I gioielli della Madonna - Opera Holland Park, 23 July 2013
London operagoers in search of a spot of incest were spoilt for choice last night. Over at the Royal Albert Hall, Siegmund got acquainted with Sieglinde in Die Walküre. Just a mile away, moody Neapolitan blacksmith Gennaro was busy raping his slutty adoptive sister in the latest of Opera Holland Park's obscure verismo revivals, I gioielli della Madonna. Not all of OHP's past efforts have hit the mark, but these 'jewels' are a real 'buried treasure'. Oh yes.
“He’s known as Giacomo, after Puccini,” Mike Volpe, general manager of OHP, told the Standard. “He’s moved his nest closer to the stage so we think he likes the opera.”
Hang on -"he"?
According to the RSPB, who should know about these things, the robins' nest is built by the female alone, and she alone incubates the eggs.So unless Mr Volpe has got close enough to examine his new tenant's credentials, it seems a more feminine name might be in order.
The RSPB also point out that robins "will easily desert the nest if they think that the nest has been discovered."
Proof that opera companies never talk to each other. With recent stagings by English Touring Opera (conventional but revelatory) and ENO (best forgotten) cutting into each other's audiences, Eugene Onegin is the opera of the year. Now Opera Holland Park enter the fray.
Zanetto / Gianni Schicchi - Opera Holland Park, 22 June 2012 (opening night)
Kudos to Opera Holland Park for continuing, year after year, to revive long-forgotten Italian operas. But in the case of Mascagni's one act Zanetto, I wonder if it was worth the effort. The ruminative non-plot and politely anonymous music make its 40 minutes pass like four hours.
The weather had improved marginally by Saturday - theoretically midsummer - but no-one was dressing for the calendar. Even the tutelary goddess of W11, Dame Lady Antonia Fraser, was wisely wrapped in full winter wear as a devious wind flicked scarves into eyes and hair into lipgloss.
Pity the singers, with their expanses of 18th century bosomage exposed to every chilly draft.
Lucia di Lammermoor - Opera Holland Park, 12 June 2012
There's nothing to beat open-air opera on a warm summer's evening. But the winter coats and woolly hats were out in force on Tuesday night for the chilliest start to a Holland Park season that I can remember.
Opera Holland Park have yet again changed the system for buying the limited number of £12 'Inspire' seats. These now go on sale before the the others (meaning that if you miss out, you have the opportunity to buy a more expensive seat later) and will be sold online only. The tickets will be sold in three batches on different dates in April, and there's a limit of 2 tickets per production and 6 tickets in total for each applicant. Full details on the OHP website.
The other change is a new wealth redistribution scheme called "sponsor and inspire". Friends of OHP (who pay £45+ a year for advance booking privileges) will be invited to donate £40 to convert one of the higher priced seats to an Inspire seat. OHP hope a few hundred might do so. Everyone who forks out will have their name printed on the ticket for that seat. Will that encourage the many corporate customers to loosen their purse strings I wonder?
If you're interested in becoming a Friend, you need to join by 6 January to qualify for advance booking (includes the incomprehensibly coveted picnic tables as well as tickets).
I expressed some reservations about Opera Holland Park's new distribution method for their cheap £12 'Inspire' tickets at the time it was announced. And, wouldn't you know it, my predictions materialised.