‘It really does feel like family! Some of the best friends I’ve made in life have come from working here’
A member of the Opera Holland Park Chorus since 2009, Naomi Kilby is a well-known face and figure in the company. She has worked with the Inspire programme, in our Box Office, and we are delighted that she is returning to OHP this season.
Can you tell us about your role at OHP this year?
I’ll be performing with the Chorus in Hansel and Gretel and Rigoletto.
What are you most looking forward to this summer?
My advance schedule has a lot of movement calls so I’m looking forward to a lot of dancing!
Do you have a favourite memory at OHP?
Oh goodness, too many to number! Cartwheeling on stage in a catsuit during my first season was a pretty special moment. However, some other highlights are singing at the Opera Awards representing Opera Holland Park’s Inspire team at Sadlers Wells, 2021’s Le nozze di Figaro – where I sang First Bridesmaid, and we were just all so filled with joy to be creating theatre again, and singing under Barbara Hannigan’s baton at Snape Maltings for the Aldeburgh Festival in a concert performance of The Rake’s Progress.
What do you think is special about the OHP chorus?
It probably sounds cheesy, but it really does feel like family! Some of the best friends I’ve made in life have come from working here, and many other creative projects have springboarded from connections that were made at OHP.
As someone who has been a pillar of the chorus for a number of years, what is it like coming back each year?
There’s definitely a sense of responsibility in terms of meeting new members of the company, and working hard to make sure that everyone feels welcome and respected. It’s also joyful to work with so many good friends and colleagues across all areas of Opera Holland Park.
You’ve been involved with other parts of the company outside of the season, such as working with Inspire and also in the Box Office. What has that been like for you?
I adore working on Inspire events and projects. There is such a variety of different experiences – everything from teaching primary school children how to dance a mazurka to singing a telephone recital for elderly people who aren’t able to leave their homes, and have no access to video call technology. I’ve just joined the Box Office team this season and it’s been really interesting to get both a better insight into all the work that goes on behind the scenes, as well as to speak to many different people who support Opera Holland Park.
What do you enjoy doing outside of performing?
I love going to the theatre, travelling and cooking, and can usually be found cycling my trusty Brompton around London.
Do you have a dream role you’d like to perform?
Susanna in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro. I covered her in my last year at Music College, and then sang the role in a concert performance a few years ago. She’s such a brilliant character – loving, intelligent and very feisty!
What is one piece of advice, musical or otherwise, that has stuck with you?
You can be anything you want – so choose to be kind.
Interview by Lucy Hicks Beach