Grange Park Opera
- Sector: Entertainment
- Region: South East England
In full voice
Grange Park Opera is a professional opera company located in the Surrey Hills, just 21 miles from Trafalgar Square. It is also responsible for building the Theatre in the Woods in 2017, the UK’s first new opera house of the 21st century, which took the company only 11 months.
Around 16,000 people attend Grange Park Opera every year, and since its inception in 1998 it has staged more than 75 operas. From the traditional to the unexpected, its shows range from Puccini’s La Bohème and Stein’s Fiddler on the Roof to its 2020 production of The Life & Death of Alexander Litvinenko, a world premiere.
Many celebrated singers have appeared in Grange Park Opera’s productions, including Bryn Terfel, Simon Keenlyside, Joseph Calleja and Joyce DiDonato. The company also seeks to advance the careers of young British singers and to introduce the next generation to opera, with the particular aim of reaching out to those who haven’t been before. Beyond the summer, the company aims to use music and drama to advance personal development – particularly with younger people – and engender a sense of community.
Wasfi Kani, founder and CEO of Grange Park Opera, explains how the opera market has grown in the past five years but points out that this is also a challenge. “Audiences have a lot of choice and the challenge is to be distinctive – through the quality of singers and repertoire. But, our location on the edge of London has given Grange Park Opera a competitive advantage.”
The company has managed to navigate its fair share of obstacles. It was a real challenge getting planning permission to build a five.storey building in a green belt, raising the funds, building the opera house in just 11 months and winning a new audience, but the opera company hit all the right notes.