Meet the cast and creative teams behind Opera Holland Park’s 2022 season. Over the coming weeks, we’ll introduce our singers, directors, conductors and crews at the heart of the productions this summer.
Today, we meet conductor Lada Valešová. Having conducted the Young Artists performance of The Marriage of Figaro in 2021, this year she is the conductor of Eugene Onegin.
Could you introduce us to your role at OHP?
I am a conductor and I am very excited to be conducting the new production of Eugene Onegin this summer.
What aspects of your production are you most excited about?
I can’t wait to start bringing the genius score of Tchaikovsky and the beautiful words of Pushkin to life, seeing the characters and their story taking shape in rehearsals, embodied by our amazing cast under the director’s vision and then offering it to our audiences. It is a privilege and a passion.
What is something surprising about your job that audience members may not know?
The arm movements the conductor makes are the most obvious but only one of many components of what makes a conductor a conductor.
Do you have a favourite OHP memory?
There are so many! But the most recent and powerful one is finishing conducting our first show of The Marriage of Figaro with the Young Artists last summer: that moment when the last chord ends and there’s a sense of perfect connection with the orchestra, the cast, our audience and the London night around us. Short, yet timeless.
Was there any music that got you through Lockdown? What was it and how did it help you?
I’ve listened to a lot of Russian Orthodox Liturgical choral music. There’s something so grounding, ancient and timeless in those chants, which connects directly to my DNA. A powerful reminder that “also this will pass”. To lighten up the mood I’d go then to jazz recordings!
What are you looking forward to this OHP season?
It’s already wonderful to be coming back to OHP and on top of it to conduct one of my favourite operas: Eugene Onegin, with which I grew up. It was the first opera I saw, aged seven, with my mum when growing up in Moscow.
If you could work with any performer or director, alive or dead, who would it be?
Not a performer or a director, but a producer and creator Sergei Diaghilev. What an amazing legacy just reading the list of all the new works he enabled and facilitated. Producers are the beating heart of the engine!