The world’s an opera stage

Keith Warner

Completing the 1st XI of interviews with important figures in the world of arts, Alisdair Kitchen talks to the renowned English opera director Keith Warner, and this episode of RyePod from Rye Arts Festival goes live at 9am on Friday, July 17.

Having studied English and drama at Bristol University, Keith pretty quickly immersed himself in the world of opera, joining the English National Opera (ENO) in 1981. In a wide ranging career, Keith has since directed 150 operas in 20 countries, with long spells at the ENO and Royal Opera.

But notable sojourns away from the capital have seen him work for the Scottish Opera, Opera Omaha in the US and the Royal Danish Opera. And he has directed two Wagner ring cycles – one at Covent Garden and the other in Tokyo.

An opera evangelist, Keith has always been keen on outreach work and he was instrumental in setting up the ENO’s outreach wing. And one notable example was working with Streetwise Opera to bring together a major production involving homeless people in Newcastle.

The interview was recorded not long after the start of lockdown and so a major focus of the conversation is on how the arts should respond to the enveloping crisis, with Keith taking the view it gives the chance for reflection and then a long term view on change rather than a simple knee-jerk reaction.

Since you can listen to podcasts as and when you like, you can also listen to previous episodes, so you can listen to actress / director Selina Cadell in conversation with Alisdair Kitchen and the former Level 42 drummer Phil Gould talking to Alison Moncrieff-Kelly, which shows the breadth of Rye Arts Festival’s multi-arts offering.

RyePod is available on all the major podcast platforms, including Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and Spotify. A full list is available at

Image Credits: Monika Forster .


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