Streaming at 7.30pm on 9, 10, 11, 12 and 13 November and 1pm on 12 and 13 November***
A reclusive widow, a loyal servant, an angry creditor and a pair of pistols are the ingredients for an unlikely romance in The Bear.
“Why, O why must creditors appear and debtors always vanish?”
The widow Popova has given up on life. Locking herself inside her country house, she vows to surrender her happiness in a show of devotion to her late husband. But when Smirnov arrives to demand payment a heated argument is turned on its head as they fall furiously in love, to the astonishment of Popova’s servant, Luka.
William Walton’s witty one-act opera was adapted from Chekhov’s comedy in 1967. Laced with allusions to Massenet, Strauss, Stravinsky and Tchaikovsky, the music sparkles in this chamber reduction by Jonathan Lyness.
Filmed and recorded live on location in Stone House over two days in April 2021, this film reunites the cast and creative team of Opera Holland Park’s acclaimed 2019 production of Il segreto di Susanna, and features members of Opera Holland Park’s resident orchestra, the City of London Sinfonia.
Directed by John Wilkie, conducted by John Andrews, designed by takis and filmed by Simon Wall, The Bear stars mezzo-soprano Clare Presland, baritone Richard Burkhard and bass-baritone John Savournin. Also on screen are pianist Fran Hills, violinist Ruth Funnell, bassoonist Christopher Rawley, harpist Stephanie Beck and percussionist Glyn Matthews.
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John Savournin as Luka, Clare Presland as Popova and Richard Burkhard as Smirnov in The Bear for Opera Holland Park, 2021 © Laima Arlauskaite