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.

New Data Protection Policy

18th December 2017


You may be aware that new regulations will shortly be coming into force about how organisations collect and use personal data.

At English Touring Opera we process personal information for certain legitimate business purposes, which include some or all of the following:

• Where the processing enables us to enhance, modify, personalize or otherwise improve the services/communications we provide our audiences

• To better understand how people interact with our websites

• To provide postal communications which we think will be of interest to you

• To determine the effectiveness of promotional campaigns and advertising.

We hold your Personal Data Rights in high regard and, whenever we process data for these purposes, we will ensure that we always protect them.

We do not sell personal details to third parties for any purpose. We may share anonymised personal information with other organisations, particularly Arts Council England, who use this to analyse our audience development and our ticket sales and self-generated funding to assess the impact of the public investment made in English Touring Opera. We may also combine information you provide with data available from external sources in order to understand your interests, send you the most relevant communications and improve our marketing methods.

Your right to object, to correct the information we hold for you or to unsubscribe
You have the right to object to this processing if you wish. If you would like to amend the information we hold for you, or opt out from future marketing communications, please email us at or write to: Freepost ENGLISH TOURING OPERA.

Who we are
English Touring Opera is a national arts organisation registered in England and Wales (Company No. 1458501) and a registered charity regulated by the Charity Commission (Charity No. 279354). Its registered office address is Hanover House 14 Hanover Square, London, W1S 1HP. You can contact us by writing to English Touring Opera, 3rd Floor, 50 Britton Street, London, EC1M 5UP. Alternatively you can call us on 020 7833 2555 or email us by clicking here.

ETO shortlisted for international opera award for young audiences

31st August 2017

Different, our opera for audiences with special educational needs, has been nominated in the category Best Opera for a prestigious YamAward.

The awards are sponsored by Reseo, the European network for education, participation and creative learning in opera and dance. There are three other productions nominated, two from Finland and one from South Africa. The awards are announced in Porto on Monday 4 September.

You can find out more here and also vote for Different.

International Opera Award Nomination

3rd March 2016

English Touring Opera is honoured to have been nominated for two International Opera Awards in two categories: Accessibility and Rediscovered Work for its Spring 2015 production of Donizetti’s The Wild Man of the West Indies (Il furioso all’isola di San Domingo).

The jury was chaired by John Allison, editor of Opera magazine and classical music critic with The Daily Telegraph. The panel also included, among others, Joan Matabosch, Artistic Director of Teatro Real, Madrid, Nicholas Payne, Director of Opera Europa, Sebastian Schwarz, General Director of Glyndebourne, Hugh Canning, chief music critic for the The Sunday Times, George Hall, music and opera critic for Guardian and The Stage, and George Loomis, opera and classical music writer for Opera, International New York Times, The Financial Times and other publications.

These nominations are a recognition of ETO’s commitment to bringing the best quality opera to as many audiences as possible across the UK, and follow ETO’s Olivier Award win in 2014 for Outstanding Achievement in Opera for two other productions of rare works: Britten’s Paul Bunyan and Tippet’s King Priam.

Iqbal Kahn, who directed The Wild Man of the West Indies, said: “It was a privilege to be asked by James Conway [ETO’s General Director] to direct this compelling and neglected work. Donizetti, with Cardenio, has created one of the most intriguingly drawn roles for baritone, and, in the slave Kaidamà, has surely left us the first sympathetic portrait of a black man in opera, satiric and subversive. In my opinion it is a surprising, beautifully composed and dramaturgically complex masterwork”.

ETO continues its accessibility mission, touring three outstanding operas this season: Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Gluck’s Iphigénie en Tauride, and the UK stage premiere of Donizetti’s Pia de’ Tolomei. Alongside its main stage shows, ETO will also be touring two new operas written for children: the award-winning Laika the Spacedog (for children aged 7-11) and Dust Child, an opera composed for children with ASD and special educational needs.

The winners will be announced at a ceremony in central London on Sunday 15 May. To vote in the Readers’ Award please go to the International Opera Awards website


Help Laika fly again with the Big Give

27th November 2015

ETO is thrilled to have been chosen to participate again in the Big Give Christmas Challenge on Friday 4 and Saturday 5 December 2015.

This year we’re aiming to raise £10,000 in order to revive our award winning production of Laïka, the Spacedog, which was last seen in schools, libraries and theatres around the UK in 2013.

The Big Give Christmas Challenge is a time-sensitive, online matched funding opportunity set up by Sir Alec Reed and The Reed Foundation. Every online donation we receive during the Challenge, from £5 to £5,000, could be doubled, but you’ll have to be quick!

How to Support ETO via the Big Give

Please visit ETO’s project page on the Big Give website. Matched funding will be available from 12 noon on Friday 4 and Saturday 5 December but it’s not unlimited, so if you want to make a donation in support of opera for children then please make sure you’ve got your timing right and visit the page as close to 12pm as possible.

If you would like to learn more about our exciting programme of opera for young people please visit the ETO Education page. If you’d like to learn more about the first dog in space, or watch a full-length film of this exciting production, please visit our Laïka, the Spacedog page. Finally, if you have any questions about the Big Give or supporting ETO please do not hesitate to contact Kate Eberwein on 020 7833 2555 or via email on

Under 30? Help ETO build the audience for live opera - and get a free ticket!

2nd November 2015

ETO is undertaking research with the Guildhall School of Music & Drama looking at how additional materials, such as videos, pre-show talks and podcasts, can enhance audience experience of opera.

We need opera goers under the age of 30 to take part in one of two focus groups in London on the following dates:

Session 1: Monday 9th November, 6.30pm – 8pm
Session 2: Thursday 19th November, 7pm – 8.30pm

If you’d like to attend, you will be entitled to two free tickets for one of the performances in ETO’s March 2016 season at Hackney Empire – Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Donizetti’s Pia de’ Tolomei, or Gluck’s Iphigenie en Tauride.

If you are interested, please email Genevieve Arkle at stating which of the two sessions below you would be able to attend. The discussion groups will be taking place at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, very close to Barbican tube station.

This research is part of the joint ETO/ GSMD project funded by Creativeworks London’s BOOST programme.

ETO wins £25K Creativeworks London award

1st July 2015

ETO has won a £25,000 award from Creativeworks London to explore how the audience experience of live opera and audience engagement with the art form can be enhanced.

The award, which has been made jointly to a team from ETO and Guildhall School of Music & Drama, was announced yesterday evening (30 June), after seven teams took part in a competitive ‘Dragon’s Den’ style pitch process to industry experts.

ETO and Guildhall School plan to use the award to fund new research into how opera-goers see the live art form, with help from partners at Hackney Empire and Mousetrap Theatre Projects. The research results will then in turn inform the development of new digital or non-digital enhancements to future ETO performances.

During the pitching process yesterday, each team was invited to individually pitch their ideas to a judging panel of six experts including Chris Moore (UK Trade & Investment), Vicky-Marie Gibbons (Bethnal Green Ventures) and Steve Legg (IBM Corporation).

ETO was one of two BOOST winners announced yesterday, with another £25,000 prize also awarded jointly to the June Givanni Pan African Cinema Archive & Birkbeck, University of London.

ETO Head of Marketing John Holmes, who made the pitch to the panel, said: ‘Finding ways to engage with our audiences all-year-round is a major priority for English Touring Opera, especially as quirks in data protection legislation mean we often don’t get to know who our audience members actually are.’

He added: ‘The expertise of Guildhall School, funded through Creativeworks London, gives us the opportunity to tackle this problem meaningfully. Having experienced researchers actually asking audience members how their engagement with opera could be enhanced, rather than embarking on expensive digital projects for which there is no appetite, is of immeasurable benefit for a company with finite resources such as ourselves.’

Professor John Sloboda, Director of the Guildhall School’s Understanding Audiences Programme, said: ‘Guildhall School is pleased to be able to offer its research expertise to a collaborative project with a valued partner which will both allow new intellectual insights into London audiences for opera, and provide information which will be of genuine business value for ETO’.

Creativeworks London is a research hub set up specifically to bring together London’s creative industries with its research community. The hub brings together 38 London-based universities, colleges, museums, libraries and archives, exploring areas such as entrepreneurial development, emerging markets, new ways of engaging London’s diverse audiences, and the development of digital resources and media content.

BOOST is a follow on award available to SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) and researchers who have previously benefited from Creativeworks London funding. The award scheme aims to provide support to such organisations to further develop or commercialise their ideas through collaborative research projects, with an overall aim of making a positive impact on London’s creative economy.

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