About Surrey Opera


Surrey Opera seeks to provide:

  • Opera to a high professional standard in Surrey, Sussex and Kent - at affordable prices
  • Opportunities for young singers, directors and designers in the early stages of their careers
  • the chance for young people to explore opera through workshops, collaboration and reduced ticket prices

Under the artistic direction of Jonathan Butcher , we stage two productions a year at a variety of venues.

The activities of Surrey Opera are managed by its committee:

  • Jonathan Butcher (Artistic Director)
  • Chris Cowell (Associate Artistic Director)
  • Robin Cordell (Chairman)
  • Sarah Sidhom (Administrative Advisor)
  • Madeleine Quinney, Louisa Alice-Rose, Ian Goldfinch and Sarah Wheeldon

Surrey Opera is based at Clyde Hall .


Surrey Opera was founded by the late Joyce Hooper MBE in 1969. In June 1970, she embarked upon the most ambitious project of her career, staging the Mozart operas, starting with the Magic Flute in Redhill’s Market Hall. Surrey Opera was born.

This first production was a great success. Russell Smythe, who played Papageno, went on to the Guildhall School of Music and subsequently to a successful professional career, singing at Covent Garden and with the English and Welsh National Opera companies. With the financial success of this first opera, all the Mozart operas followed together with Beethoven’s Fidelio, for which a tenor, Martin Cutze, was prepared to travel all the way from Germany to sing Florestan.

Realising, in 1976, that she would like a younger conductor to take over, Joyce heard of a brilliant young musician who was conducting The Marriage of Figaro at Blindley Heath. She handed over the baton to Jonathan Butcher, the present Artistic Director, who has continued so remarkably what Joyce Hooper started.