Opera for 21st century children? That could be quite a challenge on the face of it: how can an opera get children's attention for an hour, without boring them? We need to give credit to Will Todd, the composer of this Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, part of Opera Holland Park summer season, for confounding any sceptical expectations.
Everybody knows the story of Alice, an 11-year-old innocent, dreamy girl who enters a world of fantasy and odd creatures after following a talking white rabbit into a hole. Lewis Carroll's most famous literary work is brought to life in Holland Park, with live music played by a fully-equipped band.
The story develops in four different settings, representing the colourful Wonderland. During the opera, the audience moves from setting to setting in order to follow the story and the running Alice. The cast of 15 actors embody the characters enthusiastically, their voices intertwine harmonically and give the audience the sensation of living a fairytale. The composer has had to cut some of the scenes to fit things into an hour. This is done economically, with the most popular characters all appearing: the Cheshire Cat, the Mad Hatter, the Caterpillar, plus Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee.
A special plaudit goes to soprano Fflur Wyn, who embodies innocent and playful Alice, and to Robert Burt, who plays both Alice's father and the Red Queen. Both their voices combine perfectly with their facial and bodily expressions, turning them into the most expressive characters. Another bravo goes to the orchestra, who have to run after the actors during scene changes in order to provide a musical background.
The opera is catchy and fun to watch, both for children and adults, and the populist pricing for this opera means the show is already sold out for all the dates. However, you can be added to the waiting list or try to get some return tickets on the day — for both options you need to call the box office on 0300 999 1000 or send them an email. We are quite sure this opera will be back on stage at Holland Park next year as well — seeing how brilliant it is.
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland is on at Holland Park, close to High Street Kensington tube station, as part of their opera summer season. Performances take place on 25, 26, 29, 30, August 1, 2 at 3pm. Tickets are £8.50 for adults and £3.50 for children. Image courtesy of Opera Holland Park. We saw this play on a complimentary ticket.