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Opera Now provides a unique and all-encompassing perspective on the international opera scene through its lively and colourful mix of news, reviews, interviews, travel articles and commentary.

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Preview: Opera Holland Park 2016 season

3 February 2016

Opera Holland Park's 2016 season comprises 35 main-stage performances of five operas (all new productions).

The 2016 season, which runs 7 June - 13 August, marks 20 years since the company was established, and its 21st season. It is also its first season since the company secured its independence from the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.

The season will include the company's first co-production: Rossini's La Cenerentola, in collaboration with Danish National Opera. Oliver Platt will direct the work, with a cast including Nico Darmanin, Nicholas Lester, Victoria Simmonds and Jonathan Veira.

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland Photo: Alex Brenner
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
Photo: Alex Brenner

A rare performance of Mascagni's Iris will be directed by Olivia Fuchs, with a the cast including Anne Sophie Duprels in the title role, with Noah Stewart as Osaka.

Tchaikovsky's The Queen of Spades will appear in a new production by Rodula Gaitanou, with a cast including Natalya Romaniw as Lisa, Peter Wedd as Hermann, and Rosalind Plowright as the Countess.

Martin Lloyd-Evans will direct Johann Strauss II's Die Fledermaus, which features Jennifer France as Adele, Ben Johnson as Gabriel von Eisenstein and Susanna Hurrell as Rosalinde. 

Stephen Barlow's new production of Puccini's La bohème will feature Anna Patalong and Shaun Dixon as Mimì and Rodolfo. Members of OHP's Christine Collins Young Artists scheme will perform the work on 24 June.

The season is completed by Will Todd's family opera Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, which will return for the fourth year, and four performances from the Royal Ballet School.

Booking opens on 15 February at 10am, with tickets costing £15-£75.

Opera Holland Park

ENO announces recipients of Charles Mackerras fellowship

26 January 2016

Conductors Toby Purser and Matthew Waldren have been appointed as joint recipients of the English National Opera Charles Mackerras fellowship.

This is the first time the award will be shared by two conductors, who will take up the two-year positions in September 2016.

Purser and Waldren will have the opportunity to assist on ENO productions and will have full access to the casting, staging and production departments. They will receive mentoring from music director Mark Wigglesworth, with whom they will be able to travel in order to make contacts across the operatic world.

'The panel was unanimous that both Matthew Waldren and Toby Purser revealed the right combination of potential and skill to benefit from this amazing opportunity,' said Wigglesworth, 'And so sharing the Fellowship was the inevitable and exciting outcome of this year's audition process. I look forward to welcoming these two exceptional talents to English National Opera.'

By the end of his tenure, current fellow Fergus Macleod will have assisted on eight productions. He said: 'My time at ENO has been invaluable. It is a truly incredible place to work. The support and guidance I have received, not only from Mark and Ed but from the whole company, will guide me for many years to come.

'I hope that Matthew and Toby find the scheme as beneficial as I have and wish them all the very best for their time at such a special company.'

Purser assisted on the world premiere of Julian Anderson's Thebans for ENO in 2014, and made his company conducting debut with two performances of The Marriage of Figaro later that year. He regularly conducts at Grange Park Opera and has performed at the Buxton Festival. He is founder and conductor of the Orion Orchestra.

Waldren was appointed music director of the inaugural Christine Collins young artist scheme at Opera Holland Park in 2012, where he recently conducted Lakmé and Il Barbiere di Siviglia. Recent engagements include Alice's Adventures in Wonderland at the Royal Opera House and assisting Xian Zhang on ENO's La bohème in 2015.

The ENO Charles Mackerras fellowship marks the legacy of the company's music director between 1970 and 1977. The scheme was launched in 2012, with Gergely Madaras the inaugural fellow.

ENO Charles Mackerras fellowship

ENO responds to rumours over cutting its chorus

21 January 2016

English National Opera (ENO) has responded to reports that it is to cut its chorus members’ contracts.

Norman Lebrecht’s Slipped Disc blog states that the company has been told of plans to cut chorus members’ contracts to 75%, and that they will be out of work from May to August. The news also features in today’s Independent.

A spokesperson said: ‘We have to be able to operate with significantly reduced funding. As a consequence, we need to look at developing a more flexible way of working while maintaining our artistic integrity. We are unable to comment on specific arrangements, as we are currently in the early stages of negotiations with unions.’

A representative of the Musicians’ Union confirmed that it is engaged in a dialogue with the ENO management, but that there is nothing to comment on as yet.

The issue made national news last month when a number of figures from the opera world wrote a letter to the Times to express their concern that the chorus would be eliminated.

ENO has been under financial pressure since Arts Council England (ACE) announced that it would not be admitted into its national portfolio of organisations for 2015-18 in February 2015.

ACE announced in November 2015 that it would extend funding until 2018, but the company would remain under special monitoring arrangements.

It noted that ENO had made good progress in improving its operations, but still has further work to do to ensure its future sustainability.

ROH to introduce e-ticket service

19 January 2016

A Royal Opera House e-ticket
A Royal Opera House e-ticketROH, 2016

The Royal Opera House is introducing an e-ticket system for those making online ticket purchases.

The decision follows a survey in which a high proportion of those questioned said that they value the convenience offered by e-ticketing.

The e-ticket will replace the online option to collect tickets from the box office, and will become the standard option for international customers, students and those buying tickets within a few days of the performance.

The roll-out of the e-ticket system began on 18 January with those purchasing for the dedicated student performance of Frankenstein, and will be available to all customers buying summer season tickets from 16 February. The option will initially only be available online.

E-tickets can be displayed on a mobile device or printed. They will be made available through a link in the order confirmation email and sent directly as a reminder shortly before the performance. They can also be accessed from the 'Upcoming events' section of the website.

Applications open for the Rhinegold Charity Fund

18 January 2016

Charities operating within the music sector are invited to submit their applications for the Rhinegold Charity Fund 2016/17.

The successful charity will receive £10,000 to spend on advertising across Rhinegold's portfolio of classical music publications, websites and services.

They will also receive account management support on aspects of marketing and design from Rhinegold.

The scheme supports the work of charities that might not have the resources necessary to support a large advertising campaign on their own, giving them the opportunity to promote their cause to a large international readership.

Since its launch in 2013, the number of applications to the fund has doubled annually. The 2015 fund was awarded to two charities: Young Classical Artists Trust and Live Music Now.

Charities wishing to apply should complete the online form by 29 February, with the selected charity to be announced in March.

www.rhinegold.co.uk/fund

Rhinegold Charity Fund


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