A French Production is an opera company. We produce opera evenings, sumptuous scenes from a vast operatic repertoire to be performed for you in your venue.

Each programme is bespoke and tailored specifically to your event, all carefully designed and crafted with singers and musicians of the highest caliber. We want to transport you, make you laugh and cry and perhaps introduce you to something you’ve never heard before.This short film uses live sound recorded from past performances.

Portfolio

About Us

A French Production was founded in 1996 by Sasha French, who trained as a singer and director at the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester. She has worked as a staff producer for the ROH, ENO and BYO and has directed her own productions for various UK festivals.

Our singers, conductors, pianists and musicians are of an international standard and perform regularly in our UK opera houses.

The first performance of A French Production took place in 1996 at the London home of textile designer Anna French and since then we have staged performances across the UK, at The River Cafe Restaurant, Hammersmith, The Canteen at the Dyson Factory, Wiltshire, the head offices of The Carphone Warehouse, Acton and at Dodington Park, Gloucestershire.

A French Production can organise programmes for any occasion, bringing a touch of magic to your wedding, christening, funeral, bamitzva, birthday party or charity event.

Testimonials

“Sasha has been producing opera for us since 2000 – helping us raise money for local charities. Each event has been professionally organised and superbly performed. Sasha’s opera evenings are wonderful.”

Sir James Dyson


“Since 2000 we have been enchanted by the most fabulous singers performing thrilling opera. Each evening is an intimate ‘Highlight of the Year’ for us and our audience, and enabling hugely successful funding for charities. All brilliantly produced and directed by Sasha French.”

Lady Dyson


“Sasha French and her wonderful group of artists performed with verve, humour, grace and beauty to make a memorable evening at Dodington House. It is not easy to perform a wide variety of the most famous arias in opera while navigating your way around tables where the good and the great are dining and having a glorious time to raise funds for charity. Sasha’s team succeeded triumphantly, mesmerising everyone. You could hear a pin drop when they were singing unless they had convulsed us to laughter. At the end the applause was long and rapturous. It was an event that stays in the mind.”

Jonathan Dimbleby


“I have experienced several of Sasha French’s opera evenings – and “experience” really is the right word: they can be depended upon to combine thrilling voices, intimate surroundings, a varied repertoire – always some surprises – good use of the available space and a lot of charm. A genial and civilised form of entertainment. In the increasingly crowded world of opera evenings, Sasha French’s work certainly stands out.”

Sir Christopher Frayling



“It’s hard to describe the wonderful atmosphere Sasha French creates on one of her exquisitely – produced opera evenings. What is the secret? Well, you take a group of superb singers who give their hearts as well as their consummate skill, because of the respect and admiration they have for her.
You take a programme that could only be devised by professionals with a deep knowledge of what a balanced evening of opera should be like. You have impeccable timing, verve and energy – as well as an intangible sense of love and commitment. And over and above all this you have the warmth and sparkle ( as well as fine voice ) of the charismatic Ms French herself, holding it all together. Even the most unwilling listener to opera will be converted by a Sasha French opera evening. I’ve been to many, and always want time to stand still, and the voices to magic themselves into my head and heart forever.”

Bel Mooney

Performers

Sasha French

Artistic Director A French Production

Sasha studied singing and directing at the Royal Northern College of Music and was awarded the first Junior Fellowship in directing there. Productions at the RNCM include Look Back in Anger, Hedda Gabler and Stravinky’s The Soldier’s Tale. She directed Maxwell Davies’ Eight Songs for a Mad King for the Festival of Expressionism and Alexander Goehr’s Shadowland. For the Ribchester and Ryedale Festivals she  directed La Serva Padronna, Il Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda and Cosi fan Tutte; The Waiter’s Revenge and a Hand of Bridge for the UK/LA Festival in Los Angeles and Manchester. She has also directed Cosi fan tutte at Clonter Opera Farm; Le Nozze di Figaro, British Youth Opera. She has worked for English National Opera and The Royal Opera House as a staff producer assisting Tim Alberry on From the House of the Dead, Elijah Moshinsky on Otello and Joseph Ward on Pilgrim’s Progress. She has toured with the Manchester Camerata as the Narrator and Devil in Stravinsky’s The Soldier’s Tale, which she also directed and narrated for live broadcast on BBC Radio 3. Sasha has been producing opera evenings since 1996, her first for James and Deirdre Dyson was in 2000.

 

Jane Irwin

Soprano

Jane Irwin, soprano studied at Lancaster University and at the Royal Northern College of Music.    In 2002 she made her Carnegie Hall debut with the Pittsburgh Symphony under Mariss Jansons.  She has sung for the BBC Proms, at the Edinburgh International Festival, the Berlin Festival, the Concertgebouw and the Musikverein.  Some of the orchestras she has worked with include the Berlin Symphony, Orchestre de Paris, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Pittsburgh Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, Swedish Chamber Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Royal Scottish National Orchestra and the Hallé and with conductors including Myung Whun Chung, Günther Herbig, Ivor Bolton, Andrew Davis, Libor Pesek, Antonio Pappano, Sakari Oramo, Mark Elder, Trevor Pinnock, Paul Daniel, Sir Richard Armstrong and Jakov Kreizberg.

She made her debut at the ROH in a new production of Götterdämmerung/Second Norn under Bernard Haitink returning in 2003 to sing Suzuki/Madam Butterfly.  She has sung in Die Walküre at Bayreuth, and Brangäne/Tristan und Isolde for San Francisco Opera and English National Opera, Mère Marie/Dialogues des Carmélites for the Lyric Opera of Chicago, and appears regularly with Scottish Opera in roles including Waltraute/Götterdämmerung and Anezka  in The Two Widows by Smetana at the Edinburgh Festival.

Recent and future engagements include concerts with Manchester Camerata, Northern Sinfonia, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, San Diego Orchestra, the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland and City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, as well as Bartok Duke Bluebeard’s Castle in Valencia and Madrid.   She has just completed several performances of Brangäne in a new production of Tristan und Isolde for the Deutsche Opera Berlin conducted by Donald Runnicles and directed by Graham Vick, to be reprised in 2013.

 

Jesús León

Tenor

Jesús León was born in Hermosillo, Mexico. He recently sang as a tenor soloist/Beethoven 9th at Barbican Hall and Birmingham Hall, and 6 concerts at Royal Albert Hall with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. He began his operatic training in 2004 at the UCLA Opera Studio and has been the recipient of many awards including grants from The Solti Foundation, The Palm Springs Opera Guild, the Peretti Foundation, and the Opera Buffs Inc. of Los Angeles. He was a member of the 2006 Solti Accademia di bel Canto where he was coached by Mirella Freni and an inaugural member of the Domingo-Thornton Young Artist Programme for 2006/2007 at Los Angeles Opera.

Operatic performances include Pinkerton/Madama Butterfly Grange Park Opera; Alfredo/La Traviata West Bay Opera; Nemorino/L’Elisir d’Amore, Fenton/Falstaff (cover) Glyndebourne, Don Ottavio/Don Giovanni, Rinuccio/Gianni Schicchi and Arkady/A Month in the Country at Boston Opera Institute; Il Duca/Rigoletto, San Francisco Lyric Opera; Edgardo/Lucia di Lammermoor; Ferrando/Cosi fan tutte (cover) Santa Fe Opera; Almaviva/The Barber of Seville at the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Cavaradossi/Tosca and DonJosé/Carmen (covers) both at the Royal Albert Hall.

With the Festival Euromediterraneo he sang the tenor solo in Carmina Burana in the Roman Amphitheater Ostia Antica. He has given concerts in the principle cities of the United States, Cuba, Thailand, England, Belgium, Italy and Mexico.

Future work includes Riccardo/Maria di Rohan in Berlin, Tenor soloist/ Verdi’s Requiem with Orchestra Verdi,  Cavaradossi/Tosca Grange Park Opera.

 

Tinuke Olafimihan

Soprano

Tinuke Olafimihan studied at the National Opera Studio, London and made her début in Les Huguenots at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. Subsequently invited to give a Young Artists’ Recital she returned to Covent Garden as Pamina and Papagena (Die Zauberflote), Ismene (Mitridate) and Clara (Porgy & Bess). Ms Olafimihan’s international engagements include Barbarina (Le Nozze di Figaro) at Aix-en-Provence and at De Nederlandse Opera, Amsterdam, Dido (Dido and Aeneas) at the Opera Comique, Paris, The Indian Queen at the Glasgow International Early Music Festival, Violetta (La Traviata) at the Coliseu, Opporto, Bess (Porgy and Bess) in Portugal and Spain and performances at the Opera National de Lyon and the Grand Theatre Geneva Opera.
Ms Olafimihan has performed at the Albert Hall, St John’s Smith Square, the Barbican, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Symphony Hall Birmingham and the Philharmonic Hall Liverpool, with conductors such as Sir David Willcocks, Carlo Rizzi, Nikolaus Hamoncourt, Andrew Parrot, Robert Shaw, Karl Anton Rickenbacher and Andrew Litton. She has made numerous broadcasts for BBC Radio and TV, Classic FM, Swiss, French, Brazilian, Turkish, Nigerian and Canadian Radio and TV. Her recordings include Maria (West Side Story) on the JAY label and the Saint-Saens Requiem with the London Philharmonic Orchestra for CALA Records. Her recording of Eliza Doolittle (My Fair Lady) won The Gramophone Award for Best Recording for Music Theatre.

Tinuke Olafimihan’s Discography can be found here: www.amazon.com/Tinuke-Olafimihan/e/B000APJQSW

 

Ruth Peel

Contralto

Ruth Peel has a wide experience of recital, concert and oratorio work. This has taken her all over the world since she won the Kathleen Ferrier Decca Prize awarded by Janet Baker. After a tour of Japan, Ruth was seen across the world at the opening ceremony of the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics, where she sang Alto solo in Beethoven’s Choral Symphony, conducted by Seiji Osawa.

Her operatic roles include her début at the ROH, Covent Garden, as the Page in Salome: Kate in Britten’s Owen Wingrave, Glyndebourne Touring Opera; Countess of Essex, Gloriana, directed by Phyllida Lloyd; Hippolyta, Midsummer Night’s Dream, Opera North and Strasbourg; Third Lady, Die Zauberflöte, Geneva, Stuttgart, Aix en Provence, Longborough Festival, and Garsington; Kate, Madam Butterfly, Da Vlaamse Oper; Lucretia, Rape of Lucretia with Steuart Bedford; Phèdra in Rameau’s Hippolyte et Aricie with Gary Cooper; Alindo in Pallavicino’s Messalina, Batignano Festival; the title role, Iolanthe at Grange Park Opera; and the title role in Offenbach’s Dick Whittington at the Bloomsbury Theatre.

She has sung various world premières including a chamber opera by Ronald Caltabiano, (text by Margaret Atwood) and commissioned by the ensemble Psappha for the Cheltenham Festival, Schubert’s newly recognised Kosegarten Liederspiel with David Owen Norris, Cecilia McDowall’s Magnificat, David Matthew’s That Very Breath, and Giles Swayne’s Epithalmium.

 

Wyn Pencarreg

Baritone

Winner of the Erich Vietheer Memorial Award from Glyndebourne Festival Opera, Wyn Pencarreg was born in West Wales. He studied at the Royal Northern College of Music gaining many prizes and scholarships including awards from the Countess of Munster trust, the Peter Moores Foundation and the Wolfson Foundation.

Wyn’s operatic engagements have included Don Belfiore Le Toréador at the Batignano Festival, Morales Carmen and Schaunard La Bohème for Raymond Gubbay at the Royal Albert Hall, Belcore L’elisir d’amore and Marcello La Bohème for Lyric Opera Dublin, Father Hänsel und Gretel, Masetto and Leporello Don Giovanni and Figaro Le nozze di Figaro for Opera North, Kuligin Kát’a Kabanová and Masetto for Glyndebourne Festival Opera, Masetto for Glyndebourne Touring Opera, Don Giovanni for English Pocket Opera, Alidoro La cenerentola for Grange Park Opera, Balthasar Genoveva, King Die liebe der Danaë, Morbio Die schweigsame Frau and Premysl Sárka for Garsington Opera and Luka The Bear at L’Opéra de Monte-Carlo.

Premières include Papin Babette’s Feast for the Royal Opera and Malcontent In search of Angels (Jonathan Dove) for Glyndebourne Education.

Recent engagements include Dog / Poacher The cunning little Vixen for Oundle International Festival, Lindorf / Coppélius / Dappertutto / Dr Miracle The Tales of Hoffmann and Count Almaviva Le nozze di Figaro for Mid Wales Opera.

Concert engagements have included Messiah with the Ulster Orchestra and at Glyndebourne, Voice of Neptune Idomeneo with the Hallé Orchestra and Ortel Die Meistersinger with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra. Wyn has broadcast regularly on BBC Radio 3 and on Friday Night is Music Night for BBC Radio 2.

Current and future plans include Sharpless Madama Butterfly for Lyric Opera Dublin, Count Almaviva Le nozze di Figaro for OTC Dublin, Achilla Giulio Cesare for Opéra de Baugé and Ford Falstaff for Mid Wales Opera.

 

Linda Richardson

Soprano

Linda Richardson studied at the Royal Northern College of Music, where she was a Peter Moores Foundation Scholar and winner of the Frederic Cox Award, and then at the National Opera Studio.
As an English National Opera Company Principal, her roles have included Virtue/The Coronation of Poppea, Fiordiligi/Così fan tutte, Lauretta/Gianni Schicchi, Micaela/Carmen, Gretel/Hansel and Gretel, Gilda/Rigoletto, Zerlina and Donna Anna/Don Giovanni, Sophie/Der Rosenkavalier, Mimi/La Bohème, title roles The Fairy Queen and Alcina, Violetta/La Traviata, Woglinde/Rhinegold and Helena/A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Elsewhere she has sung Karolka/Jenufa, Nanetta/Falstaff, Pamina/Die Zauberflöte and Violetta, The Countess/Marriage of Figaro and Gilda at Opera North. Lisetta/La Vera Constanza at Garsington, First Niece/Peter Grimes at Netherlands Opera, Amina/La Sonnambula and Mimi/La Boheme for Opera Holland Park.

Concert work includes Missa Solemnis, Brahms Requiem with the Northern Sinfonia, Messiah with the English Chamber Orchestra in Spain and Britten’s Les Illuminations with the Netherlands Radio Chamber Orchestra, an Italian Gala with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra conducted by Carl Davis, Carmina Burana at the Royal Festival Hall and she has appeared as a guest soloist on Friday Night is Music Night on BBC Radio 2. Linda appeared as Annie in Jonathan Dove’s TV opera When She Died on Channel 4. Recordings include Hearts and Flowers, a collection of Victorian Parlour Songs, and Oscar, Un Ballo in Maschera for Chandos. Linda recently recorded the music for an audio play of The Phantom of the Opera broadcast on BBC7 and available on CD.

Recent and future plans include the title role in Longborough Opera’s Madama Butterfly. Alice Ford/Falstaff for both Longborough Festival Opera and Opera Holland Park and in Germany she will sing Mrs Coyle Owen Wingrave.

 

Dean Robinson

Bass

The Australian bass Dean Robinson studied at the Royal Northern College of Music. As a student he performed the roles of Geronimo (Il Matrimonio Segreto) and Silva (Ernani).
He was awarded the Robin Kaye prize for Opera and was a recipient of several major scholarships from the Peter Moores Foundation. He now studies with Benjamin Luxon.

Since graduating in 1995 he has a appeared as principal guest artist with The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, English National Opera, Welsh National Opera, Scottish Opera, Opera North, The Netherlands Opera and Pinchgut Opera, Sydney. His Roles include Sarastro (Die Zauberflote); Sparafucile (Rigoletto); Colline (La Boheme); Claudio (Agrippina); Le Comte de Grieux (Manon); Zaccariah (Nabucco); Saul (David et Jonathas); Don Giovanni and Figaro. Festival appearances include Festival Giovane performances at the Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro and Le Gouverneur (Le Comte Ory) for Garsington Festival.

He is a highly regarded concert artist in repertoire covering Bach, Handel, Mozart, Verdi, Berlioz, Elgar and Mendelsohn. He has sung under the direction of many distinguished conductors including Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Sir Bernard Haitink, Sir Simon Rattle, Sir Colin Davis, Leonard Slatkin, Kent Nagano, Antonio Pappano and Sir Richard Armstrong. His recordings include Masetto (Don Giovanni) for Chandos and Duca d’Argile (Il prigione d’Edimborgo) for Opera Rara. On film he sings the role of First Officer in John Adams’ The Death of Klinghoffer, and Goffredo in Judith Wiers’ Armida.

Plans include Hobson (Peter Grimes) for Teatro Perez Galdos and Narumov (Queen of Spades) for Opera North.

 

David Stout

Baritone

A former Head Chorister of Westminster Abbey, David studied Zoology at Durham University, sang with the choir of St. John’s College, Cambridge before studying on the GSMD Opera Course with Rudolf Piernay, where he won the Principal’s Prize. He is an enthusiastic walker, naturalist and snowboarder.

Operatic roles include Ping/Turnadot; Papageno/The Magic Flute; Konrad Nachtigal/Die Meistersinger; Speaker/The Magic Flute; Le Dancaïre/Carmen (WNO); Schaunard/La Bohème (ENO and WNO); Flemish Deputy/Don Carlos (ROH); Angelotti/Tosca; Nikita/Das Porträt; Mik/Playing Away (Bregenzer Festspiele); Don Juan/From the House of the Dead (Teatro Massimo di Palermo); Papageno/The Magic Flute and Hara_ta/The Cunning Little Vixen (Grange Park); Marcello/La Bohème (Mid-Wales Opera); Marullo/Rigoletto (Holland Park); Aeneas/Dido and Aeneas (ETO) and Alfio/Cavalleria Rusticana (St Endellion Festival); Elsewhere, title roles Falstaff; Gianni Schicchi; Eugene Onegin; Ulisse/Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria; Don Cassandro/La Finta Semplice; Count Almaviva/The Marriage of Figaro; Ankerström/Masked Ball; Escamillo/Carmen; Belcore/The Elixir of Love; Prince Yeletsky/Queen of Spades. Future plans include and Roucher/Andrea Chenier (Bregenz); Baron Douphol/La Traviata (ROH); Zaretsky/Onegin (ENO). Concert performances include the Wigmore Hall in April 2012 and he has just released Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen for the SOMM label.

 

Steven Maughan

Steven was born in Lancashire. He studied music at Durham University before going on to study piano accompaniment at the RNCM and to train as a coach and repetiteur at the National Opera Studio.

Since then Steven has worked principally at Glyndebourne where he is now a senior coach. He also works regularly for De Nederlandse Opera in Amsterdam where he has just finished preparing Der Rosenkavalier with Sir Simon Rattle. He was senior coach on The Rape of Lucretia at the ROH Covent Garden, and was music and language coach on David McVicar’s new production of The Turn of the Screw at the Mariinsky Theatre, St. Petersburg, conducted by Valery Gergiev.

Steven coaches both at the National Opera Studio and for British Youth Opera, and works regularly as a concert accompanist-earlier this year he played recitals in Mumbai and Mexico.

Paul McGrath

Conductor

Paul McGrath studied at the National Opera Studio, London and won the prestigious conducting Fellowship at the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester.
Opera productions he has conducted include; Orpheus in the Underworld and Zauberflote for Opera North; Flight (Jonathan Dove) at de Vlaamse Opera, Belgium; La Boheme at the Opera House in Hannover, Germany; The Marriage of Figaro for Savoy Opera; La Perichole (Offenbach) for Theater Basel; Le Nozze di Figaro for Opera Zuid, Holland; La Cenerentola, Rigoletto, The Pearl Fishers, Don Giovanni, The Magic Flute, Cosi fan Tutte, The Daughter of the Regiment, Manon and Carmen for English Touring Opera; La Sonnambula for Castleward Opera, Northern Ireland; the Royal Northern College of Music’s production of Tchaikovsky’s Orleanskaya Dyeva which won the Michelob Best Opera Award; Down by the Greenwood Side (Birtwistle) and The Bear in Manchester and Los Angeles.

In 1995 Paul McGrath was appointed Associate Conductor to the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, with whom his wide-ranging repertoire has included several world premieres. He made his BBC Proms début in the summer of 1997 conducting Deborah Warner’s staging of Honegger’s Jeanne d’Arc.
Recent engagements include a Channel 4 Film, Mozart Lovers, the UK premiere of Michael Nyman’s latest opera, Love Counts, productions of The Magic Flute for Opera North and English Touring Opera and concert performances of Verdi’s Macbeth and Aida. Paul McGrath has an enduring connection with the renowned British composer Michael Nyman. He conducted the British premieres of both Man and Boy: Dada and Love Counts at the Almeida Theatre, and has also conducted these operas in Italy and the USA. Both operas were recorded at Abbey Road Studios and released on the MNR label: www.mnrecords.com.

Paul McGrath is the Director of Music at the University of Warwick.

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