Pietro Mascagni





June 7, 10, 14*, 16, 18 at 7.30pm

New production by Opera Holland Park

Opera in three acts

Sung in Italian with English surtitles

Libretto by Luigi Illica

With the City of London Sinfonia

Running times TBA

*Concession date

Ticket Prices

Running time: 165 minutes including interval.

In 1997, Opera Holland Park, in only our second season, produced an opera that had not only been unseen in London for over 90 years, but which was the first in a now long tradition of late, rare Italian operas.

Pietro Mascagni is of course well-known for Cavalleria Rusticana, but the composer always felt bitterness that his one-act verismo masterpiece was the opera for which he had become famous. He once wrote that ‘they crowned me before I was King’ and he set out, thereafter, to prove there was far more to him than just The Easter Hymn or Intermezzo from that opera.

Iris is one of several monumental works that Mascagni went on to compose and in this tale of an exploited young Japanese woman (written before Puccini’s Butterfly), the composer set out to create something that was ‘endlessly beautiful’. And he succeeds; the first minutes of the opera build into a mighty hymn that blasts audiences pretty much as soon as they have settled into their seats. From then on, the tragic story of Iris and her blind father takes us through the underworld of Japan, the darker side of desire, hope and tragic innocence weaving oriental flavours into countless delicious choruses and arias with a breathtaking score that even features a short ballet.

Iris was such a huge success in 1997 that we revived it immediately in 1998, something we have never done since.  It is an opera for both the novice and the aficionado, and has moments of music that should be considered among the greatest achievements of late Italian opera. The spectacular and beautiful new production is an event not to be missed.

Find it on the web: ’Inno del sole’, ‘In pure stille’, ‘Apri la tua finestra’, ‘La Belleza. La Morte, il Vampiro’, ‘Ognora sogni’, ‘A un cenno mio’.

Get involved, @operahollandpk #ohpIris

Cast and Creatives

Lighting Designer
Movement Director

Chorus Master
Stuart Stratford
Olivia Fuchs
Soutra Gilmour
Mark Jonathan
Namiko Gahier-Ogawa
Charlotte Edmonds
By arrangement with The Royal Ballet, Charlotte Edmonds is the first participant of The Royal Ballet Young Choreographer Programme.
Nicholas Jenkins


Il Cieco 
Anne Sophie Duprels
Mikhail Svetlov
Noah Stewart
James Cleverton
Johane Ansell