London’s ‘third opera house’ / Francesca da Rimini at Opera Holland Park

Opera Holland Park (OHP), owned and managed by The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, has enjoyed escalating critical acclaim since its first production in 1996. A major part of that acclaim has come for the hugely challenging repertory choices made over the years.

Now Opera Holland Park is preparing to unleash the latest offering from this rich musical stable; Riccardo Zandonai’s Francesca da Rimini; a glorious, magnificent opera of mesmerising beauty and accomplishment. Starring international soprano Cheryl Barker and Julian Gavin (who recently excelled in ENO’s Tosca) and a host of exciting emergent talent such as Kirstin Sharpin and Anna Leese, OHP’s Francesca is a rare treat and a significant operatic event.

Michael Volpe, General Manager of Opera Holland Park says:
“In my view, there are countless sections in Francesca which audiences love – they find themselves pinned to their seats by passages of music that are more beautiful than anything they may have already heard. It is a terribly exciting thing to see thousands of people discovering this for the first time!”

Francesca da Rimini is based on a Gabriele D’Annunzio poem which was itself extracted from a section of Dante’s Inferno. It is all about war, love, duplicity and murder on a grand scale (typical of these composers) and brings to the stage a potent, shimmering soundscape with magical writing for the orchestra and chorus.

OHP have always chosen to present works whose in-built accessibility and beauty appeals to so many people. This, coupled with their artistic bravery and exciting repertoire choice, has resulted in people coming from all over the world to see their productions and lead to great acclaim from both national and international critics. It also highlights the significant appetite in the UK for these rich and sumptuous melodramas.

Francesca da Rimini is not for aficionados alone – it is also a perfect first time opera. It is vital that opera in the UK continues to explore and develop the repertoire in the way that Opera Holland Park. They are proud to offer yet another major new production that will do just that.

Please click here for a podcast by Michael Volpe on the opera or visit for more information.

Download the full press release below.