Ahead of rehearsals, Karolina Sofulak, Director of Manon Lescaut, talked to Philippa Peall about her career and interpreting Puccini for the Opera Holland Park stage.
Director Karolina Sofulak and designer George Johnson-Leigh come to OHP this summer as joint winners of the European Opera Directing Prize. They began working on their winning concept while at Opera North in 2017, and this summer their vision will finally be realised on the OHP stage.
Born in Poland, Sofulak first visited OHP in person last summer, where she saw Mascagni’s Isabeau. ‘I’m a complete anglophile – always have been – so it’s no wonder that I’m crazy about British summer opera festivals… OHP seems to me like a London version of this fantastic idea of combining summer, nature and opera – some of my favourite things.’
As a child, Sofulak wanted to be a conductor, but ‘with time this morphed into the dream of being an opera director’. It was hearing The Pearl Fishers’ Duet when she was five years old that inspired her. From there she followed her dream to Poland’s finest drama school: ‘But you don’t learn directing at school; you learn from the masters, as an apprentice or assistant. I’ve been very fortunate to work alongside some truly fantastic mentors.’
Over the last few years she has climbed through the ranks to become a director in her own right, able to bring her own style to the stage…
Read more in our programme, available at the theatre before all performances of Manon Lescaut. Tickets are still available for the remaining performances of Manon Lescaut on 22 and 26 June. Book here.