- Director, Ella Marchment
- UK premiere of Mark Adamo’s Little Women, based on the novel written by Louisa May Alcott
- Opera Holland Park, London, UK
- July / August 2022
- Opera Holland Park
- Spotlight on Ella Marchment article
- Reviews (A–Z)
- Art Muse London
- Broadway World
- Evening Standard
- Financial Times
- Music OMH
- Musical America Worldwide
- Production Photos
- Little Women panel discussion: Louisa May Alcott and the American opera
- In conversation with Ella Marchment, the director of the UK premiere of Little Women
- In conversation with the March sisters from our upcoming production of Little Women
- In conversation with Little Women composer Mark Adamo
- In conversation with the March sisters after the studio run
- Woman’s Hour, BBC Radio 4
Art Muse London
In both book and opera, this is a coming of age work, but there is no doubt that the opera gives Louisa May Alcott’s book more gravitas. For it to work however, clever staging is key … Director, Ella Marchment, made maximum use of the stage, using the front and back lip of the stage to dramatise key moments of tension between the main protagonists … A memorable production – one which will appeal to wider audiences.Karine Hetherington, Art Muse London
Opera Holland Park’s new production is the first in the UK; a beautifully crafted staging by Ella Marchment shows this to be an opera which explores its characters in an exceptionally compelling and profound way.
It’s a magnificent piece of drama.
By its end, I felt that my understanding of people and life and love had been enhanced, which is a rare thing for an opera.David Karlin, Bachtrack
It’s an evening full of rewards, musical and intellectual, a long way from the lazy stereotype of Little Women as a novel for teenage girls finding themselves in bookish Jo, pretty Meg, doomed Beth and charming Amy.Gary Naylor, Broadway World
A talented cast shine in this approchable adaption of Alcott’s classic novel.
Ella Marchment’s production is economical yet intricate … [providing one of] opera’s most moving moments.Nick Kimberley, Evening Standard
The skilful distillation of Louisa May Alcott’s much-loved novel … gives space to Jo’s emotions, especially her sense of loss as the childhood idyll of the four sisters breaks up.
A welcome outing at Opera Holland Park.Richard Fairman, Financial Times
Ella Marchment’s staging is highly effective at making the drama feel both accessible and nuanced … it proves to be an intelligently crafted and frequently compelling affair.Sam Smith, Music OMH
Musical America Worldwide
Ella Marchment’s bustling production is clear-sighted and adept at getting to the emotional heart of the story.
Few modern operas can boast such open-hearted, yet savvy music. Opera Holland Park’s fine ensemble cast does the rest, ensuring Alcott’s timeless tale of growing up hits its usual home run.Clive Paget, Musical America Worldwide
Director Ella Marchment creates some wonderful enhancements to the libretto by judicious use of humor and comic acting, particularly between Jo, whose wonderful wit is never far away in any scene, particularly when with Laurie, her lifelong friend and admirer.
Marchment’s real triumph here though is the … ultimately inspirational utilizing of what the cast list describes as a “Quartet of female voices.”Mike Hardy, Opera Wire
In Ella Marchment’s imaginative production at Opera Holland Park … Mark Adamo’s imaginatively engaging opera finally gets its premiere in a sophisticated and appealing production with a superbly balanced quartet of sisters at its heart.
One of the virtues of Marchment’s production was the way she brought strong theatrical imagination to the work and created complex dramaturgical moments that were transparently obvious in the theatre. You knew who was who and what was what, despite the multi-layered action.Robert Hugill, Planet Hugill
Plays To See
Musical, dramatic, and creative values fuse to present a long but continuously engrossing evening.
It seems hard to explain that this fine work has taken over twenty years to reach these shores and the director, Ella Marchment, deserves great credit for introducing it to us in such fluent and dramatically effective terms. This is a very wordy opera, but it is a testament to the director’s skill that the production is constantly on the move with excellent use made of the forestage walkway around the orchestra pit and a flurry of convincing, in-character, stage business to engage the eye. This should be the first production of many, one hopes, of this excellent work.Tim Hochstrasser, Plays To See
Sentimentality is hard to escape in Little Women but Marchment overcomes this with the sheer zest of this production … The evening is carried through by some cracking performances and fine playing … making this is a worthwhile and, at times, surprising evening out.Anna Selby, The Arbuturian
A remarkable achievement … the intricacies of the story were brought to life.Mark Ronan, The Article
Ella Marchment’s production for Opera Holland Park … always treats Alcott’s themes and characters with affectionate sensitivity and respect.Martin Kettle, The Guardian
The Guardian (preview)
Our Little Women are not just young people growing up in 1860s Concord but everywomen who endure in us all, irrespective of time. And as Alcott’s March sisters talk to us across ages and realms, it is ever more important for us to recognise and celebrate our fundamental rights as women to make our own choices, especially now when even something as elemental as control over our bodies is at risk.Ella Marchment, The Guardian
The performers, led by Charlotte Badham’s feisty, ever-active Jo, and her three sisters Meg (Kitty Whately), Beth (Harriet Eyley) and Amy (Elizabeth Karani) are sharply characterised in Ella Marchment’s well crafted production, set within Madeleine Boyd’s elegant designs, four picture frames for four sisters.Nicholas Kenyon, The Telegraph
As there’s a lot to like about Little Women at Opera Holland Park … pull out your best bonnet, treat yourself to a new hair ribbon and trot off to enjoy a summer’s evening of entertainment with the enduringly popular March sisters.
[The] UK premiere features lovely vocal performances in an effective staging by Ella Marchment.Rebecca Franks, The Times
All photos (c) Ali Wright
1. Little Women panel discussion: Louisa May Alcott and the American opera
A transatlantic conversation on a beloved novel of girlhood and the UK premiere of a classic American opera.
2. In conversation with Ella Marchment, the director of the UK premiere of Little Women
- Thomas Atkins – Lensky, Eugene Onegin
- Kezia Bienek – Carmen, Carmen
- Ella Marchment – Director, Little Women
- Themba Mvula – Le Dancaïre, Carmen; Boatswain, HMS Pinafore
- Anne Sophie Duprels – Margot, Margot la Rouge; Anna, Le Villi
The interviewees talk about the excitement of being reunited with their OHP family, the pressures of singing iconic roles, and why it’s so important to have a woman direct Carmen in 2022.
3. In conversation with the March sisters from our upcoming production of Little Women
In this episode of From the Producer’s Office, CEO and Director of Opera James Clutton is joined by the March sisters from Opera Holland Park’s upcoming production of Little Women.
The ‘sisters’ talk about their relationships with Louisa May Alcott’s classic novel, the many previous adaptations of the book, and introducing audiences to a contemporary work that they might not have heard before.
4. In conversation with Little Women composer Mark Adamo
Mark Adamo’s opera Little Women will be making its UK premiere during the OHP 2022 Season. In this episode of From the Producer’s Office, CEO and Director of Opera James Clutton talks to Mark about how he became a composer and librettist, the process of adapting this beloved novel into opera form, Little Women’s original premiere starring Joyce DiDonato, and the preparations for the UK premiere this summer.
5. In conversation with the March sisters after the studio run
Today, James Clutton speaks to the cast and director of Little Women after an exciting and emotional studio run. On the warmest day of the year in England, Charlotte Badham, Kitty Whately, Lizzie Karani, Harriet Eyley and Ella Marchment talk to James about the buzz of the studio run, the journey the team has been on, and the excitement of getting the show on stage.
6. Woman’s Hour, BBC Radio 4
The UK premiere of Little Women opens at Opera Holland Park later this week. The award-winning director Ella Marchment joins Krupa Padhy, along with Charlotte Badham who makes her professional debut as Jo.
Presenter: Krupa Padhy
Producer: Emma Pearce