Aside from his established career as an opera singer, John Savournin has created productions both as Artistic Director of Charles Court Opera, and as a freelance director, devisor, and writer, working primarily in Opera and Musical Theatre.
Recent Opera engagements include his main stage debut for Opera North with Trial by Jury, as part of the company’s season of Little Greats, and The Sorcerer & The Gondoliers for the National G&S Opera Company. This summer, he was due to direct The Pirates of Penzance for a co-production between Opera Holland Park and Charles Court Opera, which has been postponed due to the COVID 19 pandemic. He won the Offie award for Best Opera Production for his production of H.M.S. Pinafore for CCO in 2019.
He has written, devised and directed numerous education and outreach projects for companies such as Opera North, the Royal Opera House, Opera Holland Park and the Concordia Foundation, of which he is the Education Manager. He has directed Opera North’s series of Whistle Stop Operas to date, including The Mini Magic Flute, which was commissioned for the CBBC Summer Social, and What is Opera?, which aired on the BBC’s Opera Passion series. He has written several opera adaptations for the Royal Opera’s Opera Dots series, and directed an adaptation of The Pirates of Penzance for Opera Holland Park’s ‘Inspire’ programme, which toured the UK on its way to Penzance early in 2020.
As the Education Manager for the Concordia Foundation, he has written and directed original musical works for performances linked to and involving schools in London, including their most recent project The Man in the Moon – there’s no Planet B?, which focussed on climate change and recycling.
John founded CCO in 2005, and recent productions for the company include Iolanthe, The Mikado, H.M.S. Pinafore, Ruddigore, Buttons: A Cinderella Pantomime, King Tut – An Egypt Panto, and both Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia and Mozart’s The Magic Flute for co-productions with the Iford Arts Festival. He has written/directed CCO’s 13 pantomimes to date, often also appeared as the Dame or Villain, and also directed an evening entitled ‘Avant-garde’ for CCO, including Schoenberg’s Pierre Lunaire, Peter Maxwell-Davies’ Eight Songs for a Mad King and a series of Beckett shorts. For more information and a full list of productions John has directed for CCO, please visit their website: www.charlescourtopera.com
John Savournin’s productions of Benjamin Britten’s Songs and Proverbs of William Blake for English Touring Opera and The Pirates of Penzance for Opera Holland Park, in association with Charles Court Opera, were lost to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, during Autumn 2020, he directed three films: Grief, a new short opera by Amanda Holden and Nils Holger-Peterson for Opera Harmony, available on Opera Vision; Whistle-stop Opera – Cinderella for Opera North; and Charles Court Opera’s online pantomime, Snow White in the Seven Months of Lockdown, whilst The Pirates of Penzance has been re-scheduled for Summer 2021.
Please note that this biography is not to be used for programmes. Current information is available on request.
Cinderella / Opera North
“Pasticcio is alive and well in the hands of Savournin…This is very much Savournin’s show…arranging, writing and directing three singers and two puppets, accompanied by violin and piano…an extremely valuable tool to encourage future audiences”
“John Savournin’s clever adaptations of operas often involve a change of focus… Savournin crafts a coherent, pleasingly silly, plot. Viardot supplies Cinderella’s dreams, Rossini the comic patter, Massenet the magic tree and the Prince as a travesty role and Rodgers and Hammerstein the big romantic moment with “Do I love you because you’re beautiful?”
The Reviews Hub
Snow White in the Seven Months of Lockdown / Charles Court Opera
“In the middle of the bleakest holiday season in recent memory, we don’t have to look any further than ‘Snow White in the Seven Months of Lockdown’ for an inoculation of positive energy, humour and joy.”
London Living Large
“Charming and bombastic, this production rises well to the challenges of not having the usual sort of audience interaction that pantomime is known for.”
“Once again, Charles Court Opera have delivered a pantomime that showcases all the talent involved brilliantly to offer real festive entertainment.”
Love London Love Culture
“Lockdown has clearly set the creative juices flowing…a panto like no other…the Charles Court Opera Company’s annual foray into pantomime has always been very much into a world of their own with at its heart arguably the best pantomime dame around – the multi-talented beanpole that is John Savournin, singer serious but dame delirious.”
“This year they have been forced to work behind closed doors, but their boundless, chaotic imaginations have not been restrained in the least and again, they have created a unique show dressed up in their distinctive style.”
Spy in the Stalls
“The writing is witty and well thought out, but leaves enough room for those classic panto gags that keep us coming back year after year.”