Michael Volpe

General Manager, Opera Holland Park

Michael Volpe loves more than just opera. He is a Chelsea fan, enjoys jazz, soul, funk and thinks John Martyn was a demi-God and XTC the greatest British band ever to pick up guitars.

He has been at Holland Park for over 23 years and persuaded RBKC to start the company in 1996.

He has three ridiculously talented children and lives in London.

You can check out the Opera Holland Park website here.
The Good

The Good Samaritans

Today, I think many of us spend much of our time in some form of mild despair; it is a tough world. But social ills can be compounded by the human experience of bereavement and the irony that in a connected world, people have scarcely been more "lonely" as we retreat into our cyber-worlds, advertising our fabulous lives for all to see.
17/11/2016 11:35 GMT
Mind Your

Mind Your Grammar

I am aware that exams and qualifications are the currency of success these days; it is how it is. But that is the easy path is it not? We can coach, we can cram, we can meet the bright but reluctant working class scholar half-way by softening the questions. Then we can celebrate.
08/03/2015 01:36 GMT
Customer Service and the Holiday Rep

Customer Service and the Holiday Rep Mafia

The world is obsessed with customer service. From small companies to multi-nationals, local to national government, there are policies, promises and guarantees aplenty. You can't move for the customer service. It has become another sales tool, and end in itself as opposed to a means to an end. And so often, it means nothing.
17/09/2013 15:49 BST
The Cost of

The Cost of Grief?

As the stream of policy discussions and floated ideas for the NHS continue to emerge, I and my family have had unfortunate cause to realise just how much of what the health service does is impossible to "value".
30/05/2013 17:37 BST

Sick Singers

If you or I get a cold we can sit at our desks, doped on Lemsip and trundle through our day's tasks unwatched, unnoticed, silently. That is a luxury not afforded a performer who must force their voice into spectacularly unnatural contortions, expending monumental amounts of energy in the process.
17/03/2013 11:20 GMT
Gok's Opera

Gok's Opera Makeover

Best known for his various television series, How to Look Good Naked, Gok's Fashion Fix, and more recently, Gok Cooks Chinese, fashion consultant Gok Wan hardly fits the cliché of the standard opera-lover.
11/02/2013 13:25 GMT
To Boo or Not to

To Boo or Not to Boo

I always wonder why it is that audiences boo. Opera audiences can get extremely cross about interpretations of their favourite operas, especially the classics. I'm more concerned with the need, the irresistible urge even, to be outraged by a director's interpretation and to give voice to that frustration.
07/02/2013 15:35 GMT
Cultural Variety Is the Spice of

Cultural Variety Is the Spice of Life

Overwhelmingly I find that cultural silos exist more outside of the classical or operatic field. The charge of cultural elitism against people who love the classical arts is deeply ironic when I think of the many I speak to who partake of little more than Robbie Williams and <em>X Factor</em>.
16/01/2013 17:52 GMT
In Search of

In Search of Jewels

A reality that all opera houses face is that audiences tend to gravitate towards the works they know. In fact, this isn't a problem only experienced by opera houses but there is a peculiar perception afoot that by presenting these works we are, by definition, asking audiences to consider them all to be masterpieces and as such they are frequently judged on that basis.
10/12/2012 14:40 GMT
To Them All We Must Give

To Them All We Must Give Applause

The arts industry is, especially today, awash with the cult of personality. Too often the focus is drawn to the people at the top, or the PR stunts that propel them onto a few thousand twitter feeds and by which an industry appears to now be judged, diverting the issues or introducing unnecessary ones.
02/12/2012 14:26 GMT
Dishonesty Trumps

Dishonesty Trumps Hypocrisy

Mark Clattenberg is no angel, we all know this and he has had his troubles in the past. I do not want those misdemeanours to cloud this issue in the way they appeared to in the John Terry case.
05/11/2012 11:50 GMT
You Couldn't Make It

You Couldn't Make It Up

It pains me to say that a bit of me will likely enjoy the unfathomable awkwardness that the whole case represents for the FA and the football press. I will, I am sorry to say, enjoy seeing how they manage to reconcile their recent history with their growing realisation that fate has dealt them a cruel, almost perfect and mouth-wateringly delicious blow.
31/10/2012 16:51 GMT
T-shirts and

T-shirts and Tantrums

It has boiled down to this; Rio Ferdinand's right not to wear a t-shirt supersedes that of a man found not guilty in a court of law.
22/10/2012 16:50 BST
Perhaps We Should Sometimes Release Our Inner

Perhaps We Should Sometimes Release Our Inner Child

I have never even contemplated paintball but deep down I know why. And it isn't necessarily because of the nerds or the wannabe Rambos. It is something much more close to home and inescapable; I knew it would bring out the childishness that still resides in me.
16/10/2012 12:58 BST

Beyond Reason

There will be a million words and countless opinions on the written reasons for the John Terry verdict published by the FA. It is possibly one of the most contrived and brazenly arrogant documents you are likely to read; what shocks is how there seems to be little attempt to veil the hearing's motivation but more stunning still is that it shows a process so bewilderingly, frantically determined to get its man that the outcome is even worse than we could have thought.
09/10/2012 16:07 BST
The FA: Above the Law and Beneath

The FA: Above the Law and Beneath Contempt

When the FA assembled its learned John Terry star chamber, chaired by an as yet anonymous QC, we can be in no doubt that justice was going to "seen to be done". But the desired effect has been achieved. A procession of hacks, no doubt gnashing their teeth with rage and indignation when the judge delivered his verdict at the court trial have had a revival.
03/10/2012 18:22 BST
Why the Hate for John

Why the Hate for John Terry?

From a human perspective, I have rarely been a big fan of his. But there is a pattern and a level of vituperation for this player that extends from the very top of the game in the form of the FA through to fans and all the way to his fellow professionals. And it smashes all of the principles of natural justice and due process to smithereens.
27/09/2012 11:11 BST
Conditional Love for the

Conditional Love for the Olympics

A billion words have been written about the opening ceremony so I won't add to them, save to say that it has given a little boost to the nation's feelings for the Games which nevertheless still teeter on the line between a full embrace and complete intolerance.
30/07/2012 08:57 BST