Also this week, Ofsted goes old school on punishing naughty pupils and Boris plays truant


I first went to the opera in London’s Holland Park in the early 90s. Back then it was a rather low-key affair: though the singers and the orchestra were under cover, large sections of the audience weren’t and I once got very wet during a performance of Rossini’s Barber of Seville as the rain tipped down. That really was a labour of love. Now Opera Holland Park is a far bigger operation with an awning over the entire 1,000 seater auditorium and some of the best portable toilets in the country, but it has none of the formality of some opera festivals and hasn’t lost its sense of community. A recent performance was a charity fundraiser for the victims of the Grenfell fire: the tower is about a mile from Holland Park and one of those who died worked for the opera company. It also stages performances of consistently high quality – the Traviata I saw this year was heartbreakingly good – and is great value. For less than the price of a ticket to watch the Rolling Stones on a giant video screen from the bleachers at Twickenham you can get close to some of the world’s finest young singers.

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Read More Outdoor opera that’s open to all? Holland Park’s got it covered

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