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Fiona Woolf DBE


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Last Updated: 5/8/22


Summer 2022

Back at last to the Queen Elizabeth Hall

It has been a long journey, and more cancellations than events, but at last Chelsea Opera Group are back performing in their traditional space at Queen Elizabeth Hall. During our 71 years, we have shared our concert planning between this iconic South Bank venue and the elegant Cadogan Hall. It is almost three years, pre-lockdown, since we were last at Queen Elizabeth Hall.

Andrea Chénier, 6pm, Sunday 29 May

Tickets are selling well for Andrea Chénier by Umberto Giordano, which starts at 6pm on Sunday 29 May this year. It is the weekend before the big June Bank Holiday events for the Queens’ Platinum Jubilee.

The cast of Andrea Chénier, some often seen at the Royal Opera House, are well into preparation and tickets are selling direct from the South Bank box office. Thrilling live music at reasonable prices will be all the more important this year. Chelsea Opera Group receives no grants but we have held prices stable, with seats starting from £15 plus booking fee (no fee if you book in person or for Southbank Centre Members and Supporters Circles).

Soloists are Gwyn Hughes Jones, Yuriy Yurchuk, Claire Rutter, Yvonne Howard, Fiona Kimm, Phillip Rhodes, Edmund Danon, Peter Bronder, Thomas D Hopkinson and Edward Jowle. The Conductor is Gianluca Marcianò, our recently appointed Artistic Director.

Our popular pre-performance talks have started again, free to ticket holders – just turn up, ready for a 4.45pm start in the main hall. The speaker is Simon Bainbridge.  The concert itself, with interval, will end at about 8.30pm. It will be sung in Italian, in concert version, and with English surtitles.

With the entertainment fixed for the evening, why not get there even earlier and eat on the riverside from the Open Food Market outside or in one of the many exciting restaurants nearby? The market stalls are varied and popular and due open from 12 noon-6pm.There is a car park, pre-bookable, nearby or public transport to Waterloo or Embankment an easy walk away (check the theatre website with its link to the car park to book your car space ahead of the day.)

Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice, 6pm, Saturday 29 October

MEANWHILE tickets are also available, at Cadogan Hall, for Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice at 6pm, on Saturday 29 October this year. Prices start at £15 and the pre-performance talk is free. The speaker is Ditlev Rindom.

Chelsea Opera Group

Chelsea Opera Group (COG) plans three operas a year as concerts, in the original language with English surtitles. We have a full trained chorus and large orchestra who also play for special events at Salisbury Cathedral.

For over 70 years we have had three aims. Firstly, to give opera in top venues at affordable prices, reviving unfairly-neglected works and uncommon versions of favourites. Many works revived by us are now in the repertoire of international opera houses. Secondly, we help younger players, singers and conductors by offering chances to perform. Finally, we want to grow future audiences by going out to schools and colleges.

The orchestra and chorus are trained amateur, but soloists and conductors are professionals. Dame Kiri te Kanawa, Sir Willard White and Sir John Tomlinson have sung with us. Sir Simon Rattle and Sir Mark Elder worked with COG as their careers developed.

Our first performance, Mozart’s Don Giovanni in 1950, was led by the then unknown Colin Davis, later to become Sir Colin Davis, Music Director of the Royal Opera House and Principal Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra.

We need help to continue this work. We get no public subsidy. Ticket sales can never cover costs and prices need to be affordable. Funds are raised from private donors and supportive companies through our registered charity, the Chelsea Opera Group Trust (President, Dame Fiona Woolf) and for this we are enormously grateful. If you would like to donate or join the mailing list to stay informed, please contact:


We still need a Digital Marketing Person to strengthen our media presence and an Orchestra Manager/Player. These are voluntary, interesting roles and rare chances to get involved with an effective amateur/professional opera company and to make your own mark on us! Please contact me if you are interested or can recommend someone.

To find out about joining our chorus please contact: Roy Chalmers

Published and supported by the Chelsea Opera Group Trust
Registered Charity Number 247438 Bargate, Richmond, North Yorkshire DL10 4QY

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