July 19, 2012 11:21
| Arts and Culture
A rainy summer may not conjure up images of picnics and open air theatre, but the team at Opera Holland Park have found a genius solution. You can enjoy luxury picnics in the comfort of a gorgeous patio and listen to the opera underneath a magnificent domed awning.
I attended the Zanetto and Gianni Schicchi double bill on Saturday July 14. Both Zanetto and Schicchi were one act operas inspired by Renaissance Italy and are often performed together.
I had the pleasure of talking to Janice Watson, who played Silvia in Mascagni's Zanetto. She mentioned that the libretto is difficult to perform as it only sketches the characters without providing enough background to the story. Audiences have to work out the dynamics of the imaginary love triangle between Silvia, Zanetto and Zanetto's idealised idealised image of Silvia.
Puccini's Gianni Schicchi was particularly fun and sparkling and the magnificent aria O mio babbino caro was performed beautifully by the talented Anna Patalong. The rain outside added to the soundscape and the astmosphere.
Ever since being featured in Merchant Ivory's 1985 film A Room with a View, O mio babbino caro has become one of the most recognised and loved arias worldwide.
Alan Opie as Schicchi was masterful at engaging and entertaining the audience and Carole Wilson charmed as the matriarch Zita.
The programme at Opera Holland Park continues through the summer and forthcoming productions include Tchaikovsky'sYevgeny Onegin (until August 4), Verdi's Falstaff (until August 3) and Fantastic Mr Fox (until August 4) based on Roald Dahl and performed in the gardens for the delight of children.
Top tips: buy the Opera Holland Park's magazine Scenario as it includes the full programme of performances plus artists' biographies and remember to pack a blanket as it gets very chilly inside the auditorium.