Skip to main content

The Open Weekend

It has been what you might call a compact weekend of openings at OHP.

On Saturday, framed by the weather in a way only the British will really understand, we opened the revival of Will Todd's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland in the afternoon and Norma in the evening.  A heatwave is upon us but the dire warnings from the Met office were reassuringly and familiarly wrong and the day was a glorious one - so Alice stayed in her usual home on the Yucca Lawn.

In the evening a much grander affair in the form of Bellini's High Priestess wove its magic through the warm and heavy night air. I had a more  personal interest than usual in the show since my five year old daughter Fiora is in it; the party afterwards was quickly and almost entirely dedicated, at her insistence, to her and her friend Davina, also in the production as one of Norma's two children. Nobody in attendance had any choice in the matter and if you think stage-generated adrenalin in singers is a thing to behold, you haven't seen two five year olds who are also way past their bedtimes. We have particular reason, however, to be proud of them since during their first stint on stage, a ball that is meant to accompany them (and with which they play) was absent but they thought on their feet, happily improvising a mime of throwing it to one another.

Sunday was all about the Open Day at the theatre for which the weather again behaved. The place was full of people and again, the two most popular events were the Minute Maestro and the scratch chorus. For three hours young (some very young) and old alike got the chance to conduct the City of London Sinfonia and it is always a very heartwarming occasion. About fifty people also spent a couple of hours learning some operatic chorus music and got to sing it on stage with the orchestra at the end of the afternoon - and they did it brilliantly. 

I suppose we could do all this digitally - conduct the orchestra by Skype, perhaps? But over a thousand people came into the theatre and heard some opera so it was worth all the effort of Monique, Seth and others who after two openings and a day before a dress rehearsal managed to get it all together. Many thanks to them and also to the many volunteers who came in to help.

Adriana Lecouvreur's dress tonight is exciting. Like, really exciting.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Audiences will decide the future of opera

I have news: the audience will decide the future of opera.
When our season at Opera Holland Park comes to an end, I pore over spreadsheets trying to find reasons why our audience have behaved in the way that they have, and the most concentrated analysis tends to come after seasons during which our house has been full. The theory is this; if we have underperformed, we are programmed to find solutions, but if we have performed well, we are less likely to look for the gremlins that might lose us that ever-capricious audience in a trice – you are never more vulnerable than when you are successful.  Sometimes, though, one can miss the obvious, or perhaps ignore it.
In nearly three decades in opera, I have experienced one "boom" in the art form but an almost perpetual "crisis" of confidence, an alarmed perma-reflection on whether we remain relevant as an art form. This introspective brew is spiced by the occasional real crisis, like that recently at ENO, but we never reall…

XTC -This is Pop (Documentary, Sky 1)

The long awaited - and even longer overdue - documentary about the British band XTC felt to many of us who have considered them the best ever group to emerge from these shores, like a simultaneous roar of approval and a shocking great slap in the face, a sharp reminder of what we have lost now that they no longer record together. Apple Venus Vol.1 and Wasp Star (Apple Venus Vol. 2) were released in 1999 and 2000 respectively and together represented the almost perfect distillation of British popular music. I hesitate to just call it "pop" although there are almost unequalled examples of it on both these albums and right through the XTC canon. Andy Partridge's lavishly inventive songwriting, lyrical brilliance and at times almost extra-terrestrial knack for a breathtaking melody or crushingly beautiful harmony seemed to improve and grow throughout the band's 14 album career. It came to a mighty zenith on those final two records. 
Followers of XTC were often torn betwee…

Time for patience and cold-eyed politicking

I was furious about the calling of a referendum on our membership of the EU.
I was furious when Leave 'won'.
I was furious when Corbyn enabled A50 trigger.

Then I thought a little bit about it.

I had spent goodness knows how many hours arguing with anti-Corbyn Labour supporters who ridiculed his chances in a General election, listening to them crowing in derisory, mocking fashion about the distance between him and May in the polls. I simply held to the view that he deserved, on the back of two leadership election wins in the face of horrendous back-stabbing and collusion among Labour MPs and the media, an opportunity to present a manifesto. Then we could judge him. I even made a bet on the eve of the election with an arch, mocking conservative – the prize being lunch at Musso and Frank's in LA – that Labour would force a hung parliament. He still hasn't booked the flights.

The reason I thought that possible was not just the manifesto, but that Corbyn had not take…