British Bass-baritone John Savournin will play the Badger and the Priest in Opera Holland Park’s forthcoming The Cunning Little Vixon, and direct The Pirates of Penzance – a co-production between Opera Holland Park and Charles Court Opera – in which he will also play The Pirate King.  He will then go on to sing Captain Corcoran in H.M.S. Pinafore for English National Opera, in Autumn 2021.

Recent engagements have included Fotis The Greek Passion and Carl Olsen Street Scene for Opera North, Alcindoro La boheme for English National Opera’s Drive and Live production at Alexandra Palace, Zuniga Carmen for Welsh National Opera and Il Barone di Kelbar in Verdi’s Un giorno di regno for Chelsea Opera Group.  During Summer/Autumn 2020, aside from singing in La boheme for ENO, he created Whistle-stop, mini versions of Hansel and Gretel and Cinderella for Opera North, the latter of which was filmed for broadcast online and in schools during the pandemic, and wrote, directed and performed in Charles Court Opera’s online pantomime Snow White in the 7 months of lockdown, filmed during the November lockdown.


In previous seasons, his engagements have included Peter Quince A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Leporello Don Giovanni, Sarastro The Magic Flute, Schaunard La bohème, Angelotti Tosca, Armchair / Tree L’enfant et les sortilèges, Alidoro La Cenerentola, Count Horn Un ballo in maschera and Second Gunman in a critically-acclaimed production of Kiss Me, Kate (a role he has also sung for Welsh National Opera, at the Coliseum in London and at the Ravenna Festival in Italy), all for Opera North; The Immigration Officer Flight, Leporello Don Giovanni, Colline La bohème, Count Horn Un ballo in maschera and the silent role of Sante Il segreto di Susanna for Opera Holland Park; and Alidoro La Cenerentola for Scottish Opera.

John is also extremely experienced in the world of operetta, and has performed many times with the National Gilbert & Sullivan Opera Company and Charles Court Opera, for which he is the Artistic Director.


“John Savournin invests his mock-serious farewell to his coat (it’s off to the pawnshop) with immense dignity”


“John Savournin displays a warm voice and terrific comedic stage skills as his sidekick Leporello.”


John also enjoys a varied concert, chamber music and contemporary music schedule.

His passion for contemporary music has seen John Savournin perform Peter Maxwell Davies’ Eight Songs for a Mad King for the Land’s End Ensemble, Calgary, and the Ossian Ensemble, Kagel’s …den 24.XII.1931 with the Warehouse Ensemble, The Boy Who Lived Down the Lane by Diana Soh at the Performer’s Voice Symposium in Singapore, Stephen Oliver’s A Man of Feeling and the premiere of a song cycle by Edwin Roxburgh (especially written for him) at the Wigmore Hall.

In concert, his engagements have included Fortitudo in Haydn’s Applausus for Classical Opera at Cadogan Hall, Messiah for Raymond Gubbay at the Bridgewater Hall, Liverpool Philharmonic Hall and Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, Mozart’s Requiem for the Three Choirs Festival and the première of Edwin Roxburgh’s Two Sonnets, written for a recital at London’s Wigmore Hall.

His recordings include Bartolo on the BBC Singers / BBC Concert Orchestra recording of Alfred Cellier’s The Mountebanks for Dutton Epoch, whilst his broadcasts include The Greek Passion, The Magic Flute, Street Scene and In Tune for BBC Radio 3.

Further chamber and concert engagements have also included Elijah, Creation, Bach’s B Minor Mass, and Christus/Bass arias in Bach’s St. John & Matthew Passions.  John has also worked regularly with Counterpoise, a contemporary chamber ensemble dedicated to performing melodramas. With Counterpoise, he has performed works including John Casken’s Deadly Pleasures (Brighton Festival), Walton’s Facade and David Matthew’s Acteon.  He performed the UK premiere of Wynton Marsalis’ A Fiddler’s Tale at the Forge in Camden and Strauss’ Enoch Arden, Stravinsky’s A Soldier’s Tale and Walton’s Henry V.

John studied with a scholarship at Trinity College of Music, where he was awarded the Founder’s Prize for Excellence and the Paul Simms Opera Prize.  He is the winner of the Concordia Foundation’s Serena Neville Prize, and a Yeoman of the Worshipful Company of Musicians.  At Trinity, he sang Dr. Hasselbacher in a revival of Malcolm Williamson’s rarely heard Our Man in Havana, Plutone in Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo, the Narrator/Mysterious Man in Into the Woods, and the bass solos in Tippett’s A Child of our Time.  Operatic roles to date also include Dulcamara (L’Elisir d’Amore), Don Giovanni, Don Basilio (Il barbiere di Siviglia), and Don Fernando (Fidelio).


“A force of nature”

The Telegraph


John has created productions both as Artistic Director of Charles Court Opera, and as a freelance director, deviser, and writer.  He is due to direct The Pirates of Penzance for Opera Holland Park/Charles Court Opera this summer.

While his recent production of Britten’s Songs and Proverbs of William Blake for English Touring Opera was lost to the pandemic, other projects during 2020 included creating two ‘Whistle-stop’ versions of Hansel and Gretel and Cinderella for Opera North, writing and directing CCO’s online pantomime Snow White in the 7 months of lockdown, and making a short new opera Grief for Opera Harmony/Opera Vision.


Alongside his singing career, John has created productions of opera and musical theatre for his award-winning chamber opera company Charles Court Opera, and recently made his main stage directorial debut with Opera North. Recent directing engagements include his main stage debut with Trial by Jury, as part of Opera North’s season of Little Greats; Il Barbiere di Siviglia and The Magic Flute, both for CCO at the Iford Arts Festival.

He has written and directed Opera North’s ‘Whistle-stop’ productions to date as part of their Outreach programme, wrote adaptations of The Magic Flute and Cenerentola for the Royal Opera House’s Opera dots series, and devised an abridged The Pirates of Penzance for Opera Holland Park’s Inspire Programme.  He is the Education Manager for the Concordia Foundation, programming and creating their Young Audiences projects.

John founded CCO in 2005, and recent productions for them also include The Mikado and H.M.S. Pinafore. He has written/directed their 13 pantomimes to date, described by the Telegraph as an “annual madhouse” and he also directed an evening entitled ‘Avant garde’ for CCO, including Pierre Lunaire, 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:

Elsewhere, John has directed 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 and Tosca for the Musique Cordiale Festival in the South of France; 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.



19th – 27th Sept 2020

English National Opera

Puccini, La boheme

19th August – 14th September 2020

Opera North

Humperdink, Hansel and Gretel (mini opera)
Sandman/Narrator and Director/Writer

Oct – Nov 2020

Opera North

Various, Cinderella
(‘Whistle stop’ mini opera)

Nov – Dec 2020

Charles Court Opera

Snow White in the 7 months of lockdown
(Online pantomime)
Snow White and Director/Writer

13th – 30th July 2021

Opera Holland Park

Janáček, The Cunning Little Vixon
Badger and Priest

3rd – 7th Aug 2021

Opera Holland Park

Sullivan, The Pirates of Penzance
Director and The Pirate King

29 Oct – 11th Dec 2021

English National Opera

Sullivan, H.M.S. Pinafore
Captain Corcoran


<Autumn 2020 – Fotis, The Greek Passion – Opera North>

<Winter 2020 – Zuniga, Carmen – Welsh National Opera>

<Winter 2020 – Carl Olsen, Street Scene – Opera North>

<July 2019 – Sante, Il Segreto di Susanna – Opera Holland Park>

<July – August 2019 – Director, The Gondoliers – The National G&S Opera Company>

<July – August 2019 – Director, Ruddigore – Charles Court Opera on tour>

<June 2019 – Count Horn, Un ballo in Maschera – Opera Holland Park>

<June 2019 – Cadmus/Somnus, Semele – Northern Aldborough Festival>

<June 2019 – Librettist, La Cenerentola – Royal Opera House ‘Opera dots’ series>

<Spring 2019 – Librettist, The Magic Flute, Royal Opera House ‘Opera dots’ series>

<April – August 2019 – Director, H.M.S. Pinafore – Charles Court Opera at the King’s Head Theatre and on tour>

<Jan – March 2019 – Sarastro, The Magic Flute – Opera North>

<December 2018- January 2019 – Director/Librettist, Buttons (A Cinderella Pantomime) – Charles Court Opera>

<Autumn 2018 – Angelotti, Tosca – Opera North>

<Summer 2018 – Librettist, Pirates ‘revisited’ – Opera North Youth Chorus>

<Summer 2018 – 2nd Gunman, Kiss me, Kate – Opera North>

<Summer 2018 – Director/Librettist, The (mini) magic flute – Opera North & CBBC Summer social>

<Summer 2018 – Director, The Sorcerer – The National G&S Opera Company UK tour>

<Winter/Spring 2018 – Leporello, Don Giovanni – Opera North>

<Winter/Spring 2018 – Count Horn, Un ballo in maschera – Opera North>

<Spring 2018 – Director, The Mikado – Charles Court Opera at the King’s Head Theatre>

<Spring 2018 – Director/Librettist, Don Giovanni – Opera North ‘Whistle stop opera’ – Outreach>

<Winter 2017 – Director/Librettist, King tut – an egypt panto – Charles Court Opera (King’s Head Theatre)>

<Autumn 2017 – Armchair/Tree – L’Enfant et les sortileges – Opera North>

<Autumn 2017 – Director, Trial by Jury – Opera North main stage production>

<Summer 2017 – Leporello, Don Giovanni – Opera Holland Park>

<Summer 2017 – Director, The Barber of Seville – Iford Arts collaboration with Charles Court Opera>

<Winter/Spring 2017 – Alidoro, La Cenerentola – Opera North>

<Spring 2017 – Director/Librettist, Hansel & Gretel – Opera North ‘Whistle stop opera’ – Outreach>

<Winter 2016 – Director/Librettist, Pinocchio (pantomime) – Charles Court Opera (King’s Head Theatre)>

<Autumn 2016 – 2nd Gunman, Kiss me, Kate – Welsh National Opera co-production with Opera North>

<Summer 2016 – Colline, La Boheme – Opera Holland Park>

<Summer 2016 – Director/Librettist, The Magic Flute – Iford Arts collaboration with Charles Court Opera>

<Spring 2016 – Director, The Pirates of Penzance – Opera Holland Park Inspire Project>

<Autumn 2015 – 2nd Gunman, Kiss me, Kate – Opera North>

<Summer 2015 – The Immigration Officer, Flight – Opera Holland Park>





Alfred Cellier: The Mountebanks (Bartolo)

John Andrews, BBC Singers, BBC Concert Orchestra



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