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Press Release

Know Your Onegins: Investec Produces Guide To Opera To Address Brits’ ‘Fear Of Culture’


- 4 million Brits are put off going to cultural events because they don’t know enough to appreciate them -
- Londoners most concerned about lack of cultural knowledge -

Over four million British adults have been put off going to a cultural event they would like to see because they don’t feel they know enough to be able to appreciate them properly. Research conducted by Investec Wealth & Investment[1] shows that Londoners are the most likely to refrain from indulging their appetite for cultural events such as the opera, ballet and classical concerts fearing they wouldn’t appreciate them, with one in five (21%) citing this as their main reason.

In response to this, Investec Wealth & Investment, which sponsors Opera Holland Park, has produced a pocket guide to the opera, providing an essential background that will entertain and inform opera novices and aficionados alike. The guide aims to make people more comfortable about the medium by dispelling a number of ‘myths’ surrounding it, while arming them with the basic information and quirky facts to ensure they can appreciate it.

The guide contains tips on how to get the most out of a visit to the opera, a potted history of the opera and its evolution, a glossary of the most commonly used terms, and an operatic ‘world of records’, as well as synopses of the operas featured in the 2012 Opera Holland Park season. The guide is available to download here[2].

Among the interesting facts it reveals are the identity of the composer who had to hide in a toolshed at the height of his fame, which opera sees the most characters killed off, and how Gianni Schicchi became wealthy.[3]

Percentage of people put off from attending a cultural event because they don’t feel they know enough to appreciate it


Percentage put off due to lack of knowledge
North East8%
South West8%
North West10%
West Midlands11%
East Midlands11%
Yorkshire & Humberside13%
East of England13%
South East19%
Total UK14%

David Bulteel, executive director of investment management at Investec Wealth & Investment says: “Our research highlights the tension between people’s desire to experience cultural events such as the opera and their fear of feeling out of their depth. We’ve produced this guide to help people feel more confident about visiting the opera. Opera Holland Park is proof that full scale opera is nothing to be scared of and it strives to be accessible to more people, particularly through its low price and free ticket programmes.”

James Clutton, producer of Opera Holland Park, said: “Our company was established in 1996 with the specific aim of making opera more accessible and we welcome the production of this guide. We can assure anyone who wants to experience live opera for the first time that our informal, relaxed approach means they don’t need to worry about etiquette, and that we make opera affordable without compromising the quality of the production.”

The Opera Holland Park 2012 season runs until 4 August. Tickets are on general sale at and over the telephone by calling 0300 999 1000.

- ends -

Notes to Editors

[1] Research conducted online by ICM Research among a nationally representative sample of 2,005 GB adults between 30 March and 1st April
[3] Giuseppe Verdi was such a national icon by the time he composed Falstaff that he had to hide in a toolshed to escape the attentions of his adoring fans. Gianni Schicchi impersonates a wealthy gentlemen from Florence and rewrites his will and bequeaths much of the fortune to himself

About Opera Holland Park
Opera Holland Park, set in idyllic parkland between three London tube stations, stages brand new productions of six operas each season, with 40 main stage performances between June and August each year. Its winning formula – established under the dedicated leadership of Michael Volpe (General Manager) and James Clutton (Producer) – of staging a mixture of ‘verismo’ discoveries and well-loved classics helps it to fill 98% of its seats. Thanks to its pricing policy and initiatives to open up its work to the widest audiences, it remains accessible to the local community as well as to seasoned opera-goers. It is not just the standard of its performances – exceptionally high, particularly for a ‘seasonal’ company – but also its informal, convivial atmosphere that prompted the Sunday Times to name it UK Opera Company of the Year in 2010.

Opera Holland Park’s sixteenth season opens on 7 June 2012 and runs until 4 August. It includes Donizetti’s ‘Lucia di Lammermoor’, Mozart’s ‘Così fan tutte’, Tchaikovsky’s ‘Eugene Onegin’, Verdi’s ‘Falstaff’, and a double of Puccini’s ‘Gianni Schicchi’ with a rare staging of Mascagni’s ‘Zanetto’.

Tickets are on general sale at and over the telephone by calling 0300 999 1000.

Information on Investec Wealth & Investment (“IW&I”)
IW&I offers wealth management and investment services to private individuals, charities, trusts, international clients and independent professional advisors. IW&I draws on the group-wide international capabilities and knowledge of its parent, international specialist bank and asset manager Investec plc. With a history stretching back to 1827, IW&I currently has over 600 staff located at its 11 offices throughout the UK. In December 2011, Investec plc acquired Williams de Broë, one of the UK's leading wealth management firms, as part of the acquisition of the Evolution Group plc.

At present IW&I looks after £12.26 billion of client assets*.

Investec Wealth & Investment offers:

  • Discretionary and advisory investment management and fully comprehensive financial planning capability

  • UK and international multi-currency investment portfolios

  • Tax, pension, ISA, estate and succession planning

  • Onshore and offshore capabilities

In the UK, IW&I is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority (FSA).

For more information on IW&I in the UK visit

*As at December 2011

For more information please contact:
Investec Wealth & Investment
Stephen Fishleigh or Brandon Stockwell at Citigate Dewe Rogerson
Tel: 020 7638 9571
Email: or