Jennifer Saunders joins Classic FM to present a new series exploring the world of opera

2 March 2022, 08:28 | Updated: 15 April 2022, 08:30

Jennifer Saunders joins Classic FM for a new opera series.
Jennifer Saunders joins Classic FM for a new opera series. Picture: Classic FM
Classic FM

By Classic FM

Comedian and actor Jennifer Saunders presents a new Sunday night series on Classic FM, opening up and exploring the wonderful world of opera, with the English National Opera.

Award-winning comedian and actor Jennifer Saunders is set to host a landmark new Sunday series on Classic FM, introducing listeners to the world of opera in all its wonder (listen here on Global Player).

Together with the English National Opera (ENO), From Couch to Opera House (in 7 weeks) launches on Sunday 6 March at 9pm and is the latest in a series of specially commissioned programmes to celebrate Classic FM’s 30th birthday year.

Jennifer will present the series on Classic FM after having completed an opera challenge of her own in 2021 with ENO. Last March, she was one of five comedians to very impressively learn the iconic aria ‘Nessun Dorma’ from Puccini’s Turandot in just 24 hours, and perform it live on television for charity.

Across seven episodes of her new Classic FM show, Jennifer aims to demystify the genre to anyone who is new to opera, taking you by the hand and guiding you through the virtual opera house doors, through the foyer, and finally settling in the Grand Circle for the highly-anticipated performance.

Enter now: Win a trip to the opera and £1,000 with the English National Opera

Comic Relief Red Nose Day

Can comedians Jennifer Saunders, Andi Osho, Alex Brooker, Caroline Quentin and Jayde Adams learn how to sing opera in just 24 hours for Comic Relief: Red Nose Day 🤯 In this preview clip Freddie De Tommaso - Tenor gives them a feel for the piece they'll be learning – Puccini's Nessun Dorma 🙌 See them perform LIVE tonight on BBC One 📺 #RedNoseDay 🔴

Posted by English National Opera on Friday, March 19, 2021

Each hour-long programme will focus on a different theme, ranging from love (both satisfied and unrequited), conflict and turmoil to comedy.

Along the way, there will be a relevant and rich accompaniment of opera music spanning five centuries, from Claudio Monteverdi in the early 17th century through to Stephen Sondheim in the 20th century. Opera newcomer or long-time lover of the genre – there’ll be something for everyone to enjoy.

Jennifer Saunders said: “After dipping my toe into the world of opera last year for a wonderful charitable cause and the English National Opera, I’m thrilled to present this new series on Classic FM without having to actually sing.”

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Jennifer embarks on her series with one of the greatest operas ever written: Mozart’s Don Giovanni, a storyline filled with enough romantic pursuits, salacious seduction and bloodthirsty revenge to outdo any soap opera.

Philip Noyce, Classic FM’s managing editor, said: “It’s very exciting to be teaming up with Jennifer Saunders and the English National Opera for this new series in our special 30th anniversary year. One of our central aims at Classic FM is to make classical music available and accessible to everyone, so I’m thrilled that we’re working with someone of Jennifer’s calibre to help us challenge any preconceptions about what opera is and who can enjoy it.

“Our series will inform, it will entertain, and it will pack an emotional punch – just like a night at the opera, in fact!”

Listen to From Couch to Opera House (in 7 weeks) with Jennifer Saunders on Sunday nights at 9pm, and catch up on Global Player.