Just in: London’s first post-Covid opera

Just in: London’s first post-Covid opera


norman lebrecht

July 02, 2020

Hampstead Garden Opera is planning to stage Holst’s ‘Sāvitri’, with orchestra in the garden of Lauderdale House, Highgate in August.

One of the singers, Alex Aldren, went back to his previous vocation, medicine, and worked in an NHS hospital at the Covid peak.

The production will be staged by Julia Mintzer and conducted by Thomas Payne.




  • RW2013 says:

    The most sublime of all operas.

  • Stephen Maddock says:

    A clever woman cheats death from claiming her husband. And Holst wanted it performed outdoors. Plus the music is wonderful.

    Great choice!

  • OperaOrchPlayer says:

    Genuinely interested in how they’re justifying this under the current government guidelines (or is it just advice, they can’t seem to decide)… ditto Glyndebourne.

    We are in stage two of the five stage roadmap. That document makes it clear that arts institutions are not be permitted (or is it just advised?..) to mount live performances anywhere with a live audience, including outside, until we enter stage three.

    As the roadmap famously lacks dates or, for that matter, any sort of timeline to speak of, that make clear a schedule for entering stage three, surely it is beyond risky to sell performances that require substantial infrastructure and planning without a guarantee that those performances will be able to go ahead.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m dying to perform again. I’m just curious as to whether these companies know something we don’t, or whether they’re just hedging their bets.

    • Tone row says:

      it’s government “guidance” only.
      It’s time to put on some “underground” performances, with social distancing whatever.

    • It’s quite a problem! We have permission to rehearse, given distancing rules. Open air performance is stage III on the Government’s ‘roadmap’ – we don’t have a date for that – maybe at the end of the month? But if we don’t start rehearsing now, nothing will happen when stage III is announced. So we’re taking a view, instead of wringing our hands – and if we can’t premiere on august 13 as we plan, we’ll do so as soon as it’s possible.

      • Operaorchplayer says:

        Yes, it is quite a conundrum isn’t it.

        Great that you’re able to rehearse and be flexible with the performance dates if needed. I wonder what Glyndebourne will do if we’ve not reached the dizzying heights of Stage 3 by August…

        Anyway, I wish you all the best for the run and am glad you’ve decided to take the punt.

  • We are , as David says, aiming to plan for the best while being ready for the worst. Allowing a small audience in an outside setting should be no brainer…..but there has been plenty of lack of brains evident in planning recently at national level.