James Clutton’s minor revolution is offering a refreshing model for staging full-scale opera.

Opera is perhaps the most expensive of the performing arts to stage requiring singers, chorus, orchestra and backstage support. No wonder ticket prices are high. The budgets for new productions in big companies such as Covent Garden, the Metropolitan Opera New York and even Opera Australia, run into hundreds of thousands of dollars. So how does a summer festival that still uses full orchestra and chorus survive?

Opera Holland Park has pioneered a philosophy, led by James Clutton its Director of Opera, which over the last ten years has transformed an enjoyable summer festival into something that is more adventurous and a highlight of the London Opera calendar. With up to six operas per season it has incidentally given many opportunities to Australian singers and conductors and is complimentary about their contribution.

I meet James Clutton just before the final performance of their highly successful production of Rossini’s La Cenerentola( click hereto read Limelight’sreview). We sit at a small table in the semi open air foyers alongside the cleverly crafted auditorium erected for each season. The stage emerges from the ruins of Holland House...

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