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Manon Lescaut to open Opera Holland Park season

30 May, 2019 — By Michael White

Elizabeth Llewellyn and Paul Carey Jones in rehearsal for Manon Lescaut

BY definition you can’t have country-house opera in central London.

But Opera Holland Park comes close to the experience, with shows that run beside the ruins of what was a country house (four centuries ago). And while it’s not as grand as Glynde­bourne, Garsington or any of the glitzy venues on the circuit, it has acceptable standards.

It fields decent artists. And, best of all, you don’t have to burden yourself with black-tie evening wear (unless you’re exhibitionist and pretentious).

This year’s season opens next week with Puccini’s Manon Lescaut. And in the title role of convent girl turned courtesan and then, when luck runs out, a convict is Elizabeth Llewellyn – the Brixton-born soprano whose career has been on the rise since a conspicuous debut at English National Opera a few years ago.

Other Holland Park shows for your diary are Verdi’s Ballo in Maschera (from June 8), Cilea’s L’Arlesiana (from June 20) and a double-bill of shorts by Wolf-Ferrari and Tchaikovsky (from June 22). Lescaut opens Tuesday June 4, 7.30pm.

• Opera Holland Park Theatre, Ilchester Place, Kensington, W8 6LU, 0300 999 1000, operahollandpark.com

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