Tag Archives: Opera

OHP 2018: Views from the Pit

It’s been an incredible Season of operas at Opera Holland Park: our fifteenth Season as orchestra in residence. From ‘one of the most moving Traviatas’ (The Mail on Sunday) ever staged to the passionately performed (Opera Today) UK premiere of Mascagni’s Italian verismo, Isabeau, Opera Holland Park’s 2018 Season truly had it all.

‘City of London Sinfonia is getting better year on year’
Seen and Heard International (Isabeau)

Throughout the Season, some of the CLS team have been getting behind-the-scenes insight from City of London Sinfonia musicians, conductors and the Opera Holland Park team, all featured in our Views from the Pit podcast mini-series – available on SoundCloud and Apple Podcasts. There’s talk about the Season’s four productions, insight into the rehearsals and opera experiences over the years, as well as insight into a typical day in the life of a professional musician.

Let us know what you think by giving us a like, leaving a comment or a review. You can also tweet us @CityLdnSinfonia or via Opera Holland Park’s dedicated hashtag for the Season, #OHP2018.

Views from the Pit: episode guide

Episode 1: James Clutton and Matthew Swann

Opera Holland Park’s Director of Opera, James Clutton, and CLS Chief Executive Matthew Swann discuss how Opera Holland Park has evolved over the years, the collaboration between both organisations, making opera more accessible to the widest possible audience and, of course, the four operas performed in the 2018 Season.

SoundCloud | Apple Podcasts

Episode 2: Così fan tutte with the strings

Following 2017’s marvellous interval biscuit talk, violinist Charlotte Reid and violist Matthew Maguire return to our podcast series to talk about Così fan tutte and performing an opera after spending a couple of hours working with children at University College London Hospital. We’re also joined by violinist Gabrielle Painter who describes Isabeau and a typical performance day during an OHP show run.

SoundCloud | Apple Podcasts

Episode 3: La traviata with the brass

Two of the Orchestra’s longest-standing members, French horn Mark Paine and Tuba Stephen Wick talk about the exciting and challenging orchestral moments in Verdi’s La traviata. They also go down memory lane, having both been performing at Opera Holland Park since 2004.

SoundCloud | Apple Podcasts

Episode 4: Ariadne auf Naxos with the woodwinds

The woodwinds are very important in Richard Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos – an opera that Principal Oboe Dan Bates has loved for 20+ years. We join Dan and Principal Clarinet Katherine ‘Waffy’ Spencer after a six-hour rehearsal of the opera to find out more about the incredible orchestral and vocal writing in Strauss’ score.

SoundCloud | Apple Podcasts

Episode 5: Opera Holland Park with Brad Cohen

In the fifth and final episode of Views from the Pit, conductor Brad Cohen expresses his excitement about conducting Ariadne auf Naxos at Opera Holland Park, giving insight into the rehearsal process and the challenges of moving Ariadne from Glasgow to London. He also explains what makes opera a unique artform.

SoundCloud | Apple Podcasts

Views from the Pit is presented by Tasha Allery and Gabriele Neuditschko, and features rehearsal footage from OHP 2018 dress rehearsals (Così fan tutte, Ariadne auf Naxos, Isabeau) and OHP 2017 dress rehearsals (Zazà). Images © Ali Wright for Opera Holland Park, 2018.


Opera Holland Park 2017: Kát’a Kabanová and Zazà

We had an incredible 2017 Season, our fourteenth season as Orchestra in Residence, at Opera Holland Park. And just like with the first two operas, and all British open-air productions, the wind, rain and thunder threatened to overthrow performances in the second half of the Season – but to no avail. Here’s what some of the critics had to say about Kát’a Kabanová and Zazà…

WhatsOnStage (★★★★★) described Kát’a Kabanová as ‘Janáček’s most richly coloured and disturbingly flavoured score’ – with which conductor Sian Edwards agreed in our Views From The Pit podcast. Edwards, in her Opera Holland Park debut, was given full credit by the media, with Seen and Heard International exclaiming that ‘it was Sian Edwards’ conducting that lit the night up, inspiring the City of London Sinfonia to unheard-of heights’, and The Stage (★★★★) adding that ‘she and the City of London Sinfonia convey the score’s atmospheric power with incisive eloquence’.

Classical Source (★★★★★) loved Zazà, Leoncavallo’s ‘curious’ opera, in which ‘City of London Sinfonia and Peter Robinson was on fine form, relishing the music, and particularly well-managed were the off-stage banda and choral moments’, and the Daily Express (★★★★) thought ‘City of London Sinfonia under conductor Peter Robinson brings out the lushness of the score’. Despite Zazà not quite hitting the mark with The Times, other papers such as The Telegraph (★★★★) and The Guardian (★★★★) had plenty good to say about the new production, giving full praise to Peter Robinson’s ‘sensitive conducting’ of ‘Leoncavallo’s skillful orchestration’.

More from the press

Kát’a Kabanová

WhatsOnStage: ‘The belting City of London Sinfonia assails the ear with immaculately dosed helpings of romance and horror; and together with the OHP Chorus, whose members personify Kát’a’s paranoia in movement director Clare Whistler’s mime work, they respond rousingly to Sian Edwards’s rhapsodic conducting…’

The Stage: ‘Making her company debut in the pit, conductor Sian Edwards understands its complex style perfectly, and she and the City of London Sinfonia convey the score’s atmospheric power with incisive eloquence.’

The Spectator: ‘Sian Edwards conducted, and it was baleful, headstrong, ecstatic and raw…’

The Arts Desk: ‘Conductor Sian Edwards leads a well-paced account, nuanced but with no holding back at the searing climaxes… Rather than leitmotifs for the characters, Janáček employs different moods in the music to depict each, and Edwards did an excellent job of delineating these separate styles. She deserves much credit for the success of this revival, as does the entire cast for the compelling musical drama they make of this ensemble piece.’

Classical Source (★★★★): ‘Sian Edwards draws some powerful, idiomatic playing from the City of London Sinfonia, and she is a natural when it comes to releasing Janáček’s fleeting tenderness and realising his extraordinary powers of musical characterisation.’

Opera Today: ‘Sian Edwards drew precise, taut playing from the City of London Sinfonia…’

MusicOMH (★★★★): ‘Sian Edwards’ conducting is excellent, while all of the principals succeed in filling the large tented auditorium to good effect.’


The Telegraph: ‘Peter Robinson’s sensitive conducting honours the evanescent fragrances of Leoncavallo’s skillful orchestration…’

The Guardian: ‘Conductor Peter Robinson gets the tricky mix of glitz, sadness and sensuality exactly right.’

Evening Standard (★★★): ‘Conductor Peter Robinson delivers a rousing and, when necessary, raucous orchestral commentary.’

Daily Mail (★★★★): ‘This superb Zazà readily shows off many similar magic moments… There’s some truly beautiful music here, especially for the orchestra.’

Daily Express: ‘The City of London Sinfonia under conductor Peter Robinson brings out the lushness of the score and the Opera Holland Park Chorus supplies backstage bustle, while Louise Winter portrays dipsomaniac mother Anaide.’

The Independent (★★★★): ‘Peter Robinson’s expert conducting is a reminder that Leoncavallo was a resourceful orchestrator as well as a dependable librettist.’

The Stage (★★★★): ‘The City of London Sinfonia’s authoritative playing of Leoncavallo’s appealing and impassioned score under Peter Robinson’s vital baton sets the seal on this worthwhile re-launch.’

Bachtrack (★★★★): ‘Leoncavallo’s score is opulent, rich and melodious throughout, and Robinson conducts it with plenty of accent and a fair degree of precision.’

The Spectator: ‘The strings sweep upwards, the horns surge, and Leoncavallo’s Zaza throws itself into your arms.’

Planet Hugill: ‘…under Peter Robinson’s direction the City of London Sinfonia drew out the beauties of Leoncavallo’s rather luxuriant score.’

From Twitter

Opera Holland Park 2017: La rondine & Don Giovanni

We’re proud to be performing, as Orchestra in Residence, at Opera Holland Park in their Summer Opera Season once again in 2017. The reviews for the first two operas, La rondine and Don Giovanni, have been so great that we feel a lot like we’re in a Puccini nightclub sequence. Here’s what the critics have had to say so far…

Culture Whisper (★★★★★) was elated that the season-opener, the new production of La rondine, ‘illustrates to perfection what OHP does best’, adding that ‘in many ways the night belongs to conductor Matthew Kofi Waldren, spinning a sparkling City of London Sinfonia like a top’. The Guardian (★★★★) also showed admiration for ‘the City of London Sinfonia – brass especially – spirited and infectiously enthusiastic’.

WhatsOnStage (★★★★) crowned La rondine ‘a visual and musical feast’, and gave praise to ‘the ever-splendid City of London Sinfonia, whose annual residence is one of the company’s outstanding boasts, [who] played the score for all its worth under Matthew Kofi Waldren’s elegantly energised baton’, while the Daily Mail (★★★★) didn’t ‘expect to see anything much better this summer’.

In Don Giovanni, The Times (★★★★) announced that ‘[Dane] Lam’s general approach is invigorating… and the City of London Sinfonia plays vivaciously’, and WhatsOnStage’s (★★★★) reviewer turned up on a particularly weathersome night, remarking on the cast’s and orchestra’s resilience on a particularly ‘tempest-toss’d’ cruise ship: ‘gosh what a night….Opera Holland Park’s heroic stage company – and, especially, the splendid City of London Sinfonia under Dane Lam – carried on serenely while the audience adopted the brace position and clung for dear life.’

With the ‘gem-like orchestral colours’ (The Arts Desk) of La rondine, and a ‘great deal of musical panache’ (Limelight) in Don Giovanni, the Opera Holland Park 2017 Season has sailed to critical acclaim.

Photos © Stephen Thomas Smith for Opera Holland Park, 2017

More from the press

La rondine

The Guardian: ‘The chorus was on soaring form, the City of London Sinfonia – brass especially – spirited and infectiously enthusiastic. Conductor Matthew Kofi Waldren kept the tempi fluid and well paced. This was a buoyant start to a varied season.’

The Times (★★★★): ‘Everyone in Magda’s [Elizabeth Llewellyn] circle dreams of something, and the characterisation of the supporting ensemble… is a delight.’

The Arts Desk: ‘…what works here has most of the gem-like orchestral colours and vocal glamour it needs. Matthew Kofi Waldren is excellent at steering the deft mood-changes and easy lilt of the score…’

Bachtrack (★★★★): ‘Matthew Kofi Waldren drew a first-class performance from the City of London Sinfonia, revelling in the glorious froth and whimsy of the score, occasionally threatening to overpower the singers early on in the performance, but highlighting so much of the sweeping beauty and orchestral detail of Puccini’s writing that one could sit there and wallow in that alone.’

The Stage (★★★): ‘There’s lush support from the City of London Sinfonia under Matthew Kofi Waldren and the energetic Opera Holland Park Chorus.’

Seen and Heard International: ‘…the orchestration is magnificent and all credit to Matthew Kofi Waldren for coaxing the orchestra to its best…Dance rhythms were infectious; elsewhere, one heard a level of detail one might have considered unlikely given the quasi-outdoors setting…A special mention, too, for the leader, Martin Burgess and his various solos, all magical… In act three, Llewellyn and the orchestra conspired to provide moments of magic in her soliloquy as she reminisces.’

Daily Express (★★★★): ‘The City of London Sinfonia under Matthew Kofi Waldren gives a fine performance of Puccini’s evocative score.’

Financial Times (★★★★): ‘With two strong voices on the stage, conductor Matthew Kofi Waldren allows the City of London Sinfonia to raise its decibel levels above the average at Holland Park, and La rondine comes across as a more full-blooded opera as a result.’

The Independent (★★★★): ‘…a cast commandingly led by the charismatic Elizabeth Llewellyn, Matteo Lippi with his gorgeously Italianate bel canto, and Stephen Aviss as a flamboyantly camp and mellifluous poet. Direction by Matthew Kofi Walden is sure-footed, designs by takis are inventive.’

Don Giovanni

Classical Source (★★★★): ‘Dane Lam leads a very fleet account of the score, full of light and shade, with a beguiling propulsive quality about it; and there were many moments where the transitions between the orchestra and Stuart Wild’s admirable continuo (on piano) were seamless.’

Seen and Heard International: ‘Dane Lam and the City of London Sinfonia were firing on all cylinders throughout the performance’

Limelight (★★★★): ‘Lam…demonstrated a great deal of musical panache…The City of London Sinfonia obviously enjoy working with him and respond eagerly to his musical direction.’

The Stage (★★★): ‘…it’s in Dane Lam’s vital conducting and the clean-edged playing of the City of London Sinfonia that the performance shines most brightly’

Financial Times (★★★★): ‘In the title role, Ashley Riches has the elegance and swagger to make us believe in him to the bitter end, while Graeme Broadbent bellows authoritatively as the Commendatore.’

Evening Standard (★★★★): ‘In the pit, Dane Lam conducts firmly rather than elegantly, but the semi-open air acoustic allows occasional intrusions of birdsong — an effect that Mozart himself might have enjoyed.’

Culture Whisper (★★★★): ‘…this summery production of Mozart’s opera enjoys its comic potential from the outset’

Music OMH (★★★★): ‘Oliver Platt’s production for Holland Park not only succeeds in retaining the class system involved but, by being extremely innovative, delineates it to the full.’

City of London Sinfonia will be back in the Opera Holland Park pit in Kát’a Kabanová (starts 15 July) and Zazà (starts 18 July).

Pick of the Week: 1 April

Hull is getting naked 

This is no April fool. The people of Hull are invited to get naked for a work of art as part of  preparations as it becomes the UK City of Culture 2017.

Who you gonna call? An opera singer! Wait, what?

You can now book your own home opera therapy session – simply call the hotline and shortly an opera singer will arrive to serenade you in the comfort of your living room.

They’re making Guitar Hero for conducting

Dig out your baton and brush off your tails, Conductrix is a video game like Guitar Hero – but instead of playing a plastic guitar hooked up to a games console you’ll conduct a virtual orchestra, using gestures to control the tempo, dynamics and articulation.

And finally: it’s hard enough to sing – but this guy can WHISTLE Mozart’s Queen of the Night aria!

Mark Paine, CLS Horn Player talks OHP

2015 marks City of London Sinfonia’s twelfth year as Orchestra-in-Residence at Opera Holland Park, and we’re very sad that it all came to an end this weekend. In celebration of our collaboration with the festival, we caught up with one of our long-standing members, Mark Paine who has been with us from the very beginning.

We can’t believe it’s been 12 years since our (and your!) first production with OHP! What has been your favourite show over the years?

Yes this 2015 season is my twelfth at Opera Holland Park with CLS. I played in the orchestra’s first season back in 2004, starting with Bellini’s Norma, and I have played nearly every opera each summer since then. That makes 64 operas, averaging let’s say eight performances… bringing me to over 500 shows! Definitely a record of some sort. And it has been an absolute privilege and pleasure! I have been a part of some of the best music- and drama-making anywhere, and have been made, by the inspired owners James and Mike, to feel welcome at the very heart of the Opera Holland Park family. With 64 productions to choose from how can I single out one? If pushed I would have to say Janáček’s Káťa Kabanová back in 2009. But there are so many others I could mention. All of them have been in some way incredibly special, even ground-breaking.

From an orchestral musician’s perspective, what is the difference between performing on stage as part of a concert and in the pit as part of an opera?

Over the years I’ve been doing it, Opera Holland Park’s speciality has become the so-called verismo operas that burst while hot onto the Italian operatic scene in the early 20th century. Treading where no other opera company dares, OHP has unleashed onto the UK opera world six or so of these terrifying and unforgettable operas, to great acclaim. It has been wonderful to be a part CLS’s commitment to these spectacular undertakings, and literally to feel every one of us giving that little bit more, responding to the artistic challenge. CLS has matured as an orchestra by so doing.

What advice would you give to a CLS member who is embarking on their first production at OHP?

My advice to a CLS member embarking on their first production at OHP would be to take it incredibly seriously, to give it your absolute maximum. The rewards are rich and our contribution is noted and valued. It’s not just a lovely place to be on a summer’s eve; it’s something quite unique both professionally and personally.

Mark Paine and Joan Sutherland at Opera Holland Park, Summer 2009
Mark Paine and Joan Sutherland at Opera Holland Park, Summer 2009

And finally—any funny anecdotes?

My abiding memory of OHP… getting to meet the late Dame Joan Sutherland, who attended on crutches a performance that Richard Bonynge was conducting for OHP. I have been a fan of hers forever, and I managed to get some private time with her at the post-opera party. Desperate to talk to her about her legendary Lucia di Lammermoor triumphs, I had instead to let her tell me all about her beloved vegetable patch into which she had just fallen and broken both legs. But do you know it turned out better than I could have imagined – I got the true Joan, and a wonderful photo to treasure. Thank you OHP for everything.

OHP Behind the Scenes – The Musicians

Ever wondered what it’s like to work as a musician at Opera Holland Park? As Orchestra-in-Residence for the 11th year this year, we thought we’d give our lovely readers a teeny insight into the ‘orchestral life’ at this fantastic outdoor summer opera festival. With biscuits, gun shots, evening chills and more, we caught up with one of our longstanding members, Mark Paine (Horn) who told us some of his favourite memories and moments of his experience during his time in the OHP pit over the years (just to clarify, by ‘pit’ we mean the orchestral variety – not a muddy hole in the ground).


(C) Fritz Curzon
(C) Fritz Curzon

How long have you been playing at Opera Holland Park?

I think this is my 11th season can you believe! Well, ever since CLS first started doing it.


And what’s been your favourite opera?

Of course, everyone will say this – it’s terribly difficult to say. But my most memorable, and therefore favourite, has got to be L’amore dei tre re which we did with Peter Robinson. Without interval, it was a continuous crescendo from beginning to end and I guarantee you nobody took a breath in the audience until the final gun shot which finished it. It was just amazing.


I hear biscuits are essential for any performance at Opera Holland Park. How many packets of biscuits do you think the Orchestra have  consumed so far this season?

Shopping trip for biscuits for OHP!
Shopping trip for biscuits for OHP!


Haha how many packets? Well, probably 3 per night, so according to my mathematical calculations… About 100?! (He’s not far off here – we get through a shocking amount of biscuits!)


What makes performing at OHP different to other opera houses or opera companies that you’ve worked with?

Oh, a million things. The peacocks, the sub-zero temperature… It really is very, very special. It’s a combination of so many things. Great music, great operas, interesting repertoire and such engaged producers as James Clutton and Sarah Crabtree. It’s a fantastic company and a unique experience which is why I make sure I come back every season.


(C) Fritz Curzon
(C) Fritz Curzon

Coming up at Opera Holland Park

Bellini Norma, 19 July – 8 August

Cilea Adriana Lecouvreur, 24 July – 9 August

Opera Holland Park so far…

The summer months mean one thing and one thing only here at the City of London Sinfonia: Opera Holland Park! Marking our 11th consecutive year as orchestra-in-residence at “London’s Glydebourne”, this year’s season has got to be one of the finest. With so many fantastic productions to choose from –Britten’s haunting Turn of the Screw, Rossini’s ever-popular comedy La Barbiere di Siviglia and Bellini’s wonderful Norma…– and all amidst the leafy glades one of the most beautiful parks in West London, we couldn’t recommend the festival enough, even if only to witness the resident peacocks cooing along to the catchiest of arias or the tent-like theatre built upon the fragmentary ruins of Holland House.

Four weeks in and so far we’ve seen everything from counts, gold-miners, Sheriffs, Vegas-style polka saloons, doctors, barbers, disguise, love, lust, gambling, mischief and plenty of pizzazz. We also mustn’t forget the fantastic singers who really make the festival what it is. It’s definitely been a hectic, but very exciting, few weeks so far, and to think we are only half way through the season! Here are some of our favourite pieces of feedback from Opera Holland Park so far, along with some of the fantastic press it’s been getting:

La Fanciulla del West 

Stuart Stratford conducted the City of London Sinfonia on peak form“, David Gutman, Classical Source, 5 June

Conductor Stuart Stratford demonstrates an impeccable ear for the detail of superb Puccini’s orchestral writing“, George Hall, The Stage, 4 June

★★★ “Barlow just lets Puccini get on with it, which is probably why it works so well.”, Martin Kettle, The Guardian, 4 June

With the expert City of London Sinfonia, in their raised pit, on constant display, Puccini’s score was spread out before us in all its ingenuity. On so many occasions the sonic effects or rhythmic brilliance prompted the thought ‘Puccini? Surely not!’.” – Fiona Maddocks, The Observer, 8 June

★★★★”The overture starts with a blinding flash of light, a fierce bass note and an exhilarating crash of wild, sweet music from the City of London Sinfonia.” – Anna Picard, The Times, 5 June

Opera Holland Park has a knack of discovering young singers with big voices.” – Free News Pos, 8 June

★★★ “Puccini’s girl of the golden West has at last found the popularity she always deserved” – Richard Fairman, The Financial Times, 4 June


La Barbiere di Siviglia

★★★★”Matthew Waldren’s conducting is highly intelligent and controlled, and generates some beautiful playing from the City of London Sinfonia.” –  musicOMH, 14 June

The warm tone of Kitty Whately as a pretty and determined Rosina was well matched by the strong vocal power of Nicholas Lester as Figaro, and their late Act I dialogue Dunque io son … was a delight.” – Mark Ronan, 15 June

★★★★ “Lam had a confident control of the complex rhythms in Rossini’s music, with some nicely steady ensembles and a highly infectious elan. The City of London Sinfonia responded with some vibrantly vivid yet controlled playing.” – Planet Hugill, 16 June

★★★★”The City of London Sinfonia responded well to Matthew Waldren’s baton, his apt tempo choices and a persuasive musical momentum compensating for an absence of pointillist detail. The strings were on gleaming form...” – Whats On Stage, 12 June


Coming up at Opera Holland Park

Britten The Turn of the Screw, 1-12 July

Bellini Norma, 19 July – 8 August

Cilea Adriana Lecouvreur, 24 July – 9 August


All photos taken by Fritz Curzon, photographer-in-residence at Opera Holland Park.

Composer Focus: Mozart

As we approach our annual performance of Mozart’s Requiem with Polyphony, we couldn’t resist doing a post about this beloved composer.  Composing from the age of five, and already engaged as a court musician in Salzburg by the time he was 17, Mozart was the epitome of the child prodigy. His death was famously untimely, and historians, musicologists and conspiracy theorists alike have all enjoyed speculating over its exact cause, with the most salacious (and, therefore, persistent) rumour that Mozart was poisoned by fellow composer, Salieri, popularised by Peter Schaffer’s 1979 play, Amadeus.

Name: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozartmozart photos

Born: 27 January 1756. Died: 5 December 1791 (aged 35)

Nationality: Austrian

Background: The son of Leopold Mozart, a minor composer and an experienced teacher, Wolfgang was the youngest of seven children, five of whom died in infancy. He watched his older sister, Maria Anna (nicknamed Nannerl) begin clavier lessons when she was seven and he was three. Having watched Wolfgang’s delight at picking out thirds on the keyboard, Leopold started to teach his son a few minuets, only to soon find that he could play them faultlessly. Wolfgang married Constanze Weber in 1782, having been rejected by her older sister, Aloysia. He was also a member of the Masonic order, and scholars such as Katherine Thompson have explored the influences of this association in his work. Examples include the dotted figure, below, which appears in the overture of The Magic Flute and allegedly symbolises the Masonic initiation ceremony, in which the candidate knocks three times at the door to ask for admittance.

masonic mozart

Breakthrough: As children, both Mozart and Nannerl performed with their family as prodigies, travelling extensively throughout Europe. Mozart heard Allegri’s Miserere performed twice in Rome, and wrote it out by ear, thus producing the first unauthorised copy of the piece, which was jealously guarded by the Vatican. After returning with his father from Italy on 13 March 1773, Mozart was employed as a court musician by the ruler of Salzburg, Prince-Archbishop Hieronymus Colloredo.  During this time, Mozart acquired a number of admirers and began to compose extensively across genres, including symphonies, sonatas, string quartets, masses, and operas. However, dissatisfied with the lack of opportunity to compose opera, and the low pay of 150 florins a year, Mozart left his position, eventually settling in Vienna.

Requiem: Mozart’s unfinished Requiem was completed by Franz Xaver Süssmayr and was commissioned anonymously by Count Franz von Walsegg to commemorate his wife’s death. It is believed that Walsegg intended to pass the work off as his own, as he has been known to do. The flurry of myths about Mozart’s death, and his “instructions” on how to complete his Requiem, arguably stem from the actions of his wife, Constanze, who tried to attach as much Mozart-authenticity to the finished Requiem as possible.

Not enough Mozart for you?

Check out the trailer for Amadeus, the 1984 period drama based on the play by Schaffer. We can’t guarantee historical accuracy, but it’s a great film that was nominated for eight Academy Awards.

Visit our November 2012 blog posts for our Mozart Diaries series, and check out our website for a playlist featuring the Requiem, along with other pieces to be performed next Wednesday!

Our Mozart Requiem with Polyphony will be performed at St John Smith’s Square on Wednesday 13 November at 7.30. More information about the concert, and how to book tickets, is available on our website.

Zany for Zanetto

As the Gianni Schicchi/Zanetto double bill at Opera Holland Park comes to an end this week, we focus on Mascagni‘s lesser known one act opera Zanetto.


1.    Mascagni had so many devoted fans during his lifetime that ‘mascagnano‘ was recognised as a common noun in the Italian dictionary.

2.    The premiere of Zanetto in 1896 featured as part of the annual celebrations for Rossini’s birthday.

3.    A private performance of Zanetto was held in London shortly after the Italian premiere, with Italian sisters Sofia and Giulia Ravogli.

4.    Five years ago in June 2007, Zanetto was performed in New York for the first time since its US premiere in October 1902.

5.    Giovanni Targioni-Tozzetti, the librettist for Zanetto (along with Guido Menasci), was a lifelong friend of Mascagni’s, born in the same year and city.


The remaining performances of the Gianni Schicchi/Zanetto double bill are on July 12 & 14 at 7.30pm, as well as The Christine Collins Young Artists’ performance on July 14 at 2pm.

Retrospect – June in pictures

June was a busy month for us with the start of our ninth season at Opera Holland Park, a UK premiere of Gluck’s Il trionfo di Clelia at the Royal Opera House and several education projects inbetween. We started the month in good spirits celebrating the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in style with our friends at Piano House and finished by humming along to Donizetti, Mozart and Puccini.

Here’s a few pictures from the past month…


Gillian and Alex raise their cups for the Diamond Jubilee



Watching Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor which opened this year’s Opera Holland Park 2012 season



Gillian, our Education Manager, received a new instrument to add to her collection



A few of our players performing at Great Ormond Street Hospital



Preparing the set for Clelia at the Linbury Studio Theatre, downstairs at the Royal Opera House



Rehearsing for Il Trionfo di Clelia