Thursday 30 April 2009

A few words about the beautiful illustrations...

Wardour became our design and branding partner in May 2008. From our first production at Leighton House we have commissioned an illustration for every production. The process starts with a brief to Wardour which pretty much sums up what the opera/ concert is about, what look we are after, period, feel etc. Lisa Cromer, Wardour's Design Director has unenviable task of trying to make sense of my musings and thoughts and somehow offer me with drawings that are exactly what I was after all along but didn't really know how to say it...see what I mean. Lisa sends me samples of work by illustrator's she believes compliment the work we are doing. The striking work of
Amelie Hegardt/ Darling Management jumped out at us. Die Fledermaus epitomises fun and style. A comedy of manners and a light-hearted poke at infidelity and the seven year itch. Rosalinde is one of Opera's most glamorous characters and we believe that Amelies gorgeous illustration has captured this idea with her glamourous illustration of this beautiful woman.

The next stage is the Flyer and Poster. A good example is the illustration we had for our first concert, Passion of Puccini at Leighton House. The illustrator here was Noumeda Carbone which set the bar very high for all future concerts. The brief was to combine the three heroines from the opera's we were presenting in excerpts. La Boheme (Mimi), Tosca and Madam Butterfly. The result was an image which was a major factor in helping LLO find and attract our audience and was the reason we decided to stick with the concept of strong illustrations for every concert.

...and Sam Weber's illustration for Fidelio. Interestingly enough Cadogan Hall's marketing people were so taken by the design they happily had this poster in the most prominent position, next to the box office, for over a month. From Sloane Square tube it just looked fantastic.

...then the final stage is the Programme which Wardour, to date, have taken the illustration and used elements of it throughout the programme on each and every page in the most imaginative and amazing ways eg Cycles was our next concert at Cadogan Hall, the brief asked for lush and vibrant colours with a strong floral influence plus references to the songs ( it was a concert of orchestral song cycles) and the poetry we were presenting. The illustration was by Izumi Nogawa. The programme was B5 and was a very impressive 44 pages including cover.

If you have a minute scroll through the programme (there are more on the issuu site on the side bar on the left of an enlarged page) and be, as I was at he time, amazed at the inventiveness and sheer style of the designers at Wardour.

The flying Dutchman
was next in November 2008. This was the major concert of our year and Evelina Frescura didn't let us down with this striking and evocative illustration. Dutchman is one of Wagner's early operas but is on the cusp of his mature works which are famous for the power and intensity of the plots, music and characters. I don't know how she did it but somehow a 'simple' drawing of a ship told a story and created a mood that enhanced the concert we were about to perform. The articles within the programme are wonderful. Page 16 & 17 is a brilliant piece by Germaine Greer. I know for a fact that the Wardour team loved this spread.

Tuesday 28 April 2009

Cadogan Hall's new Summer 2009 brochure. Published on

Open publication - Free publishing - More venue

Just in case you don't scroll to the front cover.
Once again the Cadogan Hall designers have
created a beautiful brochure booklet.
Their simple and elegant designs
are always eye catching

Friday 24 April 2009

Hans Henkell...Sponsor update

LLO have been blessed to have such generous and supportive sponsors.
Hans Henkell, Henkell Australia Investment Managers
has been with us since the beginning. He is very well known in Australia as a supporter of the Arts especially through Opera Foundation Australia, The German-Australian Opera Grant which is a Scholarship for a young Australian singer to work with the Wiesbaden Opera Company and his support of Co-Opera who are now touring Europe with his support. A fascinating man in many ways but his love for the arts is infectious.

Thank you Hans for your support

Wednesday 22 April 2009

Die Fledermaus is on sale...Two performances

Die Fledermaus is now on sale at Cadogan Hall. Sponsored by Wardour for the first time we will have two performances. The first on Tuesday 16th June and the second on
Friday 19th June. Both performances will begin at 7.00pm with a pre-performance talk at 6.00 in the main auditorium.

This is a major step forward for us. I hope we manage to repeat the success we had with Fidelio with a near sell out house.

Saturday 18 April 2009

Adele completes our cast...Ana James to sing this wonderful role for LLO.

Ana James has just accepted our offer to sing Adele. After an exhaustive search we are thrilled to have a singer of her quality in our cast. A native of New Zealand, graduate of the Manhattan School of Music and the ROH Young Artist programme : Attached is the announcement we made on our Twitter account. More information here.

Now that our cast is complete the real work begins. Madeleine. Myself and Bernard are working though the dialogue, score and stage directions now. We plan to follow the style of our previous two productions; Singing from memory, dramatically convincing and strong performances from the cast. The added element of a world class concert pianist playing with the RPO will give the audience a memorable night at the opera.

The international nature of our cast is evident. Simon Thorpe, Garrie Davislim [half Irish] and Jeffrey Black (Australia), Nicky Spence (Scotland), Edel Shannon (Ireland), Ana James (New Zealand), Sarah Redgwick, Charne Rochford and Bernard Horsfall (England) and Lise Christensen (Denmark).

Saturday 11 April 2009

Veteran Actor Bernard Horsfall to star as Frosch in London Lyric Opera's Concert Performances of Die Fledermaus at Cadogan Hall

Bernard Horsfall has appeared in many television and film roles including On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969), Enemy at the Door (ITV, 1978-1980), Gandhi (1982) , The Jewel in the Crown (1984), The Hound of the Baskervilles (ITV, 1988) and Braveheart (1995). 

He has made several guest appearances in the BBC science fiction television series
 Doctor Who. His first was as Lemuel Gulliver The Mind Robber (1968). His other appearances were as a Time Lord The War Games (1969), Taron Planet of the Daleks (1973) and Chancellor Goth The Deadly Assassin (1976).

Other television credits include : Doctors BBC: Murder Rooms: The Dark Beginnings of Sherlock Holmes BBC: Casualty BBC: Poirot ITV: Between the Lines BBC and The Bill Thames TV.

Bernard toured Europe in a production of My Fair Lady as Colonel Pickering and appeared at the Royal Opera House and the Chatelet, Paris as Merlin King Arthur (Purcell) dir. Graham Vick, cond. William Christie.

Theatre credits include the title role in Cymbaline dir. Bill Alexander; Pistol Henry V dir. Adrian Noble; Player King Hamlet dir. Adrian Noble; Old Capulet Romeo & Juliet; Old Shepherd Winter’s Tale dir. Tony Hands; The Director Sarcophagus; York Richard II and Le Grue Red Noses all at the RSC. Old Shepherd and Hymen As you like it at the Crucible, Sheffield and Sir Patrick Cullen The Doctor’s Dilemna at the Almeida both directed by Michael Grandage.

George Who’s afraid of Virginia Woolf? Dir. John Fernald; George Jumpers dir. Phil Young; Solness The Master Builder dir. John Fernald all at the Leeds Playhouse. The Severed Head (Iris Murdoch) dir. Val May at the Criterion Theatre; Hancock 1776 (musical) dir. Peter Hunt at the Albery; The Marquis Camille (RSC Prod.) dir. Ron Daniels at the Comedy Theatre.

Bernard Horsfall’s Showreel

Bernard Horsfall website

Appearing in Die Fledermaus

Friday 10 April 2009

Special Guest Star -Acclaimed Concert Pianist Leslie Howard to play with the RPO in Die Fledermaus

Leslie Howard

Die Fledermaus would not be complete without a guest appearance by a true virtuoso performer. LLO are delighted to announce that Leslie Howard, whose work includes the largest recording project ever undertaken by a solo pianist when he completed a marathon effort to personally record all of Liszt's piano works for Hyperion Records on 97 CDs, will play a piano concerto by Liszt, with the RPO accompanying, in the Gala scene in the middle of Act 2.

This all came about from an earlier concert that LLO produced in September 2008, Cycles at Cadogan Hall conducted by Madeleine Lovell. Leslie wrote to us complimenting the playing of the orchestra and Madeleine's conducting and made a passing remark saying,"I would be delighted to play a concerto here on this stage under Madeleine's direction". I remember thinking at the time that it isn't every day a world class concert pianist makes that kind of an offer (at the time I don't think he expected me to take him up on it so be warned...) but as LLO produced operatic concert performances I thought an opportunity would never come. Months passed and we decided to do Fledermaus...that is another story...Now normally in the gala scene famous singers will come out and sing a party piece and wow us with their vocal fireworks but the Leslie Howard idea was simmering away. Why not? Thankfully Amanda Williams at Amex Centurion Card liked the idea which was important as they are promoting us to their cardholders and Madeleine loved it. The only problem now was to twist his arm and remind him of an email he wrote in September.

I think I called Leslie just after Christmas 08, he probably thought I was mad but here we are. The title of the piece will remain a secret but rest assured Prince Orlofsky should be pleased.

More information about Leslie and his career can be found here

Leslie Howard playing Liszt's, "Cszardas S.225/1

ps No arm twisting was required. If you happen to see a smile on his face while he is playing Liszt with the RPO well...

pps Leslie's biography

Die Fledermaus - Update and Casting

Illustration by Amelia Hegardt, Design by Wardour

The last few weeks have been incredibly busy. Planning for our 2010 season is well in hand and the confirmation of a second performance of Fledermaus has created its own excitement.

Madeleine and I heard many fine singers and are thrilled with our cast. Sarah Redgwick will be a sensational Rosalinde. Sarah not only sings beautifully etc but has incredible charisma and presence when she is on the stage. Her husband will be the charming Charne Rochford as Eisenstein.

Falke will be sung by rising baritone ( WNO,ON, GTO, OA ) Simon Thorpe and the Alfred by tenor Garrie Davislim who completely beguiled us in his audition and we offered him the role on the spot.

Internationally experienced baritone Jeffrey Black is luxury casting as Frank. Jeffrey has graced the stages of the Met, ROH and many other great houses throughout the world and we are delighted to have him in our cast. Lise Christensen singing Orlofsky who has sung the role for Scottish Opera. Nicky Spence returns to LLO after his beautifully sung first prisoner in Fidelio and the delightful Edel Shannon completes the cast as Ida...but not quite. Veteran actor, Bernard Horsfall who has starred in Dr Who and James Bond will be a perfect Frosch. I have known Bernard for many years and was thrilled when he agreed to be involved.

Finally we come to Adele. We will be able to confirm her early next week. What I can say is that she is fabulous. All in all a very fine ensemble cast.