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Pia Unpacked

Monday 4 January 2016

John Andrews, conductor of Pia de’ Tolomei, picks his favourite extracts from Donizetti’s rarely performed opera.

Mi volesti sventurato (Ghino cabaletta)

Bel canto singing at its best brought phenomenal energy in to the opera houses of Italy and Europe. The sheer swagger, arrogance and vocal brilliance of Ghino’s music as he plans the downfall of his one-time idol perfectly illustrates the man we see on stage. Driving rhythmic support from the orchestra accompanies a mellifluous, florid, and dramatically-charged vocal line, setting the stage for the tragedy that will unfold.

O tu che desti il fulmine (Pia’s cavatina)

Donizetti’s wonderful economy in this opera is nowhere better illustrated than in the speed with which he paints the heroine in music. Noble, assured and...

Behind the Scenes #LoveTheatreDay

Wednesday 18 November 2015

#Lovetheatreday is a celebration of all things stage. For a production to take place, many bees are working behind the scenes to ensure we reach as many people as possible, with the best possible work. Here are some of the English Touring Opera bees…

In the post-war years of austerity, Benjamin Britten was at the forefront of a new type of opera, the “chamber” opera. Although principally focussed on new works, this pioneering venture aimed to widen the reach of live opera performance: small orchestras, no chorus, simple costumes and staging. In the last few decades, this genre has come of age with “reduced” arrangements of repertoire works, allowing performances in venues from public gardens to prisons.

My new arrangement of Massenet’s Werther is a complete re-working of the rich, Romantic orchestral score, adapted for only four players: clarinet, violin, cello and piano. Rather than being a mere reduction of the full score, this version attempts to create an entirely new chamber piece. Every player is a soloist with their...

A catalogue of fictional characters falling in love with statues, robots and other inanimate objects, from Pygmalion to the present day.

From the beery intimacy of the prologue to Méliès, Nosferatu and the glamour of Hollywood in the late '20s: can Hoffmann the poet become Hoffmann, the filmmaker?

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