H

H Opera Studio

Two students performing in an opera, the man dressed as a fly sitting on a sofa, with a female student dressed in a light green, frilly dress, standing next to him, singing towards the audience, with a dark background.

The Royal College of Music Opera Studio (HOS) is one of the leading advanced training courses in the world. It offers operatic training at the highest level for performers from around the globe. Many of the world’s leading singers have passed through our doors.

As part of an elite and carefully constituted group of exceptionally talented young singers, each student will benefit from rigorous training, sensitive to their individual needs and responsive to the demands of the profession. Our students regularly work with a team of coaches, musicians and theatre professionals drawn from the senior ranks of the country’s leading opera companies, and perform in acclaimed productions in the first-class Britten Theatre.

The H’s approach to operatic training focuses on replicating professional conditions, to ensure a seamless transition into the working world. There are a number of HOS opera productions each year and sets of fully staged opera scenes in the Britten Theatre. Students will have the benefit of rehearsing and performing with highly experienced, influential industry professionals, who occupy key posts at the great opera houses of Europe and beyond.

In addition to receiving regular core training you will gain unique artistic and professional insights through mentorship by internationally renowned artists including Sir Thomas Allen, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Angela Gheorghiu and Edith Wiens.

Career development and support is an integral part of your studies, and we have recently held a series of virtual mentorship sessions with the eminent baritone Gerald Finley, Sophie Joyce of l'Opéra national de Paris, Richard Hetherington of the Royal Opera House, Michelle Williams of English National Opera, as well as with leading classical music agents.

The Creative Careers Centre will also assist you in taking full responsibility for the development of your professional career.

The H Opera Studio presents three fully staged operatic productions a year, along with opera scenes and special projects.

Recent productions

The Merry Widow (March 2024)

Michael Rosewell conductor
Liam Steel director
Neil Irish designer
Kevin Treacy lighting designer

Be transported to glistening, extravagant 1920s Paris with Franz Lehár’s most celebrated operetta, performed by talented singers of the H Opera Studio.

Hanna Glawari is a vastly wealthy young widow from the small and poverty-stricken Balkan province of Pontevedro. Ambassador Baron Zeta is anxious that when Hanna re-marries, it is to a Pontevedrian and not a Frenchman, to keep her money in the country and save them all from ruin. At the Embassy ball of her homeland, she encounters her ex, Count Danilo, who the baron thinks is the obvious choice for her to marry. However, Danilo has an appetite for wine and women, and Hanna will not contemplate marrying him until he finally professes his love for her.

Misunderstandings and comedic misadventure abound when it transpires that the Baron’s wife, Valencienne, is having an affair with the Count de Rosillon, and Hanna jumps in to save the married lady’s reputation. What follows is a comic tale of romantic intrigue, full of memorable melodies and played out against a backdrop of champagne fuelled parties, and the decadent Parisian nightclub – Chez Maxims.

Franz Lehár’s uplifting operetta was a roaring success after its premiere in 1905, with the instantly recognisable Vilja Song and Merry Widow Waltz becoming staples of the opera canon.

Don Giovanni Tenorio (November 2023)

Michael Rosewell conductor
Louise Bakker director
Becky-Dee Trevenen designer
Joshua Gadsby lighting designer
Alex Gotch choreographer

The legend of Don Giovanni has inspired many artists over the centuries, including Italian composer Giuseppe Gazzaniga, whose one-act opera predates Mozart’s by just nine months.

A tale of seduction and destruction, Don Giovanni’s spectacular downfall begins with a fatal duel. The antihero embarks on a spree, attempting to woo all those he encounters, before being dragged to his death by a statue come to life – the spirit of the man he killed – in the ultimate act of revenge.

Premiered in February 1787, Don Giovanni Tenorio was Gazzaniga’s most successful work within his impressive collection of over 50 operas – but is now rarely performed. With the composer’s light, Venetian style and Giovanni Bertati’s lively libretto, this is a unique opportunity to hear the fascinating opera that inspired future retellings of the tale.

Barnum’s Bird (Summer 2023)

Michael Rosewell conductor
Ella Marchment director
Madeleine Boyd designer
Rachel Astall lighting designer
Adam Haigh choreographer

Barnum’s Bird is the story of a relationship ahead of its time – that of the ’great showman’ PT Barnum, and his star opera singer, Jenny Lind.

Known as the ’Swedish Nightingale’, Jenny Lind was the most treasured soprano of her time, with a reputation that would have rivalled that of Elvis Presley or The Beatles. A savvy businesswoman, she went on an American tour in 1850 with Barnum, who put Lind’s name on cigars, soap and cakes, and marketed her personality – something that had never been seen before.

Grammy Award-winning composer Libby Larsen’s chamber opera in two acts is a story of art, artists and the human soul. At the same time, it’s a tale of how great art serves commerce and profit, as well as humanity, and makes us question our own experiences as consumers of entertainment.

Ravel and Respighi Double Bill (Spring 2023)

Ravel L'enfant et les sortilèges
Respighi La bella dormente nel bosco

Michael Rosewell conductor
Liam Steel designer

Journey through enigmatic fantasy worlds in a sensational double bill of Ravel and Respighi.

Ravel’s one-act opera, L'enfant et les sortilèges, follows an unruly child leaving a trail of broken furniture and disgruntled animals in his wake. This turbulent tantrum is only halted when something strange starts to happen to the collection of objects around him… but will the child see the error of his ways?

Also part of this double bill is a rare performance of Respighi’s retelling of Sleeping Beauty. The timeless fairytale inspired the Italian composer to create an imaginative opera filled with familiar characters, whimsical storytelling and, originally, a cast of memorable puppets.

With its themes of growing up, rescuing those in need, and true love triumphing over all, this production promises to be an evening of nostalgia and musical escapism.

 

Orpheus in the Underworld (Autumn 2022)

Michael Rosewell conductor
Louise Bakker director

Mistaken identities, quick-witted satire – and of course, the infamous can-can! Embark on a farcical journey to hell and back with Offenbach’s colourful comic opera production.

Eurydice is led into the depths of purgatory by her lover, revealed to be Pluton, ruler of the underworld in disguise. Orpheus rejoices at the disappearance of his estranged wife, but is reprimanded by Public Opinion personified – and so begins his riotous journey to bring her back from the underworld.

Flight (Summer 2022)

Michael Rosewell conductor
Jeremy Sams director
Nicky Shaw designer

A new production of Jonathan Dove’s breakthrough opera – a portrait of the human experience in the least likely of operatic settings.

A refugee and an immigration officer, a diplomat and his pregnant wife, an older woman awaiting her younger fiancé, and a married couple in a rut – this somewhat motley crew are brought together as they wait for a delayed flight. As a storm rages overhead, the passengers’ stories unfold around the refugee who is stranded there. This poignant story is based on the experiences of Iranian refugee Mehran Nasseri, who would also inspire Steven Spielberg’s The Terminal six years later.

This production of Jonathan Dove’s Flight provides episodes to make you laugh and moments for serious reflection, underscoring the differences between us – and the sense of humanity that connects us all.

Hansel and Gretel (Spring 2022)

Michael Rosewell conductor
Stephen Barlow director
Yannis Thavoris designer
Rory Beaton lighting designer

Brother and sister relationships in opera veer to the dysfunctional – most often murderous, sometimes even incestuous.

So, hurrah to Grimm’s Hansel and Gretel, a dynamic double act of sibling support who go into the woods hand in hand to find their dreams and face their demons. Though poor in means, they are rich in resourcefulness, and demonstrate that by working together in a union they are stronger than standing alone.

This new production of Humperdinck’s humdinger of an opera is set in a divided world where wishes are walled in, and witches wait for you in the west. But ultimately this story ends happily with a family reunification.

Past productions

Flight (Summer 2022)

Michael Rosewell conductor
Jeremy Sams director
Nicky Shaw designer

Hansel and Gretel (Spring 2022)

Michael Rosewell conductor
Stephen Barlow director
Yannis Thavoris designer
Rory Beaton lighting designer

The Magic Flute (November 2021)

Polly Graham director
Michael Rosewell conductor
Louise Bakker assistant director
Rosie Elnile designer
Hazel Low co-designer
Tim Mitchell lighting designer

Rodelinda (Filmed in July 2021)

Jo Davies director
Michael Rosewell conductor
Thomas Henderson assistant director
Joanna Parker designer
Colin Grenfell lighting designer

Trouble in Tahiti & A Dinner Engagement (Summer 2019)

Michael Rosewell conductor
Stephen Unwin director
Nicky Shaw designer
Ralph Stockeld lighting designer

Robinson Crusoe (Spring 2019)

Michael Rosewell conductor
Bill Bankes-Jones director
Sarah Jones designer

Le nozze di Figaro (August 2018)

Sir Thomas Allen director
Michael Rosewell conductor
Lottie Higlett designer
Rory Beaton lighting designer

The Lighthouse & In the Locked Room (Summer 2018)

Stephen Unwin director
Michael Rosewell conductor
Hannah Wolfe designer

A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Spring 2018)

Liam Steel director
Michael Rosewell conductor
Michael Pavelka designer
Andy Purves lighting designer

The Cunning Little Vixen (Autumn 2017)

Daniel Slater director
Michael Rosewell conductor
Alex Berry designer
Hannah Wolfe costume designer

Une éducation manquée & Les mamelles de Tirésias (Summer 2017)

Stephen Unwin director
Michael Rosewell conductor
Neil Warmington designer
Ben Ormerod lighting designer

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