Broadcast of ETO's St John Passion | Easter Sunday, 4pm

7th April 2020

English Touring Opera’s broadcast debut, Bach’s ST JOHN PASSION will be available here from 4pm on Sunday 12 April. English Touring Opera are set to release other digital content on their YouTube channel in the coming weeks including other performances; interactive insight talks; singing lessons for children and adults; and music projects for people with special educational needs and disabilities.

Messsage from our Artistic Director, James Conway:

Dear friends,

As you know, one of our productions this season was an unusual, dramatic presentation of the Bach’s Passion according to John. Over its 10 performances around the country, we were due to perform with over 30 local choirs of all ages; we greatly looked forward to these collaborative presentations.

Once we knew that in the interests of everyone’s safety the performances had to be cancelled, we set our minds to thinking about a way in which some of the spirit of those performances could be saved. We had a single camera, archive film of the first performance in the Hackney Empire, and some other footage of the rehearsal that afternoon – and we had an idea to ask members of choirs from Keswick to Truro (and artists in the company) to record in their own homes a number of the chorales they would have sung in the performance, and then blend their voices with the recording made in Hackney.

This the singers and players have kindly agreed we can share with everyone who might have performed, anyone who might have attended – and anyone with whom they share it. If there is a chance, we urge you to tune in together with us this Easter Sunday at 4pm, and to share your thoughts afterwards; you might otherwise join us when you would have performed or attended.

It will at least give a sense of the live performance – which we hope we will be able to make again some day, with you.


James Conway
Artistic Director, English Touring Opera

ETO make a commitment to artists & to keep music in their communities

19th March 2020

Dear friends,

English Touring Opera statement regarding COVID-19

The safety and security of our artists, audiences and staff is what matters most to English Touring Opera. For this reason, we have taken the decision to cancel all 52 remaining performances of our Spring 2020 tour, following the Government’s recommendations regarding non-essential travel and socialising, unless there comes a time when it is safe and practical to reopen.

We are committed to supporting our freelance artists as well as our technical and production staff in the challenging times ahead. We will be paying our 67 freelancers their fees for the full tour, all the way to what would have been the final scheduled performance on 27 June.

Our venue partners will be in touch with anyone who holds a ticket to one of our cancelled performances.

We are all heartbroken to cancel this tour, with productions of which we are so very proud. The financial implications for ETO of cancelling such a substantial tour are severe, but with the support of our loyal audiences, we will continue to produce the best opera we can for communities across the country long into the future.

During this period of closure, we will be developing creative ways of continuing to bring music to you, wherever you are, because that matters to us. Please sign up to our newsletter, keep an eye on our website and social media channels to find our more.

If you can help us by donating the value of your tickets this season, or perhaps a larger gift, you will be directly supporting musicians through the COVID-19 pandemic and our ambition to keep music in all of our lives in the coming weeks. You can do so by visiting

Thank you for your support and fellowship. Our thoughts are with you and your community of friends and family, and we look forward to welcoming you to an opera again soon,

James Conway
Artistic Director, English Touring Opera

Covid-19 update

17th March 2020

The safety and security of our artists, audiences, technical, production and administrative staff is what matters most to English Touring Opera. Following the Government’s recommendations regarding non-essential travel, socialising­­ and theatre closures during the Coronavirus pandemic many of our upcoming performances on the Spring 2020 tour have been cancelled and we are currently assessing the viability of the tour in its entirety. Please check back here, or on our social media channels tomorrow (Wednesday 18 March) for a further statement.

We’d like to assure you that we’re busy planning creative ways of continuing to bring opera that moves to our communities during a period of closure and that we are committed to supporting our artists during this hugely challenging period.

Under 35s Ticket Scheme

2nd January 2020

‘Opera really can be for all’ (Evening Standard)

Under 35? Buy a £5 ticket to see live opera in theatres across the country. Sign up to our mailing list below and get behind the scenes news, videos and access to cheap tickets.

This spring you can utilise this offer at the following theatres:

Hackney Empire, London
Buxton Opera House
York Theatre Royal
Festival Theatre, Malvern – £7 tickets
Exeter Northcott Theatre

Tickets are limited and are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Terms and conditions apply.

Sign up now

MBE awarded to ETO’s Tim Yealland in New Year’s Honours List

1st January 2019

Tim Yealland is to receive an MBE as part of the New Year’s Honours for his work as Head of Education at English Touring Opera. Tim Yealland has been librettist and director of over 20 operas in his role at ETO. Critically acclaimed highlights include: Shackleton’s Cat (4* The Times; 5* Opera Now), the story of Ernest Shackleton’s voyage on the Endurance; the tale of the first dog in space, Laika The Spacedog (winner of the Armel Opera Festival, Hungary); and Different and This Is My Bed, operas for audiences with special educational needs and disabilities, written in collaboration with young people on the autistic spectrum. Under Tim Yealland, English Touring Opera introduces over 15,000 children and young adults to opera every year.

Read more here

Christmas Opening Hours

12th December 2018

The ETO office will be closed from Saturday 22 December – Tuesday 1 January. Normal business shall resume on Wednesday 2 January.

You can book your tickets via the venue’s website as normal. The tour dates can be found here. For more information about the productions visit the Macbeth, Idomeneo or Elizabeth I production pages.

In remembrance of Judith Ackrill

19th October 2018

English Touring Opera has learned of the death of Judith Ackrill.

Remarkable, incisive, beautiful Judith was a friend, supporter, advisor and trustee of English Touring Opera for 24 years. She understood the company and its mission more than anyone, and enjoyed company performances with generous good will as well as critical insight. Around the time of each AGM, Judith would ask me if it was not time for her to leave the board, and I would entreat her to stay one more year, to help us to assess the fairness of auditioning, the sharpness of our self-evaluation, the clarity of our ways of listening to audience members – and, most recently, the recruitment of a new Music Director.

Judith was a strong advocate for the inspired work of ETO’s former Associate Artist (Education), Tim Yealland. Clear thinking, sensitive, wise, Judith has been a wonderful guide and friend to me, and both a guardian and a champion of English Touring Opera.

I know that Judith worked hard for high standards and generous access in music and the arts in the UK – both in organisations (most recently the LSO) and as a freelance consultant. In my life there has been no one quite like her – and music in the UK is richer because she served it with energy and intelligence.

ETO dedicated to her memory the opening performance of the new production of works by Carissimi, Gesualdo and Purcell, and performed then as an encore a Carissimi chorus from Jephte that she had particularly admired. The exquisite ‘Plorate, filii Israel’ will now always be associated with Judith for the whole team at ETO.

James Conway
(ETO General Director)

Office Closure in w/c 23 July 2018

16th July 2018

The ETO office will be closed from Saturday 21 – Sunday 29 July. Normal business shall resume on Monday 30 July.

You can book your tickets via the venue’s website as normal. The tour dates can be found here. For more information about the productions visit the Radamisto, Triple Bill or St Matthew Passion production pages.

Attend an audience focus group - we want to hear from you!

25th June 2018

Date: 19 July 2018
Time: 10.30am, 1pm and 3pm.
Location: Central London

On Thursday 19 July, English Touring Opera are hosting a series of focus groups and we’d welcome you to register. Come and share your thoughts and join a conversation about opera, with refreshments provided.

Please fill out this form to register your interest.

All applicants will be sent a confirmation email from Sascha Kelly, our Reach Coordinator. As we can only accommodate limited participants, we would ask that you update us with any changes to your availability:

ETO’s music director Michael Rosewell to step down from his position

24th May 2018

ETO’s distinguished music director Michael Rosewell to step down from his position

English Touring Opera’s distinguished Music Director, Michael Rosewell, has announced that he will be stepping down from his position as Music Director for ETO at the end of 2018. Rosewell has worked with English Touring Opera as Associate Conductor and then as Music Director for fourteen years. During which time critical appraisals of the musical standards of the company have been consistently high, and the repertoire has expanded considerably.

Michael Rosewell’s time with ETO has been a golden period. Michael has been offered and has accepted, the new honorary title of Conductor Laureate of English Touring Opera.
Michael Rosewell has agreed that he will continue to offer his valued advice to General Director James Conway on an informal basis. It is expected that Michael will return to work as a conductor for specific opera projects, and there is a plan for him to develop a programme mentoring young conductors under the ETO umbrella.

Michael Rosewell: “It has been a privilege to have been part of such a fruitful artistic partnership with James Conway and to have collaborated with so many leading British-based singers and orchestral players during my time with ETO.”

James Conway, ETO General Director: “Working alongside Michael Rosewell (so far… I hope there is much more to come!) has been one of the most pleasant and enriching experiences of my professional life. I saw where I thought ETO had to go when I came to the company 15 years ago, and I was lucky enough to find in Michael Rosewell an artistic partner to get there. Michael is that rare thing: a brilliant opera conductor, a company man, a collaborator, leader and mentor of exceptional skill, tact and experience.”

We’d welcome you to share your memories, or send a message to Michael below.

Made Media Ltd.

Tour cancellation update.

We have made a commitment to our artists and to keep music in the communities we serve.

Read the full statement from James Conway, Artistic Director of ETO, by clicking here.

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