Opera Holland Park – About Us

Who we are

Opera Holland Park is an opera company with a unique voice. Based in Kensington, we present an annual festival of fully staged productions in a setting that combines the best aspects of urban and country house opera under one roof. All year round we present performances, discussions and cultural events in partnership with local venues, unlocking the world of opera. Through accessible pricing, education and outreach programmes and family events we bring critically acclaimed work to the widest possible audience.

 

What we believe

Opera Holland Park believes that everyone should have access to the finest live musical and theatrical experiences, regardless of age, income or education. As an independent charity our mission is to break down the traditional barriers to experiencing opera, and to present this four hundred year-old art form as an open, living and breathing entity, to everyone in our local community and beyond. We pride ourselves on a uniquely welcoming atmosphere, on adventurous artistic planning, on a tradition of presenting unusual works, and on our history of nurturing and developing the talents of singers, directors, conductors, designers and technicians.

 

Our key aims

  • To deliver a dynamic summer season of operas and year-round cultural events
  • To build on our reputation as London’s most welcoming opera company
  • To stimulate and support a love for opera through our Inspire education and outreach programme
  • To identify and develop emerging talent
  • To maintain accessible pricing for all members of the community through development, fundraising, and individual and commercial sponsorship

 

Our History

Holland Park is considered one of the most romantic and peaceful parks of West London. The northern half or so of the park is semi-wild woodland, the central section around the ruins of Holland House is more formal with several garden areas, and the southernmost section is used for sport.

Holland House is now a fragmentary ruin, having been devastated by incendiary bombing in 1940, but the ruins and the grounds were bought by London County Council in 1952 from the last private owner, the 6th Earl of Ilchester. Today the remains of the house form a backdrop for the open air Holland Park Theatre, which is the home of Opera Holland Park.

Holland House, West Front

17th century    

Opera Holland Park’s history begins 1605 when Sir Walter Cope builds a Jacobean style house on a large piece of green land that later becomes known as Holland Park.

 

WWII

A bomb flattens half of it.


1950s to 1986

The London County Council and then the GLC manage the park and house. Various performances of dance, music and theatre are staged.

1986 onwards

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea take over the management of the park and half-ruined castle and buy a canopy to put over the theatre space. Various visiting companies stage the first operas.

1996

The Royal Borough decides to start its own opera company.

1996 – 2006

Lots of spectacularly successful and popular opera productions are mounted by the company, Opera Holland Park

2007

The Royal Borough invests in a spectacular new theatre, spending nearly £1 million.

2008 – 2010

After scores of critically acclaimed operas and with an international orchestra in residency, Opera Holland Park is now firmly established as a leading player in London’s cultural scene and was named the Best Opera Company in the UK by The Sunday Times in 2010.

 

2011 – 2015

Investec Opera Holland Park

OHP is generously sponsored by Investec Wealth & Investment. The company has a reputation for producing rare and unusual works and making them popular and successful.

2016 – Present

The 2016 season marked our first season independent from the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. We became an independent charity in October 2015, lead by a board of Trustees. Click here for more information.

Our 2016 Season was one of the strongest in recent OHP history, with all productions garnering 4 stars and more from critics and houses at 98% capacity.

It was certainly a flying start for Opera Holland Park, and a trend we hope to continue in the future seasons….