Tag Archives: Puccini

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.


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

Gen up on your Gianni

For the next edition in our trivia opera guide for novices and opera buffs alike, we take a look at  Puccini‘s one-act opera Gianni Schicchi.

  • The work is the third and final part of Puccini’s Il trittico (The Triptych)—three one-act operas. When Il trittico premiered in New York, Rome and London, Gianni Schicchi was an immediate hit and by 1920 Puccini had given his reluctant consent to separate performances. Gianni Schicchi has subsequently become the most-performed part of Il trittico and has been widely recorded
  • The libretto is based on an incident mentioned in Dante’s The Divine Comedy


  • The world premiere took place at the Metropolitan Opera (above image) in New York unusually without Puccini being there
  • Woody Allen directed Gianni Schicchi for Los Angeles Opera in 2008
  • Gianni Schicchi was to be the last opera Puccini ever completed

Gianni Schicchi is in rep at Opera Holland Park until 14 July.

Check out our Opera Holland Park Pinterest Board for more interesting facts on this year’s season.