering two contrasting takes on marital jealousy.

The season will also feature Opera Holland Park's first Handel production with a staging of his pastoral serenata, Acis and Galatea, originally written in a chamber version for performance at the Duke of Chandos' house, Cannons, where it was probably performed out of doors. Handel then later expanded and adapted the work for the London stage. The season at Opera Holland Park is completed with the company's fourth collaboration with Charles Court Opera when they will be staging Gilbert & Sullivan's The Yeomen of the Guard.

City of London Sinfonia returns in 2024 for its 20th anniversary as resident orchestra for all six productions. The Opera in Song recital series curated by Julien Van Mellaerts and Dylan Perez returns for its fourth year.

Full details from the Opera Holland Park website.

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