For John's forthcoming directing engagements, please see the SCHEDULE page.
For productions and reviews of his work with Charles Court Opera, please visit the company's website.
"A force of nature" The Telegraph
John Savournin is fast gaining a reputation for directing high-energy productions of opera, light opera and musical theatre.. In 2017, he directed Il Barbiere di Siviglia (in English) for Charles Court Opera at the Iford Arts Festival, a 'Whistle-stop' production of Hansel and Gretel for Opera North, and made his main stage directorial debut with Opera North in the Autumn with Gilbert & Sullivan's Trial by Jury as part of their one act season of Little Greats. He also revived his production of Die Zauberflöte that was originally commissioned by Iford Arts, in London, and wrote and directed Charles Court Opera's Christmas Pantomime, King Tut - A Pyramid Panto. He is the Artistic Director of Charles Court Opera, having formed the company in 2005.
In 2016, he directed a new production of Mozart's Die Zauberflöte at the Iford Arts Festival, a 'Whistle-stop' production of L'elisir d'amore for Opera North; The Yeomen of the Guard and The Pirates of Penzance for the National G&S Opera Company in Harrogate and on tour; directed and created a new children's piece for the Concordia Foundation's Young Audiences Programme, of which he is now the Education Manager, and Charles Court Opera's 10th Boutique Panto in London - Pinocchio.
In the 2014/15 season, he directed an abridged production of The Pirates of Penzance for Opera Holland Park's Inspire Programme; new full scale productions of The Gondoliers and The Mikado and revived his production of HMS Pinafore for the National G&S Opera Company; Tosca for Musique Cordiale Festival in the South of France, Ruddigore for Charles Court Opera in London's off-west-end, and a new writing project for the Concordia Foundation's Young Audiences programme.
In 2013/14, he directed The Pirates of Penzance and HMS Pinafore for the G&S Opera Company's first No.1 UK tour, a rare revival of Sondheim and Rogers' musical Do I Hear a Waltz? at the newly opened Park Theatre in London, Rossini's Il Barbiere di Siviglia for the Musique Cordiale Festival in the South of France, and Patience for Charles Court Opera, in London's off-west-end. ("G&S can still hold sway under the direction of John Savournin" Islington Gazette.).
John founded Charles Court Opera in 2005, and has directed Britten's The Turn of the Screw, Mozart's Cosi fan Tutte, Puccini's Tosca and La Boheme, and most notably, Gilbert and Sullivan's The Pirates of Penzance ("Ingenious" Evening Standard) , The Mikado ("Nicely judged and wickedly funny" The Guardian), HMS Pinafore, Iolanthe, Ruddigore, Trial by Jury and Sullivan's Cox and Box and The Zoo for the company. He has written and directed CCO's 10 pantomimes to date, described by The Telegraph as an "annual madhouse". He directed an evening entitled 'Avant garde' for CCO, including Pierre Lunaire and Eight Songs for a Mad King with Beckett shorts. For more information on Charles Court Opera, visit their website: www.charlescourtopera.com
Elsewhere, credits include Wolf Ferrari's Susanna's Secret, Handel's Julio Caesare, The Falcon (play – world-premiere), Acis and Galatea, Cosi fan tutte; Rimsky-Korsakov's Mozart and Salieri and Mozart's Impresario. He is a regular director at the Gilbert & Sullivan Festival, having directed several youth productions in the UK and USA. In 2012, he wrote and directed Shadows of what may be, based on Dickens' A Christmas Carol, for the Concordia Foundation's Young Audiences Project.
He is a visiting tutor at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, leading workshops on English repertoire.
Updated January 2017. NOT TO BE REPRODUCED. IF A BIOGRAPHY IS REQUIRED, PLEASE CONTACT JOHN DIRECTLY.
Reviews of John's recent productions
**** THE DAILY EXPRESS:
"'One of the finest G&S actor/directors of the present day.... Savournin's HMS Pinafore offers a polished modern production... Performances such as these deserve to be seen by all"
(HMS Pinafore, The G&S Opera Company)
"Most enjoyable of all was the added humour. A director's job, particularly in a comic opera, is to add some touches of his own without distracting from the music and Savournin judged this to perfection. From the woeful ineptitude of the pirates, who can never resist the pleas of orphans, to some funny choreography for the chorus of policemen (whose lot was not a happy one) the production showed why the Victorian humour of G&S can be enhanced and still enjoyed by modern audiences."
(The Pirates of Penzance, The G&S Opera Company)
**** THE GUARDIAN:
“Its primary strengths lie in the understated assurance of Savournin's direction and his belief that Gilbert's text does as much as Sullivan's score.” (HMS Pinafore)
“..such is the energy of the cast, and their attention to both text and music in John Savournin's staging, that the piece comes over with almost reckless gusto.” (The Mikado)
**** EVENING STANDARD:
“...ingenious... it's hard to imagine it better administered.”
(The Pirates of Penzance)
“Putting gas into G&S ... the staging is insistently fresh...”
“Director John Savournin understands the comic energies of the duets and trios perfectly.” (HMS Pinafore)
**** SUNDAY EXPRESS:
“...captures the full flavour of G&S...” (The Pirates of Penzance)
**** TIME OUT:
“Savournin's direction is effective, allowing for plenty of comic asides” (The Zoo/Trial by Jury)
“A snappy and stylish show all about character...” (The Mikado)
“... Wolf-Ferrari's charming miniature... zipped by in his (Savournin's) stylish production...” (Susannah's Secret)