Zazà… Your reactions

It was an absolute pleasure to open our long-awaited production of Zazà to great acclaim. Here’s what you and the critics had to say about the show! Click here for further information.


‘Duprels gives a performance of such emotional honesty and dramatic integrity that it tears you in two…  Richard Burkhard makes an outstanding Cascart, Zazà’s worldly wise if occasionally jealous ex, to whom Leoncavallo allots some of the best music in the score. Conductor Peter Robinson gets the tricky mix of glitz, sadness and sensuality exactly right.’

– ★★★★ Tim Ashley, The Guardian


‘Only a singer of Duprels’s intensity could carry this off, and she does so with the visceral vocal and histrionic intensity that marks out her Butterfly at this address and elsewhere in the UK. She is a treasurable artist…’

– Hugh Canning, Sunday Times


‘Marie Lambert’s production, splendidly conducted by the underrated Peter Robinson, a verismo period specialist, astonished many people in a packed house as to how good much of Zazà actually is… She and her designer Alyson Cummins make full use of OHP’s extremely wide stage to present a dazzling Act I, where the front-of-house of the music hall, Zazà’s dressing room and all the backstage hurly-burly in between is brilliantly presented…’

– David Mellor, Mail on Sunday


‘Anne Sophie Duprels excels in the title role, demonstrating a dramatic range that matches her vocal commitment.’

– Claire Seymour, Opera Today



‘It’s certainly a piece that merits its current resuscitation, and Opera Holland Park has done it proud in an exemplary production by Marie Lambert that suggests both the tawdry glamour of backstage and the rather bleaker realities of a life of theatrical stardom. Peter Robinson’s sensitive conducting honours the evanescent fragrances of Leoncavallo’s skillful orchestration.’

– ★★★★ Rupert Christiansen, Telegraph



‘Anne Sophie Duprels has the vocal heft and expressive range to follow Zazà’s emotional trajectory, and she dominates the stage throughout.’

– Nick Kimberley, Evening Standard


‘Joel Montero’s vibrant Milio, Richard Burkhard’s long-suffering Cascart and Aida Ippolito’s cameo as Totò are the pick of a strong supporting cast. Peter Robinson’s expert conducting is a reminder that Leoncavallo was a resourceful orchestrator as well as a dependable librettist.’

– ★★★★ Richard Whitehouse, Independent


‘If you want an opera that contains a true “slice of life” as we still recognise it, to the accompaniment of ravishing Italian music, the excellence of Lambert’s staging and the compelling acting of its principals make this production a must-see.’

– ★★★★ David Karlin, Bachtrack



‘Duprels is one of today’s great singing actresses who can take us to heaven or drag us to hell – most frequently the latter. She may be an Opera Holland Park regular, but in her case familiarity breeds admiration rather than anything else. The French soprano has a vocal warmth that’s especially strong in the upper registers, and she’s a charismatic company totem. Her Zazà is first an entitled, Arkadina-style theatre star (albeit in Saint-Étienne rather than among the bright lights), then an impassioned lover, and only finally a dignified woman who takes control of her emotions.

Richard Burkhard, by contrast, was magnificent as Zazà’s sympathetic ex-lover-turned-confidant, her co-star Cascart. His burnished baritone is an unsung national treasure. And a plethora of detailed cameos from the strong supporting ensemble ensured that the opera’s chaotic public side had zip and swagger.

Leoncavallo’s gorgeous, passionate opera has all the ingredients for a summertime hit.’

– ★★★★ Mark Valencia, WhatsOnStage


‘No soprano is more suited to the title role than Anne Sophie Duprels. She captures the fragility and bravado of Zazà. She captures the fragility and bravado of Zazà, first seen in the dressing room of the provincial music hall surrounded by a supportive team including ex-lover Cascart (Richard Burkhard).’

– ★★★★ Clare Colvin, Sunday Express


‘The evening encompassed everything Opera Holland Park stands for: rare repertoire, intelligently staged and well performed.’

– Colin Clarke, Seen and Heard



‘The role of Zazà requires a great singing actress – with stamina, power, beauty of voice as well as a formidable technique. Anne Sophie Duprels ticks all these boxes – some exquisite singing high above the stave and bags of silvery tone when needed…

Richard Burkhard plays Cascart, Zazà’s ex-lover but generous protector, strongly and sympathetically, delivered gloriously. James Cleverton also impresses in the pivotal role of Bussy. Louise Winter delivers a scene-stealing cameo as Zazà’s errant dipsomaniac mother. Beautifully observed and amusing, and vividly voiced to boot…

…Opera Holland Park has done a grand job!’

– ★★★★★ Alexander Campbell, Classical Source


‘Anne Sophie Duprels really did invest the character of Zaza with a depth and complexity which at first engaged and then deepened into a profound sympathy… and Duprels and Montero created a strongly passionate relationship yet believable relationship…

There is much to admire and enjoy in Leoncavallo’s Zaza… At Opera Holland Park it received a committed and thoroughly engaged performance from all concerned, really bringing out the drama with Marie Lambert’s production admirably conveying the opera’s delights.’

– ★★★★ Robert Hugill, Planet Hugill


‘[Leoncavallo’s] attractive musical depiction is nicely matched by Alyson Cummins’ complex backstage set and Camille Assaf’s witty theatrical costumes, and indeed throughout Marie Lambert’s richly detailed production, which is strong on both character and narrative….

Leading the cast, Holland Park regular Anne Sophie Duprels once again hurls herself into the title role with significant flair and definite savoir-faire. She’s expertly partnered by Joel Montero as her lying lover Dufresne, with immaculate support from Richard Burkhard as her staunch colleague Cascart and Louise Winter as her drunken, happy-go-lucky mother.’

– ★★★★ George Hall, The Stage


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Photos by © Robert Workman for Opera Holland Park.