Elisabeth Parry’s London Opera Players
In 1950 a young soprano called Elisabeth Parry decided to start up her own small touring company along with a pianist friend. They survived a bitter struggle with the Arts Council to establish themselves successfully, and toured for fifty-six years, the first company in England to take classical opera on a reduced scale, fully costumed and produced and sung in English, all over Britain to audiences and schools who otherwise had no chance of hearing opera live.
Elisabeth officially retired at the turn of the new century and a few years later the company finally succumbed to the pressures of arts funding and was dissolved. She is enjoying an active and fulfilling retirement, including writing down her exploits in her engaging autobiography, Thirty Men & a Girl.
One of her protégés, bass-baritone Graham Stone, had the inspired idea of reviving not only the name of The London Opera Players, but also its production values and professional ethos. With alumni totalling over 450 performers, his idea was met with a wave of support and the blessing of Elisabeth herself. So the New London Opera Players were born.