Lewis Gaston - Music Director

Lewis Gaston works as a conductor and assistant in the UK and abroad. His work has been recognised in International Competitions, Masterclasses and he enjoys a schedule of work that combines performance, education and research. He has been Guest Conductor for the Brasov Philarmonic (Romania) and the Toscana Classica Orchestra (Italy). He has also conducted the Berlin Sinfonietta, Camerata di Fiorentina and the State Opera Rousse (Bulgaria). Lewis is Music Director of Opera Holloway, Guildford Opera, Genesis Chorale and acts as Guest Conductor to a number of London orchestras.

As a lecturer and conductor for Opera Prelude, Lewis has given the UK premiere of Mercadante's opera Don Chisciotte alle nozze di Gamaccio, lectured on Gluck, Berlioz, Viardot and Lord Leighton as part of an event including the performance of Gluck's Orphée, and continues to work on series of lectures.

In 2017 Lewis is working on projects including Verdi's Macbeth, Delibes' Lakmé, Saint-Saëns' Samson et Delila as well as Mozart's Cosi Fan Tutte. He will also be conducting the Farnborough Symphony Orchestra in a concert of British composers featuring Vaughan Williams' 2nd Symphony, Britten's Sinfonia da Requiem, Walton's Spitfire Prelude and Fugue as well as a contemporary work by award winning composer Elizabeth Winters.


Laurie O’Brien - Co-Founder & Repetiteur

Laurie competed in Eisteddfodau from age 5, beginning piano at the same age with Darya Brill-Williams. At age 11, she joined the Junior Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama where she received vocal tuition under Marilyn Rees. At age 16 she became the rehearsal pianist for local amateur dramatic society Showcase, as well as local Welsh medium choir, Cor Y Ganolfan.

Her undergraduate studying French and Music was at Royal Holloway University of London, where she received piano tuition under Matthew Stanley and continued to specialise in accompaniment, and as repetiteur for the Royal Holloway Savoy Opera Society. She co-founded Opera Holloway, with whom she currently holds the role of repetiteur. With Opera Holloway, Laurie has accompanied vocal masterclasses given by Dame Rosalind Plowright, Janis Kelly and Dame Felicity Lott and performed in a variety of venues around the UK, including Upstairs at the Gatehouse, London, and the Pavillion Theatre at Buxton Opera House.

Laurie completed her postgraduate studies in music in September 2012 and now works as a freelance accompanist, repetiteur and teacher in London and Surrey. See


Welcome to Opera Holloway, a registered charity originally setup in 2009 in order to give young artists the opportunity to perform in opera at the early stages of their careers, and to present accessible performances to the public, particularly new audiences.

The last few years have seen the company perform in a variety of venues from barns in Sussex to pubs in Wales. Our educational workshops have taken place in village halls and schools giving children a flavour of what it’s like to stand on stage and be part of an opera. We’re proud to have not only a number of four and five star reviews for our performances, but to have received a number of awards for our work off the stage.

Young Musicians

We passionately believe in giving opportunities to musicians in the early stages of their careers. We’re privileged to not only have our stage filled with talented young singers, but in ‘the pit’ too. The ensembles that have accompanied our performances are also been comprised of accomplished players looking to gain more experience in the world of opera.

New Audiences

Each year we aim to bring opera to people who have never seen one before. Sometimes this means performing in venues closer to people’s everyday lives, from a pub in Wales to a riding school in Sussex. By making the productions as accessible as possible, often in English and with a pre-performance talk, it’s great to see so many families in our audiences too.


From the children’s workshops to our joint collaboration with Opera Prelude this year, education is proving just as powerful as performance in getting new audiences interested in opera. In 2013 we raised enough funds to provide bursaries for some children to participate in a 5 day opera workshop that culminated in them performing alongside our main cast in Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel on the London stage. Here’s what one of them had to say:

“Working on Hansel and Gretel was one of the most enjoyable experiences I’ve had so far. It was wonderful to listen to so many beautiful and magical voices, especially as it was something I’d never thought of in such a way before. At first I was nervous and apprehensive about going, but as soon as we’d finished our first hour with the team I was really comfortable being around everyone. The lessons were great and we played lots of games to keep us refreshed and awake, when it got to the end of the day I really didn’t want to go home.  I didn’t expect to meet such awesome people there either. I made unexpected friends and learnt new skills and lessons that will help me in the future.”
Olu - Gingerbread Project Participant 2013

Performance Quality

Providing a vocally safe environment for singers to rehearse and perform in is key to our work. Sometimes operatic roles demand huge amounts of stamina. An over-intensive rehearsal schedule, or too many consecutive performances can put a singer out of action.

The quality of the performance is paramount to everything we do, and combining these highest musical standards we set ourselves with real on-stage drama takes time, commitment and a love of the genre from all involved.

Callie Swarbrick – Producer & Education Co-Ordinator

Callie Swarbrick is currently studying with Theresa Goble at Guildhall School of Music and Drama, generously supported by the Stapley Trust, The Seary Trust, Yorkshire Ladies Trust and a Guildhall School Scholarship.

Callie is a member of the Core Company for Opera Erratica, starring in Triptych, nominated Critics Choice in the Times. This Christmas she performed David Lang’s The Little Match Girl Passion with the company. Callie is a principal artist with Opera Holloway, most recently performing Rita in Rita by Donizetti and Nora in Riders to the Sea. Other recent roles include Rosalinde in Die Fledermaus at the Epsom Playhouse. 

Also a talented recitalist, Callie has had recent performances at 22 Mansfield Street and the Pushkin House. Callie also gives performance lectures for Opera Prelude at Cadogan Hall and Henley on Thames. She also sings with the National Portrait choir.


Hansel & Gretel

Edinburgh FESTIVAL 2013

“enthusiasm for opera that readily transmits itself to the audience” - British theatre guide






“they acquit themselves with distinction”

Oh awarded charity status

march 2013

Dame Felicity lott masterclass

January 2012

“I am full of admiration for what you have achieved”

entrepreneurial award

march 2011

First place awarded by sir alec reed



Opera holloway’s First School Workshop

February 2011

Vaughan williams society FUNDING 2014

shipley festival, st martin of tours festival

rossini touring production

supported by the humphrey richardson taylor trust enabling the purchase of new touring equipment including a subtitles screen

Don pasquale touring production

new venues accompanied by string quartet and supported by the humphrey richardson taylor trust