About us

We started The Opera Story because we believe that opera is an incredibly rich art form, with an immense capacity to tell stories that appeal to our emotions and intellect, irrespective of where we are and of where we come from, and in that sense it is as relevant today as ever.

Our objective is to invest in the future of opera, to present it in a way that breaks barriers and reaches new audiences, to keep telling stories that move our audiences, not only here and now, but hopefully in many other places and for many years to come.

This is why we focus on commissioning new works by a new generation of composers, to be created and performed by talented artists at the beginning of their professional careers, and in an accesible musical language and format that keep intact opera’s capacity to tell stories and convey emotion. We are today at the beginning of this story, and we want to share it with you.


Our first production, which premiered in February 2017, was a three-act opera based on the story of Snow White that most of us know, but told from a fresh, and darker, angle. To do this, we looked into the tales that, many centuries before the Snow White we know was invented, people were telling to their own children and grand-children. With this, we wanted to bring out the timelessness of folk stories, and the recurring themes in story-telling. Each story became an act in the opera, to which three different composers have given its own musical language.


Visit our blog to read more about it, in the words of the team that created it!

Visit our blog

Our Team

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Artistic Director Hamish comes from the performance side of opera. His main goal in co-founding The Opera Story is to contribute to ensuring the future of opera, by commissioning new works to be written and performed.

Hamish Mackay

Artistic Director

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Executive Director and co-founder Manuel has a professional career in the financial services industry, and is now applying his expertise to the administration of the company and to securing resources for its stable funding.

Manuel Fajardo

Executive Director

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Lewis is one of The Opera Story’s composers for the 2017 season. He is currently Glyndebourne’s Young Composer in Residence.

Lewis Murphy


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Lucie is one of The Opera Story’s composers for the 2017 season. She is currently studying Ethnomusicology, and has had her works performed in venues such as The Southbank Centre and Cadogan Hall.

Lucie Treacher


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Tom is one of The Opera Story’s composers for the 2017 season. He has written two chamber operas previously, which were produced by his company, Shadow Opera

Tom Floyd


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James is our director for our first production, and has extensive experience in directing opera. James has worked for Opera North and Sadlers Wells amongst many other opera companies.

James Hurley


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Chris will conduct our first production with Multi-Story Orchestra. He conducts and helps to run Multi-Story Orchestra and has previously worked with the BBC Proms, Glyndebourne and Glyndebourne on Tour.

Christopher Stark


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Pierre is a Trustee of The Opera Story, and is the founder and owner of Re-Up , a Marketing & Advertising Company.

Pierre Humeau


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Antony is a Trustee of The Opera Story. An economist and consultant, his career has been in management consulting in the UK and Asia and he is currently doing a PhD in Musicology.

Antony Feeny


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Elizabeth is a Trustee of The Opera Story, and is the founder of a crowdinvestment platform for African companies, LelapaFund.

Elizabeth Howard


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JL Williams’ books include Condition of Fire (Shearsman, 2011), Locust and Marlin (Shearsman, 2014), Our Real Red Selves (Vagabond Poets, 2015) and House of the Tragic Poet (If A Leaf Falls Press, 2016). She was selected for the 2015 Jerwood Opera Writing Programme, plays in the band Opul and is Programme Manager at the Scottish Poetry Library.

JL Williams


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Rachel trained at the Motley Theatre Design Course London, and has a first in Fine Art from Glasgow School of Art. Recent productions include Carmen, Idomeneo (Blackheath Halls), l’Ospedale (Wilton’s Music Hall), La Rondine (Go Opera), Semele (Hampstead Garden Opera), and Thousand Furs (Re:sound).

Rachel Szmukler

Set Designer

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Alice studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and the Royal Academy of Music, graduating in 2014. She is a keen recitalist and has been featured on the BBC Radio 3 proms as well as performing at venues such as Leighton House, Kings Place and St Johns Smith Square. Her operatic performances include roles at Opera Holland Park, Garsington Opera, the Aldeburgh Festival and Longborough Festival Opera. She is generously supported by Opera Prelude.

Alice Privett

Soprano - Snow White

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Cliff has been described as a ‘Revelation’ (Daily Express), and as showing ‘exceptional promise’ (Opera magazine). He is a recent Masters in Performance graduate from the RCM generously supported by the Malta Arts Scholarship Scheme and Janatha Stubbs.

Cliff has also been one of the finalists in the Lies Askonas Competition and also made it to the final rounds of the Francesco Vinas and Belvedere International singing competitions. He also performed at the Office of the Prime Minister – Castille, the Royal Albert Hall in London and had the honour of performing in a master class for Robert Sutherland (Maria Callas’ ex- accompanist).

Most recently Cliff has been a part of the Glyndebourne Festival tour 2016, Performed Mozart’s Requiem and Handel’s Messiah at St.Martin in the fields and was invited to perform alongside Joseph Calleja and global superstar Anastacia during Calleja’s Annual Summer Concert at Luxol, Malta.

Cliff Zammit Stevens

Tenor - Servant

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Polly graduated from the RCM with a Masters in Vocal Performance (Distinction), where she studied with Amanda Roocroft. Polly was the Theo Max van der Beugel scholar, and was also supported by the Josephine Baker Trust.

Recent operatic roles Tisbe La Cenerentola (HighTime), Angel BEL and the DRAGON & Wife 76 Days (RCM/Tête à Tête), Florence Pike Albert Herring (RCMIOS), Dritte Knabe Die Zauberflöte (RCMIOS), Dorabella Cosi fan Tutte and Hänsel Hänsel und Gretel (Durham Opera Ensemble). For the seven roles she played in Malcolm Williamson’s English Eccentrics (British Youth Opera), she was awarded both the Dame Hilda Brackett Prize and the Basil A. Turner Prize.

Upcoming engagements include Fekluša Kát’a Kabanová (Opera Holland Park), Dritte Dame Die Zauberflöte (Charles Court Opera), and Olga Eugene Onegin (Whitgift School)

Polly Leech

Mezzo-soprano - Former Queen and Second Villagewoman

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Alison trained at GSMD on the prestigious Opera Course, under the tutelage of David Pollard. Last summer she sang in the 2016 Glyndebourne Festival, singing the role of the Bridesmaid in Le Nozze di Figaro Mozart after working with them in both the 2015 festival and the tour.
On the concert platform, Alison recently performed as a soloist in the Mozart Requiem at St Martin in the Fields. Other solo performances have taken her to the Buxton Opera House, Barbican Centre, Birmingham Symphony Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Royal Albert Hall and The House of Lords.
Future engagements for 2017 include Musetta La Boheme Iford Arts, Soloist Mahler’s 9th Symphony with the Bedford Symphony Orchestra and Mimi at the Watford Palace Theatre.

Alison Langer

Soprano - New Queen and First Villagewoman

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Rick began his vocal studies at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam in The Netherlands where he studied with baritone Pierre Mak. He then went on to do his Master of Music and Master of Performance at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama(London, UK) under baritone Robert Dean and later became a member of their highly regarded opera course.

He has been a guest performer at the Dutch National Opera Academy and Dutch Opera Studio, and is also a distinguished oratorio and lied singer.

He was a prize winner at the 2013 Summer school of the Universität für Musik und Darstellende Kunst “Mozarteum” Salzburg and won both first prize and audience prize in their Humor in Musik competition.

Rick Zwart

Baritone - King and Prince Raven

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Berrak studied at GSMD and the National Opera Studio. She has worked with Glyndebourne, Opera Holland Park, UCOpera and is the Musical Director for Pop Up Opera.

Berrak Dyer


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Ben enjoys a varied career working across plays, musical theatre and opera. Recent lighting designs include Carmen, Idomeneo and Noye’s Fludde (Blackheath Halls), Cabaret (ACT Aberdeen), L’Ospedale (Wilton’s Music Hall), Man of La Mancha and Into the Woods (Bridewell Theatre).

Ben Pickersgill

Lighting Designer

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CLF Art Café The Bussey Building

133 Rye Lane
SE15 4ST

We worked with the CLF Art Café / Bussey Building in Peckham for our first production. This amazing venue corresponds very well to what we want to achieve with our productions, which is to allow you to feel the magic of opera as close as possible, and break the distance between the performers and the public. Each act of Snow was performed in a different floor, with stunning sets that made the most of the space and provided for an immersive experience.

Support Us

Opera is costly to produce and depends on the love and generosity of the many people that feel passionate about it and want to share it with others and keep it as an important part of our lives. We are very thankful for our current and future supporters: this would not be possible without you. Thank you so much for your support!

Many thanks to…

Arts Council England


Trusts & Foundations

The Boltini Trust

The John S. Cohen Foundation

The Bacon Charitable Trust


Corporate Partners


Individual Donors

  • 11 Anonymous Donors
  • Anne Humeau (In memoriam Pierre & Madeleine Lapostolle)
  • George Szmukler
  • Clémence Humeau
  • Antony Feeny
  • Benjamin Liebermann
  • Clare Sutherland
  • Alexander Mackay
  • Olivier Humeau
  • Nick & Amanda Feeny
  • Anna Andreyeva & Adam Kellerman
  • Juan Pablo Fajardo
  • Gerardo Duplat
  • Benoît Humeau
  • Liz Treacher
  • Richard & Jessica Tatz
  • Lucie Humeau
  • Shamsu Yusof & Mark Gibson
  • Alice & John Chute
  • Eduardo Fajardo
  • Alexandre Mendelewitsch
  • Alejandro Santamaria
  • Jessica, Suzy and Karen Fogg
  • Yaprak Dyer
  • Skyler Shaw
  • Martha Cano & Lucy Neiva
  • Hanya Chlala
  • Jérôme Lapostolle
  • Trevor Pinnock
  • Emmanuelle Aubertel
  • Juan Sebastián Fajardo
  • Clive Shore
  • Saul Santamaria
  • Jane Stevenson
  • Snizhana Tykhorska
  • Danya Chaikel & Miel Huijben
  • Maud Saint-Sardos
  • Fiona Dobie
  • Emma Sutherland
  • Meriel & Jeremy Greenhalgh
  • Lynsey Willis
  • Elin Fålted
  • Eliana Galindo
  • Marc van Wilijck
  • Maureen MacGlashan
  • Joan Busby
  • Dottie & Ian Preston
  • Anastasia Tikhonova
  • Carlos Arango
  • Elizabeth Howard
  • Christine Gough
  • Judith & Phil Colman
  • Amélie Fleuret
  • Sophie Dow
  • Anna Crowe
  • Kate Gadsby
  • Cheryl Field
  • Nicholas Parle
  • Andrew Sutherland
  • Robyn Marsack
  • Sylvie Soudan
  • Lilias Fraser
  • Jennifer Sutherland
  • Sarah Melrose Tynan
  • Helena Leonard
  • Sheena Geraghty
  • Monica Sutherland
  • Louise Humeau
  • Virginie Rouas
  • Marcela Rueda
  • Augusta Miller
  • Matthew Palmer
  • Jonathan Gibbs
  • Julia Jones
  • Sue Butters
  • Timothy Charles Langston