Tag Archives: Featured

Masterclass with Nelly Miricioiu – Sat 19th Sep 2pm

We are proud and lucky to announce that the internationally renowned artist, Nelly Miricioiu, has kindly offered to hold a Masterclass as a lead up to the Clapham Opera Festival on

Saturday 19th September 2pm

After a wonderful meeting with the Festival founder Marie Soulier, Signora Miricioiu offered to run a Masterclass in front of a small audience (70 people).

As Signora Miricioiu stated:

“I want to pass my legacy to the future generation, and the idea of a young festival is brilliant”

A few lucky singers will be coached by the great Diva on Saturday 19th September at 2pm. Doors will open at 13:20. It will be a rare chance to see one of the greats in action.

You will discover how a sparkling career on the stages of La Scala, the Met and Royal Opera House opposite the likes of Jose Carreras, Placido Domingo and Roberto Alanya, has been maintained through hard work, passion and an ability to commit to the music fully with mind, body and soul.

The three singers will be appearing at the Festival, so Festival goers will also be able to witness first hand their development as artists.

We do advise to book early, as this event will sell out.

Tickets available here

finale 2

Discover OPUS


My name is Marie Soulier, and I am the founder of the Clapham Opera Festival and Opera Pour Un Salon.

Moliere said: “of all the noises known to man, Opera is the most expensive one”

When I fell in love with Opera some years ago, the art form seemed inaccessible for me here in London. It was expensive, exclusive, distant from my world.

So if I could not go to the Opera, I decided to bring the Opera to my living room instead

Over three years I  hosted a number of opera and classical music performances at my flat in London. This is when Opera Pour Un Salon (OPUS) was born.

In 2011, OPUS started to organise Opera and Classical Music nights for people in their own living room, and has since put on concerts in a range of locations, from retail spaces to churches.

So if you are an individual, organisation or business, and would like OPUS to create a wonderful music experience for you, just get in touch

A bientot


Lucia Capellaro

OPUS Concert #1: An Evening of Baroque 2nd July 2015

Thursday 2nd July 2015: Passions of the Soul

We are proud to announce that the first of the OPUS Concerts will be an evening of Baroque, featuring a carefully selected repertoire of Early Music.

Prices : Adults £18; Concession: £13; Family £50

Tickets: right here

Doors Open: 1900                                Performance starts: 1930 prompt!

Location: Church of the Holy Spirit, Narbonne Avenue, SW4 9LQ

Themed “Passions of the Soul“, you will have the chance to enjoy the music of Monteverdi, Caccini and Purcell amongst other others.

We are lucky to have back the incredible Maltese Mezzo Soprano Clare Ghigo, who performed beautifully in the leading role in Rossini’s Cenerentola at last year’s Festival closer.

We also welcome back the exciting Hungarian recorder player László Rózsa and the breathtaking cellist Lucia Capellaro. They will be joined by a new face to the Clapham Opera scene, the wonderful Alex McCartney on Theobo

Doors open at 1900, the performance starts at 1930 (prompt!)

The location of the evening will be the Church of The Holy Spirit, Narbonne Avenue, Clapham, London, SW4 9LQ.

After the concert, the artists will join the audience for conversation and drinks.

Angelica Catalani

A Celebration of the Diva/Divo

The Diva/Divo of Opera brings drama, electricity and incredible artistry to this wonderful art form. Yet I find myself asking: What is a Diva/Divo?

The definition seems to shift from the sublime to the caricature.

So I headed to Italy. Diva: a female deity. Divo: a male deity. The source is the latin Divus: a “deified mortal”.

So do we transform a great opera singer into a person who becomes divine in our eyes?

In recent times, we have shifted to a more negative interpretation, where the Diva is overly dramatic, spoilt and petulant, and believes everyone is beneath her.

Note the female form.

Why not Divo? Are men not also petulant, spoilt or selfish? There is sexism at play in modern day language.

Secondly, the negative connotation has fundamentally distorted the initial use of the word within Opera.

I then came across a fantastic article written by Fred Plotkin, who stated that we often confuse Diva with Prima Donna:

“In opera, a diva is that rare female singer whose talents, gifts and essence combine in special ways to transport the listener to sublime emotional states. The prima donna is usually an artist of abundant gifts, and she knows it. She gets the prime dressing room, the top salary and expects that sort of cosseting that goes with being the star.”

Fred Plotkin (source: WQXR)

There are no better examples of the opera singer having near god-like status, than the 18th Century castrati. Farinelli, Senesino, Paccierotti, Cafarelli and other castrati dazzled their audiences with emotional performances (and with their outfits). They were the celebrities of their day. Adored by many female fans, they commanded high fees and amassed extreme wealth. At one performance, one titled lady was so carried away that she famously exclaimed: “One God, one Farinelli!”.

Then we have the great tenors of Opera, from Enrico Caruso & Beniamino Gigli to Luciano Pavarotti. Caruso was a fascinating man who redefined the role of the tenor. The combination of his emotionally charged performances and his recordings meant that more people heard him than any man in history by the time he died in 1922.

And then we come to the the great Divas of operatic history: Angelica Catalani (pictured above), Guiditta Pasta, Renata Tebaldi, Maria Callas, Joan Sutherland, Kirsten Flagstad amongst others.

Callas once compared her great rival Tebaldi to herself as “Coca Cola to Champagne”. However, the two camps of passionate fans fanned most of the flames, not the Divas themselves. Tebaldi, once called the “Goddess of Song”, was renowned to be strong willed. One opera manager commented:

“She has dimples of iron”.

Divas/Divos are not immune to also being Prima Donnas too. Many successful castrati would demand that composers rewrite scores. Yet it is time for us to return to the true meaning of Diva/Divo. It is time to separate the Diva/Divo from the negative modern interpretation and celebrate their ability to transport us through a glorious sensory experience whenever they sing.

Let us celebrate the Diva /Divo.

© Paul Bay


In Praise of Music Teachers & Vocal Coaches

Upon the Shoulders of Teachers

It is to this illustrious Spanish artist, with a moved, devoted, and grateful heart, that I owe all my preparation and my artistic formation as an actress and musician. This elect woman, who, besides giving me her precious teaching, gave me her whole heart as well…

So said Maria Callas of the coloratura soprano Elvira de Hidalgo, her vocal teacher at the Athens Conservatoire. Such expression of gratitude and respect is common throughout the history of opera and music generally.

A both OPUS events and the Clapham Opera Festival artists often talk to Marie Soulier of the respect they have for their music teachers and voice coaches. One such teacher is the tenor Dennis O Neill (Wales International Academy of Voice; Visiting Professor of Singing at the Royal Academy of Music). He gives so much to help bring out the best in others.

The wonderful Laura Sarti (mezzo-soprano) has been a professor and Fellow of the Guildhall School of Music & Drama since the 1970s, and has gained a formidable reputation in the world of Bel Canto. We were lucky to have her attend our Grand Opening. A number of artists performing at the Clapham Opera Festival have been tutored by her and admire her greatly.

And as Laura Sarti said to Marie Soulier, the respect is mutual:

They are not only gifted and dedicated singers, but artists aware of the debt they owe great composers.

Recently, Marie and I met some wonderful music teachers and vocal coaches, including Dinah Harris (Royal College of Music), along with Neil Mackie and Kathleen Livingstone (Royal Academy of Music). It was evident that these teachers have an immense sense of pride for their pupils. They give emotional and practical support to their pupils, preparing them for a future in music.

Behind many great composers and singers, a teacher stood. Florian Gassmann paid for the musical education of a young Antonio Salieri and tutored him himself. Such was the impact on Salieri, that for all but the wealthiest of his pupils (including Beethoven, Liszt and Schubert) he gave his lessons for free.

As it was for Gassmann, Salieri and de Hidalgo, so it is with O Neill, Sarti, Harris, Mackie, Livingstone and all the other wonderful music teachers and voice coaches of today. They give their talent to help others shine. The artists who perform at OPUS events and at the Clapham Opera Festival will be the beacons for the next generation.

To the music teachers and voice coaches of the past, present and future, we thank you.
© Paul Bay