'Little Opera House' launched at London pub theatre
24 September 2010, London, UK
The King’s Head Theatre & Pub in Islington, north London, is to become the city’s first new opera house for 40 years, offering intimate productions of reimagined classics, contemporary operas and musicals for just £15 per ticket whilst giving young singers the chance to appear in major roles.
Dubbed ‘London’s Little Opera House’, this bold initiative is the brainchild of Australian producer-director, Adam Spreadbury-Maher, who recently took over as Artistic Director of the theatre.
High profile Patrons for the project include actress Joanna Lumley, playwright Tom Stoppard and veteran opera and theatre director, Jonathan Miller.
Describing the huge expenditure normally associated with producing opera as “immoral”, Miller endorsed Spreadbury-Maher’s vision for presenting “opera in a setting where it is not all about people luxuriating in displays of their wealth.” He told The Observer: “In doing operas on a very intimate scale, in front of an audience of a hundred at the most, you renovate them.”
Echoing Miller’s view, Spreadbury-Maher said: “Opera has died and we need to perform CPR on it. At worst, it can be almost like going to a wedding, with everyone sitting still. Audiences need a kick in the guts, or at least a thump on the heart. Otherwise they should just stay at home and listen to a CD.”
He added: “There is a massive everyman audience out there and we have got to take [opera] to them."
London’s Little Opera House opens on 6 October with Puccini’s La bohème, directed by Spreadbury-Maher. Other plans for 2011 include productions of Rossini’s The Barber of Seville, Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, and two new operas by playwright, Mark Ravenhill.