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Opera Boss Receives New Year Honour

Published on: 31 Dec, 2020
Updated on: 4 Jan, 2021

Wasfi Kani CBE

By Alice Fowler

Wasfi Kani, CEO and founder of Grange Park Opera, based at West Horsley Place, has been awarded a CBE in the 2021 New Year Honours list.

Kani, who received her award for services to music, said: “First and foremost I must say that this is a joint achievement: an achievement of my colleagues as well as the generous people who believe in Grange Park Opera’s vision – which is sometimes weird and sometimes traditional. I thank and curtsey to them.”

The New Year Honours lists recognise the achievements and service of people across the UK, from all walks of life. Along with the Queen’s Birthday Honours, they are the most significant announcements of civilian and military gallantry awards.

With live theatre performances in summer 2020 severely restricted by Covid 19, Grange Park Opera – and the indomitable Kani – proved that the show really could go on.

The Grange Park Opera’s auditorium, still being developed, is based on La Scala

The company engaged 157 artists for their Found and Interim seasons in 50 online, free to view events, with 22 hours of entirely new material. These included four staged operas – all lesser-known pieces – and concerts both indoors and outdoors.

Payments were made to 146 artists-in-need, including backstage staff. Commenting on her achievements this year, Kani said: “Covid-19 actually gave us a unique opportunity to share the magic of great musical experiences – which are original, stimulating and food for the soul – with as many people as possible around the world. We are immensely proud to have done more than any other UK opera company during the pandemic, leading the arts pack out of lockdown and staying ahead.”

The Found and Interim seasons together have had more than 70,000 views online.

Kani was awarded an OBE in the New Year’s Honours List in 2002 for her work in bringing her second opera company, Pimlico Opera, into prisons.

See also: Dragon Interview: Wasfi Kani Grange Park Opera

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test One Response to Opera Boss Receives New Year Honour

  1. Paul Spooner Reply

    January 1, 2021 at 12:28 pm

    Wasfi is a real force of nature. A very well deserved CBE for her incredible efforts to bring Grange Park Opera to West Horsley Place and fundraise to overcome significant challenges along the way. The result is testament to her leadership and ability to engage volunteers with the required skill set to deliver. Congrats Wasfi!

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