Opera Holland Park's 2010 season opened tonight to the sound of water on canvas. Yes, it's June, so it must be raining. OHP usually, miraculously, miss the very worst of the capricious summer weather, but today it was a geriatric Glasto, puddles everywhere, a leaking roof and a trail of mud. And effing freezing to boot. You don't go to a summer opera festival to see your own breath.
Olivia Fuchs's new production of Pelléas et Mélisande didn't stand a chance.
We stuck it out till the interval, ninety minutes of shivering in the damp and wind to the patter of falling rain, then cold-footed it home for warming cups of tea, missing out on what promised to be some solid performances, particularly from Palle Knudsen (Pelléas) and Anne Sophie Duprels (Mélisande). Yannis Thavoris's all-white set, scattered with huge geometric shapes like a bodged Ikea kitchen, was less successful, often dominating the singers' attention as they struggled around it. Still, I would have liked to have given it a fair go, but there's a reason why Wagner erected a Festspielhaus and not a tent.