Verdi’s La forza del destino gets a new staging and new orchestration from Regents Opera

Regents Opera (formerly Fulham Opera) present La forza del destino
16 February – 5 March 2022 at St John’s Church, Fulham, London


  • Regents Opera (the new name for Fulham Opera) to stage Verdi’s La forza del destino
  • New orchestration for 11 instruments by Ben Woodward
  • New production directed by Rory Fazan
  • Regents Opera are the most ambitious fringe opera company in London, having staged numerous major works including Don Carlo, Falstaff, Die Meistersinger and a complete Ring cycle since their founding in 2011
  • Recent 5star Opera Now review and 4star The Times review for 2021 Die ägyptische Helena

In February/March 2022, Regents Opera brings to London one of Verdi’s lesser-produced favourites, La forza del destino. La forza del destino has been given an inventive new staging by Rory Fazan, and a new orchestration by Ben Woodward, who reduces Verdi’s orchestra to eleven players, which he will also conduct.

The major roles are double cast, with Catharine Woodward and Philippa Boyle in the role of Leonora, newcomer Howard Hutt and Dominic J Walsh (replacing the previously advertised Ronald Samm), Oliver Gibbs and Andrew Mayor as Don Carlo, and mezzos Kamilla Dunstan and Catherine Backhouse taking the challenging role of Preziosilla. The other roles are single cast and include 2021 Fulham Opera Verdi Prize winner Edwin Kaye as Padre Guardiano, Thomas Isherwood as Fra Melitone, and veteran Fulham Opera performer Gerard Delrez as the Marquis of Calatrava.

Regents Opera’s Artistic Director, Ben Woodward, says. ‘La forza del destino is a fascinating piece not only for its dramatic complexity, but for being a wonderful vehicle for truly excellent singing. The cast and musical team we have for this production is a luxury, each of them bringing their vast experience and huge enthusiasm for this repertoire. As with many of our previous productions, Forza is an absolutely massive undertaking, but this is what Regents Opera does – and Fulham Opera did do: we want to make the grandest works of opera accessible to people, and doing this piece with a new orchestration in a local venue does just that.’

The change of name from Fulham Opera to Regents Opera partially reflects a merger with Nicholas Heath’s Regents Opera, who had a twenty-five year history of taking opera to country houses and away from London. It also reflects Fulham Opera’s ambition and desire to continue this work outside London, and indeed outside the bounds of SW6; Die Meistersinger was in Southwark, and our 2022-24 Ring cycle will be in Central London.

Director Rory Fazan says, ‘In some ways La forza del destino is Verdi’s most “Shakespearean” work, there is drama written on high themes, and there is base comedy. It’s not possible to live a life ‘insulated from history’, but sometimes, in times of security or comfort, our individual lives might feel as if they were cut off from the sorts of things we read about in newspapers or see on the news. The past two years, it goes without saying, have not been such a time, and how timely therefore this production of Forza is.’

La forza del destino is the first production since the Fulham/Regents Opera merge, marking their place as the largest fringe opera company in London.

Catharine Woodward (16, 26 Feb, 1 Mar), Philippa Boyle (19, 23 Feb, 5 Mar)
Alvaro Howard Hutt (16, 26 Feb, 1 Mar), Dominic J Walsh (19, 23 Feb, 5 Mar)
Don Carlo Oliver Gibbs (16, 26 Feb, 1 Mar), Andrew Mayor (19, 23 Feb, 5 Mar)
Preziosilla Kamilla Dunstan (16, 26 Feb, 5 Mar), Catherine Backhouse (19, 23 Feb, 1 Mar)
Melitone: Thomas Isherwood
The Marquis of Calatrava: Gerard Delrez
Padre Guardiano: Edwin Kaye
Trabuco: Robin Whitehouse
Curra: Rosalind O’Dowd
Alcade: Masimba Ushe

DIRECTOR – Rory Fazan
CONDUCTOR – Ben Woodward (23, 26 February John Paul Jennings)

PERFORMANCES – Wednesday 16 February at 19.00 Saturday 19 February at 18.00 Wednesday 23 February at 19:00 Saturday 26 February at 18:00 Tuesday 1 March at 19:00 Saturday 5 March at 18:00

TICKETS – £30-£39.50, student discount available

VENUE – St John’s Church, North End Road, Fulham, London SW6 1PB (about five minutes’ walk from Fulham Broadway Station)

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