Monday, April 29, 2013

This blog has moved!

Thanks for looking at my blog at this site... But I now have a spanking new website with blog attached which I'd love you to visit Please follow this link William Kerley's New Website See you there!! William Kerley

Monday, April 15, 2013

Basil Coleman RIP - A Tribute

On 4th April I had the great privilege of giving an address at the funeral of my dear friend and mentor, Basil Coleman... Here's the text of my speech: First of all thank you very much for inviting me to speak about Basil. I have to confess I feel something of a late-comer here, having only known Basil for the last 12 years. I’m sure there are many here today, who have known him for so much longer than I – but I do feel that the privilege of his close friendship has been one of the most important of my life. I first met Basil when I was preparing to direct Britten’s GLORIANA at the Snape Maltings, fifty years after Basil had directed the very first production at the Royal Opera House in Coronation Year, 1953. Basil was immediately charming, welcoming, kind; wearing his huge wealth of experience very lightly, keen to know all about this young director & his work, very interested in what was going on in the cultural and wider world, as he always was. As long as he could, Basil came to see my productions of operas and plays in London and Aldeburgh, and was the most amazing mentor I could ever have hoped for. We all know that Basil was an incredibly self-effacing man, never one to blow his own trumpet, always deflecting any glory onto his colleagues or friends. He couldn’t seem to help it, he was a gentleman, through and through. And Basil was too self-effacing to stop to write his memoirs, but once we’d become firm friends, I was lucky enough to conduct a series of interviews with him, and they are a treasure trove of his wonderful stories. The transcripts are now in the archives at the Britten-Pears Library in Aldeburgh. Here’s a little extract from one of our conversations in 2004, when Basil was 87: WK: Basil, do you feel that you’ve had a blessed life? BC: Oh, golly, yes! WK: Do you feel you’ve been immensely lucky? BC: Oh, yes, indeed - I’ve had such a rich life, and worked with and been associated with one genius and at least two other people touched with genius. WK: Then how wonderful to be at the stage you’re at now, Basil, with such a storehouse of amazing memories! BC: Yes, aren’t I lucky? But I don’t dwell on it. It’s there and I can’t help dipping into it from time to time. I’m too interested in the present and what is going to happen in the future too, you know, that I don’t want to get bogged down in the past. Well, Basil, this is the one occasion on which your modesty can’t prevent us from taking a few moments to celebrate this rich, blessed and prolific past of yours. Now that Basil in no longer trapped in one time, but free of it, his whole life can be remembered and celebrated. So, today, let us remember the boy Basil in Bullawayo, climbing into bed with his father and step-mother, the redoubtable Gwen Givern Chambers, an ardent pacifist, vegetarian and Suffragette, as she captivated Basil’s young imagination with the story of The Merchant of Venice, igniting his lifelong love of Shakespeare. Even as an elderly man, Basil could start to weep at the beauty of Shakespeare’s verse. Let’s remember Basil the Schoolboy at Frensham Heights in Surrey who started the drama club there, the ardent student at Elsie Fogerty’s Central School - an intense training of which Basil said: BC: I think I took it far too seriously, do you know - because there was a time when I was at the Old Vic and AS YOU LIKE IT was on, and the part that I understudied was the First Lord who has a very long description - WK: The death of the deer - BC: Of the deer and all that - and at the end of it Tyrone Guthrie stamped down the stalls and said ‘No! No! Basil - I’m sure he didn’t say it like that unless he was a pupil of Elsie Fogerty’s - you really must forget it!’ Let’s remember the Basil who did his Old Vic audition for Lillian Baylis herself, who, as a student, appeared with Laurence Olivier in Henry V on the Old Vic stage, directed by Tyrone Guthrie, of whom Basil said to me: “Tony was so daring, that was one of the wonderful things about him, in his production of Henry V with Olivier during that season when I was a student, there was a kind of ramp at the back of the stage which Olivier rushed onto for ‘Once More unto the breach, dear friends’ - and we students, with black cloaks over us, carried on lamps, from either side of the stage and shone them on him too, which was a wonderfully exciting, magical effect… that was the kind of thing that he did, it was so unexpected and brilliant.” You can just hear Basil’s excitement – a passion for the stage that he never lost. As an Old Vic student, Basil had to go on, with virtually no rehearsal, as understudy Fool in King Lear. Who was playing Lear? Who came down the dressing-room stairs to the stage saying ‘but does he know it? I’d rather he took the book on if he doesn’t know it’ – why? – John Gielgud, of course. Basil said he was very kind, placing a reassuring hand on his quaking back as he moved him around the stage. Later, during the war, at a moment’s notice, Basil had to take over the part of Iago in OTHELLO from Bernard Miles at the New Theatre, one of the longest parts in Shakespeare. To list the great actors and actresses with whom Basil worked over the years, is to recite a Who’s Who of the greatest theatrical talents this nation has ever produced. Basil earned his spurs as an actor, in the gruelling hard-work of weekly and three-weekly Rep in Amersham, Henley-on-Thames and then directed almost all the plays in rep at the Midland Theatre Company in Coventry for whom he even ended up playing Hamlet, his last appearance as an actor. During the war, he was a conscientious objector, ‘I knew that I couldn’t take up a gun and shoot a man, whatever his nationality’ he told me, and was sent off to work in the fruit farms of Sussex - ‘I learned how to prune apple trees, and I did them very well, may I say!’ - but then was enlisted to join Ruth Spalding’s company, the Pilgrim Players, touring morality plays, one night stands in village and school halls and churches, back-breaking get-ins and get-outs, touring the South and West of England in a truck. After the war, it was his mentor Tony Guthrie, who asked Basil to be his assistant director in 1948 on Benjamin Britten’s new realization of THE BEGGAR’S OPERA. I asked Basil about that first experience of meeting Ben Britten: BC: At Erwin Stein’s house in Oxford Square there was a huge grand piano in a not very big room - and the first play-through took place there with the Steins of course there, and Joan Cross, Nancy Evans, Rose Hill, Eric Crozier, Ben, Peter and Tony Guthrie and myself and I couldn’t believe it, you know that suddenly I was in the same room! But again Ben’s enchantment, his charm was immediate and there, do you know? And he played of course, through and Peter marked his part a bit and Nancy and Rose Hill theirs; and with the sound of all those wonderful lyrics coming from them, it was so thrilling - so thrilling - and I walked on air all the way back to Fitzroy Street to a flat I was sharing with three other friends.. And this relationship with Britten, of course, was to become one of the most important of his life, both personally and professionally, in 1949 at the Jubilee Hall in Aldeburgh, he directed the first production of Britten’s children’s opera, LET’S MAKE AN OPERA, then in 1951 he was entrusted with the huge challenge of staging BILLY BUDD at the Royal Opera House, then the premieres of TURN OF THE SCREW and GLORIANA would follow, major revivals of PETER GRIMES, RAPE OF LUCRETIA, ALBERT HERRING and so on. In 1954 Basil went to Toronto, Canada to run The Crest Theatre, returning briefly to take the BBC Television Director’s Course at Lime Grove, and so began his extraordinary achievements in the field of television, countless brilliant productions and classic adaptations – a BAFTA winning production of BILLY BUDD, de Falla’s LA VIDA BREVA, which was the first time television opera had been made in colour - and so many more too numerous to mention. In Canada his first television experience was directing a children’s programme with puppets and actors called HOW DE DO DEE! - in the days when everything was broadcast live. His television plays and BBC Shakespeares were wonderful, with many famous actors, Michael Redgrave, Eileen Atkins, Eric Porter, Michael Hordern among them. Basil somehow managed to fit in many operas at Sadlers Wells, productions far afield in Turkey and the USA, a couple of plays by Francis Durbridge at the Fortune and Piccadilly Theatres in the West End – one of which ran for two years and provided a welcome regular royalty cheque. Oh yes, this modest man had the most prolific and successful of directorial careers in theatre, opera and on television. In 1965, Basil cycled down to Barnes to look at number 27 Kitson Road – he told me he was initially horrified at the thought of moving ‘south of the river’, but made a wonderful home there, full of beautiful art-works and books, records of his great collaborations and friendships, even the waste-paper-basket in his study was a prop-bucket from the lower-deck of HMS Indomitable from his BBC BILLY BUDD – it’s a stylish and tasteful home with a warm welcome, beautifully decorated by his beloved Mel, to whom he was devoted, Basil often visiting Mel in the Bahamas, and latterly living for Sundays and the sound of Mel’s voice on the telephone. Basil had a lovely sense of humour, and there was much laughter in our visits, my wife Claire would take Basil’s BAFTA down from the mantelpiece and wave it around as if she’d just been awarded it, much to Basil’s amusement, he was charming with my young children, relishing their company, ‘ah!’ he’d say of our baby son Thomas, ‘my youngest friend!’ and even, at the age of ninety, had a go at bottle-feeding him. Basil’s kindness permeated every aspect of his life. All the way through his career, Basil believed absolutely in encouraging his collaborators. He said: “There can be this insecurity in so many artists, I think understandably - if you can give them confidence you’re halfway there.” I asked him about his own nerves. WK: How are you about first nights - do you get very nervous? BC: Of course. WK: But do you always watch? BC: Yes, oh yes. WK: You don’t run away and hide in the circle bar? BC: No, I don’t, and once it starts and seems to be going alright, I then get so proud of the performers that my fears disappear. And Basil believed firmly that he had a duty to his fellow man, that it was important that through culture, and specifically through television, ordinary people could experience great art otherwise denied to them: BC: I always had this feeling that opera was so exclusive and so costly that very few people could afford to go to it except to Sadlers Wells for instance - and all these marvellous works were still locked away for a lot of people. Television was a way of bringing them to a wider audience. And it was fascinating the letters that came in after it saying ‘I’d no idea where that duet came from’. However old and progressively incapacitated Basil became physically, he never lost his youthful sense of curiosity, his eternal optimism, I remember when I was working in Ireland and telephoned Basil, ‘Ah, Dublin, Will, just think of it!’ he said, ‘it is a city I have yet to visit!’ Yes Basil, we are here to celebrate all of those wonderful people you have been, in each of your Shakespearean Seven Ages. And we salute you for your fine friendship, the great encouraging life-force that you possessed, your spirit of curiosity, your incredible diligence and prodigious commitment to each of the hundreds of projects that came your way. The last time I saw Basil, a few weeks ago, was on the day I was off to the book-launch of Paul Kildea’s new Britten biography… I brought Basil good wishes from John Bridcut and Philip Reed. Basil was more frail than ever, could hardly speak… & I held his hand, and he squeezed mine with great determination, I told him my news: that I had just returned from meetings in Philadelphia about my new production there & how delighted I am to be directing PAUL BUNYAN later in this Britten centenary year…. His hard-working carer, Delia, had told me that Basil seemed to be agitated: worried about things at BBCTV Centre getting lost – somehow he’d heard that the building was closing – but I was able to reassure him that, these days, more people than ever have been able to see his work through the internet and DVDs – BILLY BUDD looks splendid on disc! – and on Youtube you can watch the whole of Basil’s 1977 ANNA KARENINA starring Nicola Pagett and his BBC Shakespeare AS YOU LIKE IT starring Helen Mirren… Basil seemed to accept my assurance that all was well, that much of his amazing body of work would survive his passing, and his tired eyes lit up, he looked at me and whispered the four last words I heard him speak: ‘you give me life’. No Basil, it is you who have given a richer life to all of us who have had the great fortune to know you, and as long as each of us have breath to extol your exemplary life, and your brilliant achievements, we will do so. Thank you for everything, dear Basil Coleman, you lovely, lovely man.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

My new production of POWDER HER FACE in Philadelphia

Getting ready to head back to Opera Company of Philadelphia, or Opera Philadelphia as we now must learn to call it.. Having meetings there about my new production of Thomas Ades' POWDER HER FACE which opens in June follow this link for more info: POWDER HER FACE OPERA COMPANY OF PHILADELPHIA

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

My production of LA BOHEME plays The Royal Opera House, Oman

Hi ho, hi ho! It's off to Oman I go... where the Castleton Festival production of LA BOHEME I created at Castleton last year will play on 3rd and 4th November. Designs by the great Nick Vaughan. I'm thrilled that the wonderful Joyce El-Khoury returns to play Mimi...

Monday, July 23, 2012

Castleton Festival 2012

Congratulations to all concerned on another successful Castleton Festival - not even a hurricane could stop it! New production of BARBER OF SEVILLE
and the production of CARMEN that I made at the Teatro Petruzzelli in Bari earlier this year...
... were remarkable successes under the baton of the founding father himself, Maestro Lorin Maazel... here he is conducting last year's new production of LA BOHEME which we'll take to the Royal Opera House, Oman, this November...

Friday, January 13, 2012

CARMEN at Teatro Petruzzelli in Bari, Italy...

My new production of CARMEN with Maestro Lorin Maazel conducting opens on 20th January at the Teatro Petruzzelli in Bari...

and there's more to come later in the season...

Monday, December 05, 2011

Teatro Petruzzelli, Bari, Italy... & a new CARMEN!

Here I am in Italy - first day of rehearsal for the new production of CARMEN I'm directing here at the amazing TEATRO PETRUZZELLI - with my long-time & brilliant collaborator Tom Rogers doing the set and costume designs...

The show opens on 20th January 2012...

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Back in Beijing - Barber of Seville at NCPA

Hello again from Beijing where I'm directing a new production of Rossini's BARBER OF SEVILLE at the National Centre of Performing Arts - conducted by Maestro Lorin Maazel.

The production is a co-production between the Castleton Festival and the NCPA & opens on 24th November 2011.

Here's a link to the NCPA website with more details..

Sunday, July 31, 2011

British Youth Opera - Marriage of Figaro

I've just started rehearsals for my new production of Marriage of Figaro with the brilliant young performers from British Youth Opera - my fourth show for this wonderful company....

Here's a link to the BYO website...

British Youth Opera Homepage

Maestro Lorin Maazel - a personal message -

Monday, July 25, 2011

Back from Beijing...

Just back from Beijing, China, where I've been having meetings at the National Centre for the Performing Arts....

I'm going to be directing a new production there this autumn.... more details to follow!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

And so to San Francisco..

Here I am at Heathrow Terminal 5 on the start of my long journey to San Francisco - my first time in the city...

I'm making my way to Berkeley to direct Britten's Rape of Lucretia and Albert Herring at the building in the picture below - the Zellerbach Hall.

Maestro Lorin Maazel is conducting all the performances...

Follow this link for more news of our Cal Performances residency...

Castleton Festival at CAL Performances

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Short Montage of Castleton Festival

Here's a short montage 2 and a half minutes or so - of the Castleton Festival 2010 from the superb documenary maker, Scott Willis...

Castleton Festival Montage

Scott Willis's Film of Castleton Festival 2010

Please watch a brilliant short documentary about Castleton Festival 2010 shot by the excellent Scott Willis here -

Castleton Festival Documentary 2010

It features great footage of some of the new opera productions I directed at Castleton this year...

Saturday, November 20, 2010

English National Opera TheatreCraft Masterclass

On Monday 22nd November as part of TheatreCraft 2010 I'll be giving a directing masterclass at English National Opera.

TheatreCraft Masterclasses are for 17-25 year-olds who are interested in pursuing careers in the performing arts.

More information at this website:

English National Opera TheatreCraft Masterclasses 2010

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Washington Post on Castleton Festival 2011

Follow this link to the Washington Post's piece about next year's Castleton Festival - by Anne Midgette

The Washington Post on the Castleton Festival 2011

Following this month's Press Launch at the Willard Hotel, Washington DC

Castleton Festival Press Launch on Chinese TV!

Here's the footage from Chinese TV covering our Washington DC Press Launch for the Castleton Festival 2011...

Castleton Festival Washington DC Press Launch on Chinese Television

Friday, October 01, 2010

London - Beijing - London

Just got back to London from Beijing. My first time in China...
I was there for some meetings at the National Centre for the Performing Arts.
Incredible city!
Extraordinary building....

Saturday, September 04, 2010

London - Paris - Bath - New York City

Phew - what a week - Monday I was off to Paris for meetings with Maestro Lorin Maazel about the Castleton Festival 2011

On Thursday - off to New York for various meetings & plenty of work with Nick Vaughan, designer, on our new productions for next year...

And, in between, a joyous occasion in Bath - the marriage, at Bath Guildhall,
of my friends Natasha Pryce and William Harris... & a perfect wedding reception at Essington Court in the village of Midford nearby...

Natasha is a brilliant young director & was my assistant when I directed La Fille du Regiment at Opera Holland Park in 2008...

William Harris is the inspired and inspiring leader of the theatre courses at Middlesex University...

And, at the wedding, it was great to meet the Best Man - a man I'd previously known by name only - his name is Torquil MacLeod and he's the producer of Radio 4's excellent Saturday Review.....

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Washington Post on Castleton Festival Stavinsky/de Falla Double Bill

Here's a link to Anne Midgette's review of my productions of Stravinsky's SOLDIER'S TALE and de Falla's MASTER PETER'S PUPPET SHOW which played this year at the Castleton Festival...

Washington Post Review of Soldier's Tale/Master Peter's Puppet Show

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Castleton Festival 2010 contd..

My production of Britten's BEGGAR'S OPERA opens tonight at the Castleton Festival...

My assistant Jonathan Solari has done a fantastic job getting the production ready...

The entire company have worked very hard to recreate the show...

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Financial Times on Trittico at Castleton Festival

Il Trittico, Castleton Festival, US
By George Loomis
Published: July 6 2010
Lorin Maazel began his musical career as a child prodigy and as he enters his ninth decade retains a capacity for music-making that can only be called prodigious. For several years, his estate in Virginia has been a gathering point for young musicians under Maazel’s tutelage, activities that last year blossomed into the Castleton Festival. This year it returns with an enlarged schedule (four crowded July weekends) and an enlarged principal venue.

The opening attraction, a new production of Puccini’s Il Trittico by resident stage director William Kerley, Maazel conducting, shows that it is growing artistically as well, with a slew of talented young singers deployed in Puccini’s triptych of one-act operas. The locales – a river boat for the lurid Il Tabarro, a convent for the religiosity of Suor Angelica, a Florentine townhouse for the romp Gianni Schicchi – demand more than a unit set. Nicholas Vaughan’s design achieves unity by fashioning a detailed boat and a cloistered square out of beige wood.

Yet Gianni Schicchi is the most imaginative of the three. In this tale of deception, the late Buoso Donati’s home has leather-and-chrome furniture and modern art, including a glass-encased stuffed mule – an objet d’art Donati’s’s heirs squabble over in lieu of the live animal Puccini left unseen. Corey Crider’s Gianni Schicchi is convincing, with Matthew Plenk bringing an appealingly light tenor to Rinuccio’s salute to Florence. Joyce El-Khoury showed promise as Schicchi’s daughter, so one was happy to encounter her again, replacing an ill colleague in the title role of Suor Angelica (performed last, in a departure from normal practice). You have to wince at Puccini’s clichéd depiction of convent life, but the plight of Angelica, cast off by her aristocratic family, is hard to resist. El-Khoury’s textured soprano serves the music beautifully, and Maria Isabel Vera is formidable as her cold-hearted aunt, the Principessa.

Il Tabarro yields another excellent soprano, Jessica Klein, in lustrous, resonant voice as Giorgetta. Noah Stewart sings Luigi with such tenorial power that it is almost implausible when Michele (Nicholas Pallesen), Giorgetta’s cuckolded husband, strangles him. Maazel drew an assured performance from his players that nicely projected the music’s colourful details.

Financial Times on Trittico Castleton Festival

Baltimore Sun on Castleton Trittico

Ionarts: Opening of the Castleton Festival

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Interview with Marlyn Cooley of WETA Classical Radio

Here's a link to a recent radio interview I did: one of the series of Classical Conversations with WETA presenter Marilyn Cooley in connection with my work as Resident Stage Director at the Castleton Festival..

  • Classical Conversations: William Kerley
  • Thursday, July 01, 2010

    Castleton Festival 2010 contd..

    There's a piece about the Castleton Festival in this month's Gramophone Mag....

    Sunday, June 20, 2010

    Castleton Festival 2010 contd..

    All three productions of TRITTICO brewing nicely - Maestro Maazel back in Castleton & having music calls...

    Meant to say I've joined Twitter...

    You can follow me at

    I have a select band of 28 followers....!

    Fame at last!

    Tuesday, June 15, 2010

    Castleton Festival 2010

    Greetings from sultry Virginia...

    I'm back at Castleton, this time thankfully with wife Claire and son Thomas & am rehearsing Puccini's TRITTICO in the great new Castleton Festival Tent.

    The singers are completely amazing - big stars of the future.

    Nick Vaughan has created an incredible set & Rie Ono my fab lighting designer seems to have a bigger rig than ever!

    The talented Jonathan Solari is reviving my productions of Beggar's Opera and The Turn of the Screw in the Theatre (Theater) House.

    I then go into rehearsals for the de Falla - Master Peter's Puppet Show and Stravinsky's Soldier's Tale.

    It's going to a terrific festival. Check out the Castleton Festival web pages, please.

    Maestro Maazel gets here on Thursday & I'm so looking forward to working with him again.

    Saturday, May 08, 2010

    The Britten Project - California - 2011

    I am delighted to report that my Castleton productions of Britten's ALBERT HERRING and THE RAPE OF LUCRETIA will play at the Zellerbach Hall in March 2011 as part of the CAL season of performances at the University of California, Berkeley.

    The Rape of Lucretia is my Chateauville Foundation production which played last year at the Opera Company of Philadelphia. I'm thrilled I'm getting the chance to take the shows out west!

    Maestro Lorin Maazel will be conducting the performances of both operas.

    Please follow this link for more details of the CAL Performances:

  • William Kerley directs Britten at Cal Performances 2011
  • Thursday, April 22, 2010

    Back from Castleton & going Punk at Guildhall...

    Just got back from Castleton, Virginia, where I spent ten days rehearsing Stravinsky's SOLDIER'S TALE and de Falla's MASTER PETER'S PUPPET SHOW for this year's Castleton Festival.

    Strange to be in rehearsal at Castleton without any singers. While there's singing in the de Falla, I wanted to work hard with Emily DeCola and her colleagues from The Puppet Kitchen, an amazing puppet company from New York City, and will add the singers later... the story is based on an episode from Cervantes Don Quixote - where our anti-hero gets confused by the plot of a puppet show he sees & ends up destroying both set and puppets - much to the chagrin of Master Peter, the puppet master...

    And the Stravinsky (more a piece of music-theatre than an opera) features the talents of a tremendous quartet of actor/dancers with whom I spent the week unlocking the piece with the terrific choreographer, Faye Driscoll.

    As soon as I get back to Castleton in mid-June, I'll be straight into rehearsals for our new production, in the Festival Tent, of Puccini's TRITTICO and, since I can't be in two places at once, wanted to have had a look at the action for the Stravinsky/de Falla double bill before then.

    Once the Puccini has opened, I'll be straight into rehearsals for the double-bill again - it opens in the last weekend of the Festival - the last week of July.

    On another note, I feel immensely lucky that I was able to catch the flight I'd originally booked - on 21st April - but it'd been touch and go for the last week if I'd be able to fly home, or my flight would be cancelled and I'd go to the back of the queue. Plenty of poor souls are still stranded... so I'm not quite sure how it all worked out for me...

    Thankfully I made it safely home & on time.... I start rehearsals for my new GSMD production of Britten's ALBERT HERRING on 28th - I think the folk at Guildhall were worried I wouldn't be back in time (so was I!)

    This time I'm updating Albert Herring to the 1970s.... power cuts, Thatcher, Punk Rock...

    RIP Malcolm Maclaren, the veritable Godfather of Punk.... who's been very much in mind as I've been preparing for rehearsals....

    Friday, March 19, 2010

    Flying Visit to Valencia

    Just got back from an overnight visit to Valencia, Spain, to see The Maestro, in another rather swish hotel, who's there conducting a double bill of operas at the Palau Opera House.

    Spent a good day talking through the pieces we're to present at this year's Castleton Festival. The press release about the season has now been published, so I can let you in on the news....

    In Valencia I read all the parts myself (!) of Jeremy Sams' excellent translation of Stravinsky's Soldier's Tale, which we're presenting at Castleton in a double bill with de Falla's Master Peter's Puppet Show.

    I've cast some hugely talented actor/dancers from New York, and I'm working with a brilliant company called The Puppet Kitchen as well as the excellent Faye Driscoll, the hottest choreographer in NYC.

    We're also creating a new production, in the (even bigger this year!) Castleton Festival Tent, of Puccini's 3 one-act operas which together make up his Trittico.

    And revivals of my Castleton Productions of Britten's Turn of the Screw and Beggar's Opera.

    Please visit for more details...

    Monday, January 25, 2010

    London - NYC - New Haven - Philadelphia - London

    I have just got(ten!?) back to London from ten days in New York City, where I was having meetings and holding auditions for my Castleton Festival productions this year.

    The Castleton Festival 2010 season is yet to be announced, a press release is imminent, so I can't (yet) reveal here details of the new productions.

    But I can let you know that, along with my long time collaborators, the designer Nick Vaughan and the lighting designer Rie Ono, I will be collaborating with Emily DeCola and Eric Wright, the brilliant puppeteers from New York's PUPPET KITCHEN.

    I went out to New Haven, Connecticut, to meet Emily and Eric, where they are currently in rehearsal at Yale Rep for the world premiere of a new play by Rinne Groff called Compulsion - it's being directed by the artistic director of the New York Public Theater, Oskar Eustis.

    And I'm also thrilled to be working this year at Castleton with a fantastic choreographer called Faye Driscoll.

    More details to follow of the exciting new productions and revivals this year at Castleton.

    While I was that side of the Atlantic I was also able to go down to Philadelphia to meet my esteemed colleagues Robert Driver and David Devan - who run the marvellous Opera Company of Philadelphia - for whom I directed Britten's Rape of Lucretia last year...

    Tuesday, January 05, 2010

    Albert Herring at Guildhall 2010

    Pleased to report that I've been invited to direct Britten's ALBERT HERRING at the London Guildhall School of Music and Drama this year.

    The performances are on the 9th, 11th, 14th and 16th June 2010 at 7pm.

    This will be my fourth production with the talented students of the Guildhall Opera Department & I'm much looking forward to returning there...

    The production is designed by Tom Rogers, with lighting by Johanna Town.

    Wednesday, December 02, 2009

    Busy Day in London Town....

    A productive day: breakfast meeting at the Dorchester Hotel with Maestro Lorin Maazel talking through our plans for next year's Castleton Festival.

    Last night I attended a fantastic concert he gave with the Philharmonia Orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall.

    Mahler's 9th Symphony. What can I say?

    ....Bloody brilliant.

    & then this afternoon, off in the rain to Hackney Road, Shoreditch, for a meeting with designer Tom Rogers about our new production at Guildhall Britten's Albert Herring. The production opens in London on June 9th 2010.

    Here are a just a few images from the outstanding work Tom has produced for me since we first worked together on a new production of Britten's Let's Make an Opera at the Jubilee Hall in Aldeburgh.

    Oh, and yes - the final one really is a monster computer mouse (!) from our 2007 production of Magic Flute:

    You can see more of Tom Rogers' work at his agent Clare Vidal-Hall's website - follow this link:

  • Designer Tom Rogers at Clare Vidal Hall's agency

  • Friday, November 27, 2009

    British Youth Opera Rake's Progress review at

    Here's another review of my recent BYO production of Rake's Progress from Adam Highbury of

  • Opera Talent Review of BYO Rake's Progress
  • Tuesday, November 17, 2009

    New York November....

    Greetings from New York City!

    I'm out here for a whirlwind week of meetings to plan, with my designer, the super-talented Nick Vaughan and Chateauville Executive Director Doug Beck, our Castleton Festival shows for next year.

    Designer Nick Vaughan currently has a huge hit on his hands with his new show called LILY'S REVENGE which is currently sold out at a theatre called the HERE ARTS CENTRE...

    One of the operas we're working on is by Igor Stravinsky (details to follow..) ....(I was lucky enough to direct my first production of his RAKE'S PROGRESS this summer with the wonderful singers of British Youth Opera - see previous pages)

    If I look out from the Chateauville Foundation office window I can see the lights of Essex House. Stravinsky lived the last years of his life here - and died in Essex House in 1971...