If Waitrose did opera, it would look like Opera Holland Park — canapés under canopies in a setting that manages to be both smart and sylvan in Kensington’s poshest patch. Although it is a popular night out for the upper middles, ticket prices are capped at £75 and the organisers and sponsors Investec this year released a bigger range of offers, including almost 1,500 free places for young people and the over 60s, and £17 ‘Inspire’ seats for opera virgins.
Running the whole of July and August, OHP’s 19th season features two doomed romances where a lover takes poison. Firstly, there's a revival of the critically admired but rarely performed L’Amore Dei Tre Rei by Italo Montemezzi, whose compositions show influences of both Wagner and Debussy. It’s a decadent love affair set in a concrete bunker from the second world war and they race through it in 90 minutes. Second, best known for its British Airways theme The Flower Duet, Lakmé by Leo Delibes gets a box-wallah-fresh production in an Indian Summers last-days-of-the-Raj setting, combining exoticism with high art.
The crowd-pleaser will be a new Aida, but the brain-teaser is Flight by Jonathan Dove, and April de Angelis who wrote Jumpy. It’s an earlier and warmer treatment of the Tom Hanks movie, based on the true story of a refugee living in an airport terminal and, although commissioned by Glyndebourne in 1998 and widely-acclaimed abroad, it’s never been performed in London until now.
Got small peeps? For just a fiver take your tinies to the absolutely enchanting Alice’s Aventures in Wonderland. Will Todd’s family-friendly composition is done again this year as a promenade performance in woodland settings and accompanied, how very right for the Royal Borough, by ‘the Alice Band’.
We will be bringing you reviews throughout the season but Opera Holland Park has a loyal list of subscribers and does sell out, so check the performance calendar and be ready to click when general booking opens online on Thursday.