For over thirty years, English Touring Opera has been touring the UK (for about 10 of those, it was known by its first name – Opera 80). During those years, the company has had the good fortune to work with the cream of international and home-grown talent. In the 80s and 90s, conductors like Stephen Barlow, David Parry, Ivor Bolton and Martin Andre worked with directors such as Richard Jones and Declan Donnellan, and singers like Vivian Tierney, Alison Hagley, Sarah Connolly, Mary Plazas, Susan Gritton, Susan Bickley, William Dazeley, Jonathan Veira, and Christopher Purvis.
Since 2002, James Conway’s work has enhanced the company’s reputation for producing quality opera, developed the range of repertoire, and attracted some wonderful artists to the company.
Under his watch, the company has presented at its partner venues first performances of masterpieces from the 17th to the 21st century, as well as critically acclaimed productions of the traditional repertoire. The company has been able to work with established artists like Anne Mason and Yvonne Howard alongside exciting new talents like Amanda Echalaz and Luciano Botelho.
The company’s outreach programme, one of the first among opera companies (started shortly after the company was created), continues to commission and develop new work with diverse communities around the country. Since 2005, ETO has put down roots and grown some long and shapely branches – networks of opera fans and ETO family now support and participate in the company’s work across the country.