Borka the Goose with No Feathers

A new opera based on the classic children’s book by John Burningham (published by Jonathan Cape).

Borka is one of the most well-known and loved of all children’s books. Written by John Burningham in 1963, this new opera for children aged 3–7 celebrates the book’s 50th anniversary. Music, design, acting and puppetry tell the story of the goose with no feathers who tries to learn to fly and to swim, is abandoned by her friends, and is finally rescued and taken by boat to Kew Gardens. The story is about being different, and about how that is not such a bad thing.

It was fantastic! What a lovely way to introduce opera to young children. They loved it! The show was pitched very well for young children and most of them were able to understand the concept of accepting each other for what and how we are. I think they will be much more excited to hear music from different genres and will be willing to explore using singing and movement in their own role-play.

Teacher, Queensbridge Primary School

The opera lasts just under an hour, and is performed by 8 artists, including players, singers and puppeteers. The magical design keeps to the spirit of John Burningham’s paintings, and brings the haunting world of the book to life on stage. The piece includes interaction with the audience, and participatory songs. Borka is suitable for small theatre venues and for school halls. The music is by Russell Hepplewhite, the new lyrics and direction are by Tim Yealland, and the design is by Jude Munden. There is also a pack available for schools.

ETO won the PRS David Bedford Award for this strand of work in 2012, and Borka continues a long line of such operas for children, including, in the last two years, In the Belly of the Horse, The Feathered Ogre, Spin and Laika the Spacedog.

Borka is available from the beginning of March until the end of May 2014, and tours to all of ETO’s touring venues in Spring 2014. For schools in London, we are delighted to be able to host four special performances at Kew Gardens on 20-21 March, so children can enjoy the opera as part of a day out in the botanical gardens and see if they can spot Borka and her friends!

To book Borka, or for more information, please contact talia.lash@englishtouringopera.org.uk or 020 7833 2555.

—————
Supported by Arts Council England’s Strategic Touring Fund

We are grateful to Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, for their input into this production.

“Borka” is based on Borka: The Adventures of a Goose with No Feathers by John Burningham, published by Jonathan Cape.

Showing At

  1. Queensbridge and de Beauvoir Schools, London
    6th Mar 2014 - 12:00 pm
  2. Reay Primary School, London
    7th Mar 2014 - 2:15 pm
  3. Bosvigo School, Truro
    11th Mar 2014 - 12:00 pm
  4. Cheselbourne Village School
    14th Mar 2014 - 10:45 am
  5. Poole
    15th Mar 2014 - 12:00 pm
  6. Kew Gardens, London (SOLD OUT)
    20th Mar 2014 - 11:00 am
  7. Kew Gardens, London (SOLD OUT)
    20th Mar 2014 - 1:00 pm
  8. Kew Gardens, London (SOLD OUT)
    21st Mar 2014 - 11:00 am
  9. Kew Gardens, London (SOLD OUT)
    21st Mar 2014 - 1:00 pm
  10. Southwold Primary School
    28th Mar 2014 - 12:00 pm
  11. Britten Studio, Snape Maltings
    29th Mar 2014 - 3:00 pm
  12. Winchcombe Abbey Primary School, Cheltenham
    3rd Apr 2014 - 1:45 pm
  13. Bournville Primary School, Weston-super-Mare
    4th Apr 2014 - 1:00 pm
  14. Braunstone Frith Primary School, Leicester
    7th Apr 2014 - 2:00 pm
  15. Holy Cross Catholic Primary School, Leicester
    8th Apr 2014 - 10:45 am
  16. Hasland Infant and Nursery School, Derbyshire
    11th Apr 2014 - 12:00 pm
  17. Riverside Library Heritage and Arts, Rotherham
    12th Apr 2014 - 1:30 pm
  18. Acomb Explore Library, York
    16th Apr 2014 - 11:00 am
  19. Strood Library, Rochester
    23rd Apr 2014 - 10:30 am
  20. Strood Library, Rochester
    23rd Apr 2014 - 1:00 pm
  21. Arden Grove Infant and Nursery School, Norwich
    25th Apr 2014 - 1:30 pm
  22. G Live Guildford
    29th Apr 2014 - 2:00 pm
  23. St Saviour's Primary School, Waltham Forest
    30th Apr 2014 - 10:00 am
  24. St Mary's Primary School, London
    30th Apr 2014 - 2:15 pm
  25. Southbank International School, London (Kensington)
    1st May 2014 - 10:00 am
  26. Vera Fletcher Hall, Thames Ditton
    2nd May 2014 - 11:00 am
  27. Vera Fletcher Hall, Thames Ditton
    2nd May 2014 - 2:00 pm
  28. Sydenham Primary School, Leamington Spa
    8th May 2014 - 1:15 pm
  29. Wellesbourne School, Warwickshire
    9th May 2014 - 10:30 am
  30. Warwick Arts Centre
    10th May 2014 - 1:30 pm
  31. Highweek School, Devon
    13th May 2014 - 1:30 pm
  32. Newton Poppleford Primary School, Devon
    14th May 2014 - 1:30 pm
  33. St Leonard's Primary School, Exeter
    15th May 2014 - 1:30 pm
  34. Ladysmith Nursery and Infant School, Exeter
    16th May 2014 - 10:30 am
  35. Ladysmith Nursery and Infant School, Exeter
    16th May 2014 - 1:30 pm
  36. Harton Primary School, South Shields
    20th May 2014 - 1:30 pm
  37. March Library, Cambridgeshire
    28th May 2014 - 11:00 am
  38. Huntingdon Library, Cambridgeshire
    30th May 2014 - 1:30 pm
  1. Queensbridge and de Beauvoir Schools, London — 6th Mar 2014 - 12:00 pm

    80 Tottenham Road, London, N1 4BS

  2. Reay Primary School, London — 7th Mar 2014 - 2:15 pm

    Hackford Road, London, SW9 0EN

  3. Bosvigo School, Truro — 11th Mar 2014 - 12:00 pm

    Chapel Hill, Truro, TR1 3BJ

  4. Cheselbourne Village School — 14th Mar 2014 - 10:45 am

    Cheselbourne, Dorchester, Dorset, DT2 7NT

  5. Poole — 15th Mar 2014 - 12:00 pm

    BH15 1UG

  6. Kew Gardens, London (SOLD OUT) — 20th Mar 2014 - 11:00 am

    Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, London, TW9 3AB

  7. Kew Gardens, London (SOLD OUT) — 20th Mar 2014 - 1:00 pm

    Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, London, TW9 3AB

  8. Kew Gardens, London (SOLD OUT) — 21st Mar 2014 - 11:00 am

    Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, London, TW9 3AB

  9. Kew Gardens, London (SOLD OUT) — 21st Mar 2014 - 1:00 pm

    Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, London, TW9 3AB

  10. Southwold Primary School — 28th Mar 2014 - 12:00 pm

    Cumberland Road, Southwold, Suffolk, IP18 6JP

  11. Britten Studio, Snape Maltings — 29th Mar 2014 - 3:00 pm

    IP17 1SP

  12. Winchcombe Abbey Primary School, Cheltenham — 3rd Apr 2014 - 1:45 pm

    Cheltenham, GL54 5PZ

  13. Bournville Primary School, Weston-super-Mare — 4th Apr 2014 - 1:00 pm

    Selworthy Road, Weston-super-Mare, North Somerset, BS23 3ST

  14. Braunstone Frith Primary School, Leicester — 7th Apr 2014 - 2:00 pm

    Liberty Road, Leicester, LE3 6NN

  15. Holy Cross Catholic Primary School, Leicester — 8th Apr 2014 - 10:45 am

    Stonesby Avenue, Leicester, LE2 6TY

  16. Hasland Infant and Nursery School, Derbyshire — 11th Apr 2014 - 12:00 pm

    Eyre Street East, Hasland, Chesterfield, S41 0PE

  17. Riverside Library Heritage and Arts, Rotherham — 12th Apr 2014 - 1:30 pm

    Main Street, Rotherham, S60 1AE

  18. Acomb Explore Library, York — 16th Apr 2014 - 11:00 am

    Front Street, York, YO24 3BZ

  19. Strood Library, Rochester — 23rd Apr 2014 - 10:30 am

    32 Bryant Road, Strood, Rochester, ME2 3EP

  20. Strood Library, Rochester — 23rd Apr 2014 - 1:00 pm

    32 Bryant Road, Strood, Rochester, ME2 3EP

  21. Arden Grove Infant and Nursery School, Norwich — 25th Apr 2014 - 1:30 pm

    Cottinghams Drive, Hellesdon, Norwich, NR6 6QA

  22. G Live Guildford — 29th Apr 2014 - 2:00 pm

    London Road, Guildford, GU1 2AA

  23. St Saviour's Primary School, Waltham Forest — 30th Apr 2014 - 10:00 am

    33 Verulam Avenue, London, E17 8ER

  24. St Mary's Primary School, London — 30th Apr 2014 - 2:15 pm

    Brooke Road, Walthamstow, London, NW2 1SL

  25. Southbank International School, London (Kensington) — 1st May 2014 - 10:00 am

    36-38 Kensington Park Road, London, W11 3BU

  26. Vera Fletcher Hall, Thames Ditton — 2nd May 2014 - 11:00 am

    4 Embercourt Road, Thames Ditton, Surrey, KT7 0LQ

  27. Vera Fletcher Hall, Thames Ditton — 2nd May 2014 - 2:00 pm

    4 Embercourt Road, Thames Ditton, Surrey, KT7 0LQ

  28. Sydenham Primary School, Leamington Spa — 8th May 2014 - 1:15 pm

    Sydenham, Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, CV31 1SA

  29. Wellesbourne School, Warwickshire — 9th May 2014 - 10:30 am

    Mountford Close, Wellesbourne, Warwickshire, CV35 9QG

  30. Warwick Arts Centre — 10th May 2014 - 1:30 pm

    University of Warwick, Coventry, CV4 7AL

  31. Highweek School, Devon — 13th May 2014 - 1:30 pm

    Coronation Road, Newton Abbot, TQ12 1TX

  32. Newton Poppleford Primary School, Devon — 14th May 2014 - 1:30 pm

    School Lane, Newton Poppleford, Sidmouth, EX10 0EL

  33. St Leonard's Primary School, Exeter — 15th May 2014 - 1:30 pm

    St Leonard's Road, Exeter, EX2 4NQ

  34. Ladysmith Nursery and Infant School, Exeter — 16th May 2014 - 10:30 am

    Ladysmith Road, Exeter, EX1 2PS

  35. Ladysmith Nursery and Infant School, Exeter — 16th May 2014 - 1:30 pm

    Ladysmith Road, Exeter, EX1 2PS

  36. Harton Primary School, South Shields — 20th May 2014 - 1:30 pm

    East Avenue, South Shields, NE34 6PF

  37. March Library, Cambridgeshire — 28th May 2014 - 11:00 am

    City Road, March, PE15 9LT

  38. Huntingdon Library, Cambridgeshire — 30th May 2014 - 1:30 pm

    Princes Street, Huntingdon, PE29 3PA

Cast

Abigail Kelly

Abigail Kelly

Having initially trained at Birmingham Conservatoire, Abigail completed her operatic studies at the RCS. Performances with ETO include Naiad Rusalka, Cobweb A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Despina Cosi fan tutte. As a recitalist Abigail has performed with Opera South Africa and the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra as well as solo recitals at St John Smith Square and across the Caribbean. Abigail’s work includes roles in many children’s operas including the award winning Laika the Spacedog. Abigail is grateful to the Peter Moores Foundation, English Touring Opera and Chris Ball for bursaries to further her professional development.

Emily-Jane Thomas

Emily-Jane Thomas

Cardiff-born Emily-Jane trained at GSMD under Yvonne Kenny. She also studied at Hochschule für Musik und Theater, Hamburg and was a young artist on ENO’s ‘Opera Works’.
Roles include Second Fairy/Second Woman The Fairy Queen (Glyndebourne and BBC Proms, William Christie, Laurence Cummings, OAE), Cis Albert Herring (Steuart Bedford, BBC Symphony Orchestra), Juliet The Little Sweep (S4C), understudy Flora The Turn of the Screw (ON) and Zerlina Don Giovanni (Bahrain under Orlando Jopling).
Concert engagements include Mahler’s Fourth Symphony, Handel’s Messiah under Sarah Walker and Haydn’s Creation under Sir David Willcocks.
Previously for ETO, Emily-Jane sang Cis Albert Herring.

Susan Moore

Susan Moore

SPRING 2014 – THE MAGIC FLUTE
The role of Third Lady will be sung by Ms Susan Moore for the following performances: London (8 March), Poole (13 March), Cheltenham (3 April), Sheffield (11 April), Coventry (9, 10 May), Exeter (14, 15 May), Durham (19 May), Perth (22 May), and Cambridge (29 May).

Susan Moore studied at TCM and now works privately with Susan McCulloch. Recent roles include Valentina in Laika the Spacedog, Filipyevna (cover) Eugene Onegin and Mrs Herring (cover) Albert Herring (ETO); Suzuki Madame Butterfly (Opera Brava); Florence Pike Albert Herring (Surrey Opera); Katisha The Mikado (Charles Court Opera); Marcellina Le nozze di Figaro (LFO); Widow Browe Peter the Great (Opera South) and Mrs Partlet The Sorcerer (Opera della Luna). Susan recently premiered her narrated recital programme What is Life?, a celebration of contralto Kathleen Ferrier. She also continues to develop and run opera workshops for Opera Minima and Streetwise Opera.

Helen Johnson

Helen Johnson

Helen studied her PG Diploma at TCM and is represented by Steven Swales.
Opera roles include Azucena Trovatore, Annina Traviata (Dorset Opera); Larina Onegin (Stanley Hall); Bianca Lucretia, Marcellina Figaro (Opera East); Jezibaba Rusalka (Iford); Marguerite Faust (Pigotts); Mrs Goodbody Parson’s Pirates (Opera Della Luna).
For ETO Helen has sung Kolusina Jenůfa, Filipyevna Onegin, Feklusha Katya Kabanova, Clotilde Norma; covered Larina Onegin, Giovanna Seymour Anna Bolena, Kabanicha Katya Kabanova, Frugola Tabarro and Agnes Fantastic Mr Fox.
In 2008 Helen was a Wagner Society Bayreuth Bursary Competition Finalist.
Future engagements include Mozart Requiem, Coventry Philharmonic Choir, Mezzo Soloist, June 2014.

Stuart Haycock

Stuart Haycock

Australian-born tenor Stuart Haycock studied in Sydney and RAM. Engagements include Goro Madame Butterfly (MWO/New Devon Opera), Bardolph Falstaff (MWO), Don Curzio Le nozze di Figaro (Garsington), Borsa Rigoletto and Gastone La Traviata (Iford Arts Festival), Ferrando Così fan tutte (English Chamber Opera), Parpignol La Boheme (Longborough), Mole Fantastic Mr Fox, Giovanni D’aire L’assedio di Calais, Captain Simon Boccanegra, Lucano L’incoronazione di Poppea and Demus Jason (ETO), Triquet Eugene Onegin and Beppe Pagliacci (Stanley Hall Opera), St Brioche The Merry Widow (Opera Project). He has covered roles in The Tales of Hoffmann, Wolfgang Rihm’s Jacob Lenz, Martinu’s Julietta and Vaughan Williams’s The Pilgrim’s Progress for ENO.

Matt R J Ward

Matt R J Ward

Matt is a recent graduate of RCM, where he studied with Justin Lavender supported by the RCM Yvonne Wells Award. Roles at RCM include Arnalta in L’incoronazione di Poppea, Frick in La Vie Parisienne, Don Curzio in Le nozze di Figaro and Messenger in The Life to Come (libretto and direction by Stephen Fry). Other roles include Mercury in Orpheus in the Underworld, Nanki-Poo (cover) in The Mikado, The Rector (cover) in Peter Grimes (West Australian Opera Company), Laurie in Little Women, Le Chevalier in Dialogues of the Carmelites, and Flute in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (West Australian Academy of Performing Arts). www.mattrjward.com

Maciek O'Shea

Maciek O'Shea

The role of Masetto will be sung by Mr Maciek O’Shea for the following performances: Stoke-on-Trent (6 June), Ulverston (8 June) and Carlisle (10 June).

Maciek studied History at UCL and voice at GSMD. Operatic engagements include: Don Giovanni Don Giovanni (Opera Up Close) Mr Fox Fantastic Mr Fox (Opera Holland Park), Crebillon/Rabonier La Rondine (OHP), Mars Orpheus in the Underworld (OHP), Fiorello Il barbiere di Siviglia (Hand Made Opera), Roger Ciboulette (University College Opera). Previous roles with ETO include: Korolev/Nikolai Laika the Spacedog, Zaretsky Eugene Onegin, Farmer Bean Fantastic Mr Fox, Dr Spinelloccio Gianni Schicchi, Theseus covered and played Midsummer Night’s Dream, First Priest & Second Armed Man covered and played Magic Flute, Gamekeeper Rusalka, Zuniga La tragedie de Carmen.

Johnny Herford

Johnny Herford

Johnny Herford won the Song Prize at the 2013 Kathleen Ferrier Awards, and the Jean Meikle Duo Prize at the 2013 Wigmore Hall International Song Competition. Born in London, he grew up in Oxfordshire and sang as a treble in New College Choir. He studied at Cambridge University and RAM, under Mark Wildman. He is a Samling scholar and Britten-Pears Young Artist, and currently studies with Russell Smythe.
He has sung principal roles in operas by Judith Weir, Jonathan Dove, Kim Ashton and Danyal Dhondy, and in Sir Peter Maxwell Davies’ Kommilitonen. Other operatic performances have included The Magic Flute (Papageno), Albert Herring (Sid), and The Merry Widow (Danilo).
He is grateful to the Sickle Foundation for their generous support.

Came with my nearly 4-year-old son to see Borka – absolutely brilliantly done – very inspiring and fun for children and adults alike. Please give us more of this! So important to engage with the community like this and put fire into young minds!

Parent, March Library

I couldn’t believe my eyes, it was the best thing I have ever seen.

Ruby, 6

When I saw the opera, it nearly made me faint with joy.

Thomas, 7

It was magical. The children’s faces were a joy to watch. They loved the way opera told the story and they especially enjoyed the two songs they were able to join in with. All week they have had the story read to them and all week they have been learning the words to two songs. It is all about getting the children to be totally immersed in the arts. Through doing this, the work prior to and after such an amazing experience is always of a higher standard. Children need to be inspired, if they are, then the work they produce is always better.

Daniel Thrower, Headteacher, Arden Grove School, Norwich

It was fantastic! What a lovely way to introduce opera to young children. They loved it! The show was pitched very well for young children and most of them were able to understand the concept of accepting each other for what and how we are. I think they will be much more excited to hear music from different genres and will be willing to explore using singing and movement in their own role-play.

Teacher, Queensbridge Primary School

I’m writing to pass on Bosvigo’s thanks and appreciation for an absolutely wonderful afternoon,. The children were mesmerised and enthused and went home talking about ‘the best show ever’! Thank you all so much – something the children will not forget, I am sure.

Teacher, Bosvigo School

A is for Annoying Archie and B is for Brilliant, Beautiful Borka.

Edie, 7

All I want to say is that it was brilliant.

Kallen, 7

The best bit was when the egg hatched. I liked it when they went to London.

Jemima, 5

The teachers’ pack was excellent, very useful for ideas… It could be a whole week’s work. Thank you! Teachers and children had a great time!

Y2 teacher, Reay Primary School

It was a lovely performance. The children particularly enjoyed the comedy scenes – the men with the short legs, the bird laying eggs. They also liked it when the bird puppet swooped over their heads. They children enjoyed the singing, music and visual aspect (set design). Thank you – it was a lovely experience!

Y3 teacher

Showing At

  1. Queensbridge and de Beauvoir Schools, London
    6th Mar 2014 - 12:00 pm
  2. Reay Primary School, London
    7th Mar 2014 - 2:15 pm
  3. Bosvigo School, Truro
    11th Mar 2014 - 12:00 pm
  4. Cheselbourne Village School
    14th Mar 2014 - 10:45 am
  5. Poole
    15th Mar 2014 - 12:00 pm
  6. Kew Gardens, London (SOLD OUT)
    20th Mar 2014 - 11:00 am
  7. Kew Gardens, London (SOLD OUT)
    20th Mar 2014 - 1:00 pm
  8. Kew Gardens, London (SOLD OUT)
    21st Mar 2014 - 11:00 am
  9. Kew Gardens, London (SOLD OUT)
    21st Mar 2014 - 1:00 pm
  10. Southwold Primary School
    28th Mar 2014 - 12:00 pm
  11. Britten Studio, Snape Maltings
    29th Mar 2014 - 3:00 pm
  12. Winchcombe Abbey Primary School, Cheltenham
    3rd Apr 2014 - 1:45 pm
  13. Bournville Primary School, Weston-super-Mare
    4th Apr 2014 - 1:00 pm
  14. Braunstone Frith Primary School, Leicester
    7th Apr 2014 - 2:00 pm
  15. Holy Cross Catholic Primary School, Leicester
    8th Apr 2014 - 10:45 am
  16. Hasland Infant and Nursery School, Derbyshire
    11th Apr 2014 - 12:00 pm
  17. Riverside Library Heritage and Arts, Rotherham
    12th Apr 2014 - 1:30 pm
  18. Acomb Explore Library, York
    16th Apr 2014 - 11:00 am
  19. Strood Library, Rochester
    23rd Apr 2014 - 10:30 am
  20. Strood Library, Rochester
    23rd Apr 2014 - 1:00 pm
  21. Arden Grove Infant and Nursery School, Norwich
    25th Apr 2014 - 1:30 pm
  22. G Live Guildford
    29th Apr 2014 - 2:00 pm
  23. St Saviour's Primary School, Waltham Forest
    30th Apr 2014 - 10:00 am
  24. St Mary's Primary School, London
    30th Apr 2014 - 2:15 pm
  25. Southbank International School, London (Kensington)
    1st May 2014 - 10:00 am
  26. Vera Fletcher Hall, Thames Ditton
    2nd May 2014 - 11:00 am
  27. Vera Fletcher Hall, Thames Ditton
    2nd May 2014 - 2:00 pm
  28. Sydenham Primary School, Leamington Spa
    8th May 2014 - 1:15 pm
  29. Wellesbourne School, Warwickshire
    9th May 2014 - 10:30 am
  30. Warwick Arts Centre
    10th May 2014 - 1:30 pm
  31. Highweek School, Devon
    13th May 2014 - 1:30 pm
  32. Newton Poppleford Primary School, Devon
    14th May 2014 - 1:30 pm
  33. St Leonard's Primary School, Exeter
    15th May 2014 - 1:30 pm
  34. Ladysmith Nursery and Infant School, Exeter
    16th May 2014 - 10:30 am
  35. Ladysmith Nursery and Infant School, Exeter
    16th May 2014 - 1:30 pm
  36. Harton Primary School, South Shields
    20th May 2014 - 1:30 pm
  37. March Library, Cambridgeshire
    28th May 2014 - 11:00 am
  38. Huntingdon Library, Cambridgeshire
    30th May 2014 - 1:30 pm

Your Comments

  1. I am a volunteer at Kew Gardens and helped out with the children at the performances there last week.Just want to say that I thought the Borka opera was brilliant. Loved that the children knew the songs. And thought the puppets and costumes and scenery fabulous. So in the spirit of the book. And when the 'reeds ' were turned around, the thrill of all those flowers. Such a good ' advert' for Kew.
    Marvellous.

    Said Sally Caldecott at 20:11pm on 28th Mar 2014

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