How do you make Opera more accessible not only to Opera ignoramus’s like me but to children as well?
The answer is actually quite simple. Take a classic story with well-know and colourful characters, put them in an idyllic summer setting and you are onto a winner.
The Opera Holland Park’s Production of Alice in Wonderland has taken place during the last two summers in Holland Park’s beautiful garden and has delighted families to such an extent that it is not only back this year but will also be staged at Wilderness Festival in Oxfordshire in August and also the eye-catching sets will take over the Royal Opera House’s Linbury Studio Theatre in November.
The producers tell us that it is a promenade production which means the audience move with the cast between the sets accompanied by the singers and the ‘Alice Band’! One minute you’ll be watching Alice fall down the rabbit hole and the next you will find yourself sitting at the Mad Hatters Tea Party. Again perfect for little ones who don’t want to ‘sit’ still, they will absolutely love getting up and dashing towards where the next scene will be played. A win situation for parents!
Fflur Wyn who plays Alice trained at the Royal Academy of Music for 7 years ending with a two year course in Opera. Making her debut with Welsh National Opera she has since worked with various Operatic companies around the country. She enjoyed and trained in musical theatre but as her voice developed and she listened and admired the Opera singers around her she realised that she really loved opera and feels lucky that she has been able to do everything she has wanted to do.
She performed her first role at Holland Park in 2008 in the Magic Flute directed by Simon Callow. Three years ago she was asked to take part in a Workshop for ‘Alice’ in 2012 directed by Martin Duncan and she jumped at the chance. By the end of the week she had fallen in love with the role and has played it each summer since.
She tells Theatre South East
The combination of Martin Duncan (Director), Will Todd (composer) and Maggie Gottlieb (Librettist)is a dream team, they are all on the same page and have created an absolutely magical piece.
It is real and accessible music but not at all patronising, many people in trying to make opera accessible they dumb things down, that for me is a real shame as it patronizes children. Will Todd has kept his integrity as a composer with Alice in Wonderland and the reaction from the audience and the children has been extraordinary. It has been strange to be able to see the audience and their reaction and sometime get a little unexpected audience participation from the children. There is a lot for the children to take in and they don’t lose interest at all. Many people who come to see Alice has never been to an Opera before, it is a wonderful introduction.
Certainly something to try this summer.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Will Todd
The Yucca Lawn, Holland Park
3pm, 16th, 18th, 21st, 22nd, 23rd, 24th, 25th, 28th, 29th, 30th (relaxed performance), 31st July and 1st August
Relaxed performances are specifically designed to welcome people who will benefit from a more relaxed performance environment, including people with an Autism Spectrum Condition, sensory and communication disorders, or a learning disability.
Tickets prices at Opera Holland Park are just £5 for children and £10 for adults from the Opera Holland Park
Box Office online,
0300 999 1000
Wildness Festival, Cornbury Park
6pm, 6th August
4pm and 6pm, 7th August
6pm, 8th August
12pm and 4pm, 9th August
Please check with Wildnerness before visiting – subject to change.
If you would like to listen to, and become familiar with the full score of Alice before seeing it, it is possible to order it form Amazon and itunes, try it – you may be very pleasantly surprised.