Laika the Spacedog takes a trip to Avignon

11th November 2013

Laika the Spacedog , English Touring Opera’s multi-award-winning opera for young people, is to be performed in one of France’s most prestigious opera houses, the Opéra Grand in Avignon this December.

The performance takes place in the opera house’s main hall, the Grande Salle, on Wednesday 4 December 2013 at 8.30pm, and comes after Laika won two awards for Best Production at the Armel Opera Festival in Szeged, Hungary on Tuesday 15 October, beating productions of operas including Stravinsky’s Oedipus Rex and Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra.

One of these awards, the International Jury Prize for Best Production, brought with it the further prize of a chance to perform Laika at Avignon.

The performance this December reunites the cast who performed in Szeged, including singers Nicholas Rigas and Sarah Laulan, who were competitors in their own right at the Armel Festival.

They are joined by regular ETO singers Edward Lee, Abigail Kelly and Maciek O’Shea. Edward and Abigail reprise their roles in the performances of Laika at Szeged, and Maciek takes on the role of puppeteer.

Laika the Spacedog tells the story of the Russian mongrel, discovered in Gorky Park in Moscow in 1957, who was destined to become the first animal in orbit.

The show opened in January 2013 at London’s Science Museum, before touring to schools and theatres across England alongside ETO’s full-length Spring 2013 operas, with a cast of singers drawn from the company’s main-stage shows.

The opera was awarded the PRS David Bedford Music Education Award in 2013 as an exceptional music education project.

Tickets to the performance at Avignon on Wednesday 4 December start from €5 and can be booked here (French-language website).

The performance of Laika the Spacedog at the Armel Opera Festival was streamed live on French channel ARTE – the video is still available to watch again and can be viewed here

ETO is now preparing a new opera for young audiences in spring 2014 called Borka, the Goose with No Feathers, which opens in March 2014 and includes four special performances at Kew Gardens.

The production is based on the book Borka: The Adventures Of A Goose With No Feathers by John Burningham, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.

To find out how you can play a vital role in making Borka come to life, please click here

For more information on Laika the Spacedog or Borka, the Goose with No Feathers call Talia Lash at ETO on 020 7833 2555 or email her at

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