Autumn 2020: Back in rehearsals

24th September 2020


This month, ETO began rehearsals on our Autumn 2020 season. A team of artists are working on a programme of lyric monodramas that can be toured nationally whilst keeping audiences, artists and staff safe.

The company is incredibly excited to be together, making music again. We are grateful to our fantastic production team and Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts for all of their work in setting up a safe rehearsal space.

Italian Trulli

View more photos of ETO rehearsing for the upcoming Autumn tour here.

More details of repertoire for our Autumn 2020 season of lyric monodramas will be announced soon, as well as venue dates and details for purchasing tickets. In the mean time, we are happy to announce some of the fantastic artists we are excited to be working with this season:

Singers
Richard Dowling
Thomas Elwin
Edward Hawkins
Paula Sides
Jenny Stafford
Katie Stevenson
Julien van Mellaerts

Dancers
Paul Chantry

Pianists
Ella O’Neill
Sergey Rybin
Ian Tindale

Creatives
Susan Bickley
James Conway
Bernadette Iglich
Rae Piper
John Savournin
Rahel Vonmoos

Read about the upcoming premiere of a new digital children’s opera from ETO here.

English Touring Opera design new season of socially distanced, live performances

5th June 2020



At English Touring Opera we are working to produce a live season of lyric theatre this Autumn, touring in October and November. This programme is being designed to observe social distancing guidelines in the interest of the safety of our artists and audience.

For this reason, we have had to put aside for the moment the ambitious season of three twentieth century British operas (The Turn of the Screw, The Knot Garden and Greek) which we were scheduled to produce this Autumn. Instead we hope to create a series of lyric monodramas, made of 20th century operas and song cycles composed for solo singer and accompanist by composers such as Dominick Argento, Benjamin Britten, Francis Poulenc, Dmitri Shostakovich, and Michael Tippett. We hope to be able to bring full news of the challenging and unusual repertoire soon. The programme will feature some wonderful artists due to perform in our planned Autumn 2020 tour.

We are excited about exploring new ways to produce and tour opera and overcome the sizable challenges ahead. We expect to present work in venues well known to us and our audiences, as well as non-traditional performances venues, to reach as many people as possible, in communities that we have served across the country for decades. This new approach is designed for our longstanding, enthusiastic supporters and new audiences, whose appetite for live music has never been greater.

We have hugely enjoyed keeping music in people’s lives this spring, through our programme of digital work, curated and delivered by our freelance artists, which includes performances, insight talks, skills sharing and singing lessons and are delighted to have reached over 56,600 viewers through that programme, from across the globe, with 34 films. The overwhelming response to the programme has made us more committed than ever to bringing live music back to our towns and cities, as soon as it is safe and practical to do so.

We are grateful to all of our partners and funders with whom we will collaborate to make this season possible, not least Art Council England for their leadership and support of the sector in unprecedented times.

For live updates on English Touring Opera’s return to the stage, subscribe to our newsletter at englishtouringopera.org.uk and please enjoy our digital productions, while we prepare for our return.

If you have booked for a performance at Hackney Empire, the venue will contact you regarding your booking shortly.

Online workshops for children with SEND

30th April 2020




We warmly invite families with a child/children with disabilities and their siblings to join English Touring Opera for weekly live online music workshops at 11am on Wednesdays.

The whole family is invited to get involved in creative play exploring rhythm, sound and song. Children with ASD and PMLD are welcome.

These inclusive workshops are led by our Associate Artist in Learning & Participation, Bradley Travis, who has extensive experience creating and leading workshops for children with SEND (special educational needs and disabilities).

English Touring Opera understand the importance of education and broad experiences for every child, and we want to reach out to people in their homes at this challenging time to make music and have fun!

Weekly links:

Week 1 (29/04/20): https://bit.ly/ETOworkshopweek1 (WATCH NOW)
Week 2 (LIVE at 11am on 06/05/20): https://bit.ly/ETOworkshopweek2
Week 3 (LIVE at 11am on 13/05/20): https://bit.ly/ETOworkshopweek3
Week 4 (LIVE at 11am on 20/05/20): https://bit.ly/ETOworkshopweek4
Week 5 (LIVE at 11am on 27/05/20): https://bit.ly/ETOworkshopweek5
Week 6 (LIVE at 11am on 03/06/20): https://bit.ly/ETOworkshopweek6

If you’d like more information please click here to email Bradley Travis, or use bradley.travis@englishtouringopera.org.uk

Warm Technical - a new series of videos

29th April 2020






Dear ETO friends

Following the film version of our production of Bach’s St John Passion (which is still running after our release on Easter Sunday), and the launch of our series of filmed singing lessons for children and adults, I am writing to let you know about a new series of short films that we are putting on the ETO YouTube channel, to which I urge you to subscribe. This series of short films is curated and produced by artists and technicians who would be touring with English Touring Opera now, but who are at home like you. ETO made a commitment to pay all 67 artists for all 52 performances, so they have offered to create films about their work with ETO for us to share with you (and for you to share with everyone you know who might like to attend an ETO performance in happy times ahead). We noticed a lot of people were uploading films of lots of lovely singing and playing – and there are links on our website to our artists brilliantly doing that. Many of you have told us that what interests you is the more technical stuff: the ‘how’ of singing, playing, producing opera, explained by the ‘who’ of our opera world. For that reason, conductor Jonathan Peter Kenny is curating for us this distinctive series that we are calling ‘Warm Technical’.

Please share, and please give us your feedback. It’d be great if we could share your feedback, creating an on-line ETO community – and we can always ask your favourite presenter to follow up with another film addressing your interests. This series are all about baroque and classical music, featuring soloists, the players of the Old Street Band, and (soon) the producing team.

Warm wishes

James Conway
Artistic Director, English Touring Opera

Watch “Warm Technical” here

ETO are extending the broadcast period of Bach’s St John Passion until 10 May, following an overwhelming response.

21st April 2020


English Touring Opera are extending the broadcast period of Bach’s St John Passion until 10 May, following an overwhelming response.

Our first ever broadcast premiered with a communal listening experience on Easter Sunday. The film was part of our commitment to keeping music in the lives of people across the country, having been forced to cancel the 52 remaining performances of our Spring tour due to the Covid-19 crisis.

The footage was taken from a live performance at the Hackney Empire in March 2020 and supplemented by 90 video contributions made by professional and amateur musicians in isolation from Cumbria to Cornwall. Over 11,000 people internationally have watched the performance and the responses show that many people have been inspired to pick up old instruments again whilst in isolation and to join local choirs when restrictions ease.

Due to the strength of feeling, English Touring Opera has agreed permissions with the artists involved to extend the availability of the broadcast until Sunday 10 May.

We are also set to release more digital content in the coming weeks on our YouTube channel, including other performances; interactive insight talks and discussions; skills sharing films made by members of the orchestra, singing lessons for children and adults; and interactive sessions for people with special educational needs. These projects, along with the extended access to the St John Passion broadcast, will allow ETO to stay connected until we can tour again.

Though pleased to be keeping music in the lives of so many at such a challenging time, English Touring Opera is excited at the prospect of resuming our mission to bring high quality live opera to theatres across the country and are busy preparing our Autumn 2020 season and 2021 productions.

You can watch the St John Passion and subscribe to ETO’s YouTube channel here or join ETO’s mailing list to stay updated below.

Weekly workshops for children with SEND with Bradley Travis

15th April 2020



We warmly invite families with a child/ children with disabilities and their siblings to join English Touring Opera for weekly online music workshops.

The whole family is invited to get involved in creative play exploring rhythm, sound and song. Children with ASD and PMLD are welcome.

These inclusive workshops will be led by our Associate Artist in Learning & Participation Bradley Travis, who has extensive experience creating and leading workshops for children with SEND (special educational needs and disabilities).

English Touring Opera understand the importance of education and broad experiences for every child, and we want to reach out to people in their homes at this challenging time to make music and have fun!

If you’d like to join one of our workshops please email our Learning & Participation Producer, Jo Corrigan (jo.corrigan@englishtouringopera.org.uk) to sign up and get the link.

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

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 englishtouringopera.org.uk/support-eto/.

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







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Autumn 2020 Cast Announcement

We are happy to announce some of the fantastic artists we are excited to be working with this season. Head to our news page to discover more.

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