Hampstead Garden Opera

HGO brings live opera, fully staged with orchestra, at reasonable prices to the people of north London and offers performance opportunity and training to young singers.  We have been recognised by critics as one of the finest of small opera companies.  We have won, and on other occasions been nominated for, the Offie for best opera production – an award for the best production outside the West End.

We stage our operas twice a year, May and November, in the excellent theatre at the Jacksons Lane centre in Archway Road, a vibrant performance venue.  On this website you can see reviews of past productions, learn of upcoming operas and concerts, buy tickets – and even sign up as a Friend of HGO.

However wonderful may be the performances of stars in the great opera houses, there is a special value in the experience of opera in the intimacy of a small theatre, the sense of being personally absorbed into the performance.  And at an HGO performance, you might be enjoying the brilliant early sparkle of a great star of the future.  And that sparkle will be set within the glow of our orchestra, not the piano accompaniment of most small companies.  Come once and you will come again.  See photos of previous productions. 

Though we are heavily dependent on ticket income, and though we do stage some well-known favourites, we pride ourselves on our variety of exciting works from all ages – from Monteverdi to Jonathan Dove.

Save for some minor roles, all our operas are double cast with five performances for each cast.  All roles are won by audition.  Those reading from that perspective should note that principals with small roles will normally be expected to join the chorus on their performing nights.  As a training company that charges no fee to singers, we do look for some help in the promoting of ticket sales.

To any reading this who have been successful in life and have become wealthy, and have an inclination to support the arts, we can offer the opportunity to sponsor an opera and thereby give a helping hand to young talent. Please respond directly to the chairman, rnsainsbury88@gmail. com

HGO is the performing arm of Hampstead Garden Opera Trust Ltd, registered charity no. 1168484.

We are fortunate to have as our co-presidents, Howard Williams and Emma Kirkby DBE.  The directors of the company, also its charity trustees, are:

Roger Sainsbury – Chairman
Alastair Macgeorge – Chairman Emeritus
Martin Musgrave – Deputy Chairman
Patricia Cabredo Hofherr
Linda Hirst
João Rufino

Secretary: Gilly Wesley

Roger Sainsbury - Chairman

Roger read engineering at Oxford and made his career in construction and related industries. He is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering and a past president of the Institution of Civil Engineers.  Since retirement he has been active in many different fields of charitable work.  He has served as chairman of Hampstead Heath DFAS, as secretary to the Abbeyfield North London Society, as Stewardship Recorder and Gift Aid officer for St Michael’s Church, Highgate.  He was project manager for major construction works at these latter two bodies.  Roger is a member of the Ecclesiological Society and recently published St Michael’s Highgate – A History.  He is not a practising musician but enjoys classical music of all kinds.  For the past five years he has been Secretary to the Friends of Hampstead Garden Opera.

Alastair Macgeorge - Chairman Emeritus

Alastair Macgeorge - Chairman

Alastair Macgeorge worked for 40 years in the consumer movement – 28 years with Which? and, post-‘retirement’, supporting fledgling groups all over Eastern Europe and Central Asia from 1991 to 2003. These post-Soviet travels yielded a musical bonus in the shape of some truly memorable performances of rare operas in unlikely places. An early starter on the piano but never a great practiser, he infuriated his father, a gifted accompanist, by ‘strumming’ (i.e. playing what came into his four-year-old head). This led to a lifetime of music-making in many contexts – in domestic chamber music, accompanying singers and instrumentalists, and in composition – notably the score for Murder in the Cathedral in St. Michael’s, Highgate, in 1991, and a few songs, choral pieces and other small-scale works. He joined HGO on day one as its rehearsal pianist, and has been deeply involved with its development ever since, latterly as Chairman.