Grimeborn hosts an opera “without frills” at Dalston’s Arcola


tosca - Credit: Robert Workman Photographer

Grimeborn brings new and old opera’s to Dalston

If Grimeborn sounds like Glyndebourne, that’s the whole point: it’s a summer opera festival without the frills -no dress code/picnics/Pimms, no bankers and their trophy wives – that plays not in the rolling Sussex Downs but gritty Dalston, at the cutting-edge Arcola Theatre.

Having started in 2007 it’s been held every summer since and coincides with the traditional country house opera season.

With it’s playful reference to East London music genre grime, it’s playing now, with sixteen pieces staged by shoestring opera companies presenting a repertoire from favourites like “Magic Flute” and “Figaro” to the premiere of a new comedy, “The Dowager’s Oyster”, by Hampstead composer Louis Mander, and a one-man show by countertenor Magid El-Bushra with the intriguing title “A Willesden Liederkreis”.

Running tonight at 7.30pm (so be quick) this Liederkreis is, as the title suggests, a Schumann-esque song-cycle, but refashioned to tell the story of what El-Bushra calls ”a lonely Muslim boy growing up gay in North West London”. Take a hanky.

Other events include The Perfect Picnic, a production by theatre company Opera on the Run that has previously been performed at Jermyn Street Theatre and aired on Radio 3’s ‘In Tune’. Billed as ‘the perfect introduction to comic opera’, the show brings together famed arias from Così Fan Tutte, The Marriage of Figaro and Don Giovanni.

Tickets are £15 or less. The full Grimeborne season runs until Sep 8, at the Arcola, Ashwin St, E8 (near Dalston Kingsland overground). Details: