English Touring Opera - Upcoming events http://englishtouringopera.org.uk/productions/rss/ Upcoming events at Warwick Arts Centre en-gb <![CDATA[Zeppelin Dreams]]> English Touring Opera English Touring Opera - Wolverhampton Grand Theatre A new community opera created in partnership with Wolverhampton Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton Music Education Hub and many local groups and schools from Wolverhampton.

© Paul Pickard (Heritage Lottery Fund)

In 2013-14 English Touring Opera was delighted to return to Wolverhampton and the Wolverhampton Grand Theatre for Zeppelin Dreams, a brand new full-length opera created especially for the city. The piece explored the tragic events of 100 years ago, when the largest airship ever built, a famous Graf Zeppelin, lost in the fog and bound for the docks in Liverpool, dropped its bombs on Wolverhampton. The opera bound the present with the past, and was performed by 250 local people and ETO professionals.

This new community opera was a partnership with Wolverhampton Grand Theatre and Wolverhampton Music Education Hub. It built on the success of A House on the Moon, the community opera created with Wolverhampton Grand Theatre in 2007. For Zeppelin Dreams 12 separate groups of different ages, skills and abilities took part in a series of over 100 creative workshops that led to the three final performances at the end of March 2014. East Park and Uplands Primary Schools, two groups from Aldersley High School, Wolverhampton University, Penn Hall Special School, Azaad Dhol percussion ensemble, The Music Education Hub Orchestra, the Discoverers and WOW theatre companies, a recruited adult group, and the GET-IN theatre group made up the company. Players from the Royal Academy of Music, and three professional singers (Joseph Shovelton, Casey-Joe Rumens and Austine Broad) led the cast. We were supported by many local organisations and historians.

Rachel Leach was the composer, Tim Yealland the writer/director, and Alan and Jude Munden the designers.

A letter from a member of the audience was published in the Express and Star:

I have been going to professional productions for many years and I have to say that this “community opera” is one of the best shows I’ve ever witnessed and if you missed it then you missed a real treat. It tells the true story of the night a First World War German Zeppelin bomber dropped its bombs in the Black Country, 31st January 1916. It was a story that I previously knew nothing about and I feel all the richer now for knowing it.

The story was researched for over two years and was handled in such a moving way that you couldn’t help to feel the emotion in the theatre. However, the most incredible thing about the show was that almost all of the performers were members of local community groups. The talent that this area has hidden in its secret pockets is awe-inspiring and I am really pleased that some of those talented individuals had a chance to shine last night. The coordination and rehearsing of all these groups must have been a logistical nightmare but when it all came together on stage it was a very powerful piece and showed not only the wealth of talent in the Black Country but also the inclusive natures of ETO and the Grand Theatre. In real life there are people with disabilities; people in wheelchairs; those unable to communicate in fluent ways and some of those people were represented here and took an important role in this production.

It made me feel proud to be brought up in the Black Country and proud that this wonderful theatre encourages local community groups to get involved in the arts. I hope that ETO returns to Wolverhampton again soon with a similar project and that the few spare seats that I saw last night get filled up with Black Country folk keen to support the arts and their own heritage.

Alex Vann

We are grateful to Youth Music, the J Paul Getty Jnr Charitable Trust, the Heritage Lottery Fund and others who funded project.

Watch at home – Zeppelin Dreams book & DVD offer

If you want to recapture the magic of Zeppelin Dreams, or if you missed it completely, you can watch it in full at home with the full-length film produced by Primo.

The cost is £8.20 (including £2.50 postage and packaging), and comes with a 96-page, A4-sized souvenir book of glossy, high quality pictures from the opera and rehearsal process.

The DVD and book will also be available to buy separately through participant schools, and at an official launch event at Wolverhampton Grand Theatre on Monday 15 September.

Click the button below to buy from PayPal.

On 12 July we are delighted that Uplands and East Park Primary schools will be performing excerpts from the show as part of the Wolverhampton City Show at West Park. On 15 September the full performance will be screened at Wolverhampton Grand Theatre at 6.30pm. For more information about these events, contact Louise Bent at the Grand: louise@grandtheatre.co.uk.

2014-03-20T00:00:00 2014-03-20T00:00:00
<![CDATA[National Portrait Gallery]]> English Touring Opera English Touring Opera - National Portrait Gallery English Touring Opera and National Portrait Gallery collaborate once more to inspire brand new musical theatre composition with primary schools.

Using the National Portrait Gallery’s collection, and working in collaboration with professional musicians from English Touring Opera, primary school children aged 7-11 are introduced to a portrait, and encouraged to create words and music to perform their own piece to the public in front of the chosen portrait.

Recent feedback

“I didn’t know paintings could be so interesting!”
“I want to play piano as good as Pete when I grow up.”
“I’m going to ask my mum if we can come back to the gallery in the holidays so I can show her the painting and sing her the song.”

It was fun thinking of ideas, working in a team and looking at the portraits. The best part was making up the story. I loved the song!

Guadalupe, 10

Amazing, it was fun learning and making the song about T.S. Eliot. The best part was working and brainstorming the song. Never close down the gallery!

Niamh, 10

The workshop on Thursday was excellent – thoroughly enjoyed by children and staff. Pete pitched the work at the perfect level for our Y3-5 mixed group (I know it’s not always easy with a mixed group). The children were buzzing all the way home. We also had some parents who came to watch the performance and were really impressed too.

Teacher, Chase Bridge School

We had a fabulous time. What a really great project with terrific end results, the kids were all so thrilled with their song. Pete was inspirational. Do book us in again next year.

Teacher, St Paul’s CE Primary School

Seven years of collaboration!

2014 marks the seventh year of this remarkable collaboration between English Touring Opera and the National Portrait Gallery. Combining the visual arts, with history, literacy, and music this series of inspiring and creative workshops provides an opportunity for teachers of Key Stage 2 to deepen their pupils’ appreciation and understanding in these curriculum areas.

How does the day work?

Pictures in the collection serve as a jumping off point for new composition. The children are taken to one of the Gallery spaces, where they are introduced to a historical or contemporary portrait. Using their newfound knowledge of the portrayed character, the pupils then begin instant music-theatre composition, working with professional musicians in the workshop space to create their own original lyrics and music. The workshop lasts a full day and concludes with the children returning to the portrait in the main Gallery to perform their composition in public.

These workshops are run biannually at the National Portrait Gallery and are led by leading musicians and animateurs Paul Griffiths and Pete Letanka assisted by a range of other professional musicians.

Contact and booking details

The workshop is suitable for all Key Stage 2 classes and lasts a full day.

For more details please email Tim Yealland or Talia Lash at ETO, or call 020 7833 2555.

English Touring Opera and the National Portrait Gallery would like to acknowledge the generous support of Sarah and Geoff Roberts for this project.

2010-05-04T10:30:00 2010-09-24T10:30:00
<![CDATA[Advent Cantatas]]> English Touring Opera English Touring Opera - St Andrew Holborn, London Soloists from English Touring Opera and the Old Street Band combine with local choirs in a concert of Bach's extraordinary cantatas for Advent.

Since Advent was observed as ‘tempus clausum’ – quiet time – in many parts of Lutheran Germany, Bach composed only a small, but extraordinary, number of cantatas for the four Sundays preceding Christmas.

Soloists from English Touring Opera and the Old Street Band combine with local choirs from across the country in two contrasting and powerful settings of Martin Luther’s great chorale ‘Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland’ (‘Now come, saviour of the heathens’) written for the first Sunday of Advent, welcoming the first day of the church’s new year and calling for the arrival of Christ.

The joyful ‘Herz und Munt und Tat und Leben’ (‘Heart, mouth, deed and life’) – originally for the final Sunday of Advent and rewritten later for the feast of the Visitation – anticipates the coming of Christmas and is the original setting for the celebrated chorale ‘Jesu, joy of man’s desiring’.

Running time: 1 hour 45 minutes (including interval)


1. Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland [BWV 61]
2. Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland [BWV 62]
3. Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben [BWV 147]
4. Ärgre dich, O Seele, nicht [BWV 186a]


  • Rochester: Rochester Cathedral Choir
  • Sheffield: Sheffield Cathedral Choirs, The University of Sheffield Chamber Choir
  • Wiltshire: Cantamus Chamber Choir
  • Exeter: Gentlemen of Exeter Cathedral’s Choir, Isca Voices, Cathedral Consort
2014-10-19T18:00:00 2014-11-23T19:30:00
<![CDATA[Stepping onto the Moon]]> English Touring Opera English Touring Opera - London A series of free workshops aimed at secondary school students, exploring the world of opera and how it is produced.

ETO is offering free short secondary school workshops this autumn to accompany our productions of both Haydn’s Life on the Moon and Handel’s Ottone.

The staff director of both shows will come into schools and talk with students about the operas themselves; he will also explain how the productions have travelled from an original concept to the stage with the help of the designers’ model boxes, as well as rehearsal shots and film. Whenever possible students will look at the set itself just before curtain-up in local theatres, and then after the show they will meet a few of the singers backstage.

This is a unique opportunity to explore the real gritty world of opera and how it is produced. At the core of the experience is the chance to see two great operas in brand-new productions by ETO’s Olivier Award-winning team.

What each school gets:

  • A short workshop with an ETO director about the operas and the evolution of the productions
  • A visit onto the stage of the local theatre prior to the show (whenever possible)
  • Discounted tickets to see Haydn’s Life on the Moon or Handel’s Ottone in their local venue
  • A meeting with members of the professional cast after the show

This experience is aimed at Music or Drama GCSE or A-level groups, but would be a great experience for any keen secondary school-aged group.

For more information or to book this experience, please contact Talia Lash: talia.lash@englishtouringopera.org.uk or call 020 7833 2555.

2014-10-17T00:00:00 2014-10-17T00:00:00
<![CDATA[Life on the Moon]]> English Touring Opera English Touring Opera - Hackney Empire To trick an old miser, his daughter and her suitor convince him that he has flown to the moon – a topsy-turvy world in their control. This is Haydn at his best, with virtuoso arias and exhilarating ensembles.

Haydn’s Life on the Moon (Il mondo della luna) is a fast-moving operatic treatment of Goldoni’s classic play.

Larger-than-life characters, virtuosic playing and singing, and a witty new translation promise an evening of comedy to follow on the company’s well received 2007 production of Country Matters.

In this opera the action is transferred to the moon when a young heiress and her maid team up to teach their miserly father/master a lesson in conduct. The score includes some of Haydn’s finest vocal writing, including two wonderful, spirited, extended finales which anticipate Mozart and Beethoven.

You can get closer to our new production of Life on the Moon and learn more about eighteenth century opera by joining our House of Habsburg Production Syndicate. To find out more, please click here

Running time: 2 hours 36 minutes (including interval)

On tour with English Touring Opera

See behind the scenes of an English Touring Opera tour in this film following three of the people that make it all happen.

Music playlist

2014-10-17T19:30:00 2014-11-20T19:30:00
<![CDATA[Ottone]]> English Touring Opera English Touring Opera - Hackney Empire One of Handel's finest tragedies, Ottone is a romantic account of a 10th-century German emperor and his Byzantine bride.

Returning to that area of repertoire for which we have found such an enthusiastic audience – and critical acclaim – this season we are presenting one of Handel’s finest tragedies, taken from the decade that marked the highest achievement in opera in Britain.

Ottone, a rarely performed masterpiece, describes a bloody coup and the arrival of a Byzantine bride around the year 1000AD. The opera has a treasure trove of fantastic arias – a number of which are regularly performed in concert. One deceptively simple aria, ‘Falsa immagine’, was at first scorned by the great Italian soprano Francesca Cuzzoni – and it is reported that Handel convinced her of its genius as he leaned her out of a high window!

A chance to see the full opera in ETO’s characteristic style will be a treat for opera fans old and new.

You can get closer to our new production of Ottone and learn more about eighteenth century opera by joining our House of Hanover Production Syndicate. To find out more, please click here

Running time: 2 hours 50 minutes (incl. interval)

On tour with English Touring Opera

See behind the scenes of an English Touring Opera tour in this film following three of the people that make it all happen.

Music playlist

2014-10-18T19:30:00 2014-11-22T19:30:00
<![CDATA[Ann Murray in Concert]]> English Touring Opera English Touring Opera - West Road Concert Hall, Cambridge A benefit concert supporting English Touring Opera's work with young artists, and its live opera performances.

Ann Murray DBE is a renowned mezzo-soprano, particularly celebrated for her performances of roles by Handel, Mozart and Strauss. Her distinguished career has seen her perform all over the world, including regular performances with the Royal Opera House, Glyndebourne, The Metropolitan Opera and the Bavarian State Opera. Away from the opera stage, Ann has performed with the world’s leading orchestras and conductors in major concert halls worldwide.

For some time Ann has generously helped English Touring Opera by offering coaching to emerging artists engaged by the company. On this occasion she has agreed to sing some of her favourite arias with orchestra to benefit ETO’s work with young artists.

This is a rare opportunity to hear Ann perform in the intimate setting of West Road Concert Hall in Cambridge. She will sing music by Handel that has become strongly linked to her name, including arias from Giulio Cesare, Serse, Ariodante and Alcina. Ann will be joined in duets and arias by principal singers from ETO’s autumn season and ETO’s period orchestra partner, the Old Street Band, conducted by Jonathan Peter Kenny.

2014-10-21T20:00:00 2014-10-21T20:00:00
<![CDATA[The Siege of Calais (L'assedio di Calais)]]> English Touring Opera English Touring Opera - Hackney Empire A vocally brilliant, stirring and patriotic telling of the story of the burghers of Calais by ‘bel canto’ composer Gaetano Donizetti.

Photography: Richard Hubert Smith

Robust, virile and emotionally charged … English Touring Opera’s performance is enthralling.

4 STARS, Telegraph

Donizetti’s music always has a relentless jolliness about it… brings to mind some of the most stirring parts of Les Miserables.

4 STARS, Daily Express

Thrilling, emotive singing from mezzo Helen Sherman in the trousers role of Aurelio; from Eddie Wade as Eustachio, and from Paula Sides as Aurelio’s wife. ETO has done The Siege of Calais proud.

4 STARS, Sunday Telegraph

The Siege of Calais (L’assedio di Calais) enjoyed its first ever UK professional tour as part of ETO’s spring 2013 season, and was acclaimed as one of the company’s greatest achievements. Constructed of bel canto arias and ensembles of extraordinary quality, it tells the story of the citizens of Calais who offer up their lives to save their city from the besieging English army. Proud, fierce, exhilarating – this is history on stage, in thrilling music.

Revival, sung in Italian with English surtitles
More dates to be announced
Running time: 2 hours (incl. one 20 minute interval)

The story

Read the synopsis here.

Music playlist

ETO’s performers sing “O sacra polve, o suol natio” from the end of Act II of The Siege of Calais (recorded at Snape Maltings Concert Hall).

2015-03-07T19:30:00 2015-05-19T19:30:00
<![CDATA[Shackleton's Cat]]> English Touring Opera English Touring Opera - London A new opera in Spring 2015 for primary schools and families, based on the famous story of Antarctic survival a century ago.

Shackleton’s Cat is the latest in ETO’s award-winning strand of operas for young people. The new opera features nine performers, including singers and players, and tells the story of the voyage and destruction of the Endurance 100 years ago, and the subsequent tale of survival against all odds. The opera features an ingenious set, with maps and images from the expedition, interactive songs, a puppet cat, and comprehensive resources for teachers, compiled in partnership with the Scott Polar Research Institute in Cambridge. Curriculum topics include music, drama, geography, science, literacy and maths.

The story itself begins in 2015, when scientists measuring the alarming changes in the levels of the polar sea-ice make an astonishing discovery: the bones of a cat. They belong to Mrs Chippy, the carpenter’s cat on the Endurance, and best friend to the young Welsh stowaway Perce Blackborow. At the heart of the opera is Shackleton himself, perhaps the greatest expedition leader of all time. The opera follows the crew as they set sail from Buenos Aires to the incredible rescue after months of hardship.

The opera lasts just over an hour and is created for Key Stage 2. Two months ahead of ETO’s visit schools are sent a CD and sheet music of three songs the children join in with, as well as a comprehensive teacher’s pack, which includes information about the piece and the story, and its curriculum links. The pack contains activities for classes.

Shackleton’s Cat is created by the team behind ETO’s recent hits Laika the Spacedog and Borka.

We visit schools, libraries and small theatre venues, so if you’d like to book a performance, please contact talia.lash@englishtouringopera.org.uk or call 020 7833 2555.

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<![CDATA[Waxwings]]> English Touring Opera English Touring Opera - London A new opera for young people with learning needs in Spring 2015.

Waxwings is the latest in ETO’s acclaimed series of operas for young people with special needs. The opera is highly interactive, with lots of multi-sensory elements, and is designed to stimulate and engage with children with many different and complex needs.

The opera features beautiful new music created by Clive and Mark Ives, of the celebrated ensemble Woo Music, with live singing and playing, and lots of interactive design. The story is about flight, and takes us from the flight of the simplest insect, to the flight of birds, and finally to the story of Icarus and his wings made of wax.

The opera lasts just over 45 minutes.

For more information or to book a performance for your school, please contact talia.lash@englishtouringopera.org.uk or call 020 7833 2555.

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<![CDATA[The Wild Man of the West Indies]]> English Touring Opera English Touring Opera - Hackney Empire After his wife Eleonora is unfaithful, Cardenio flees for an island in the West Indies, where he loses his senses and his mind. ETO's new production is the first to tour on this scale anywhere in the world and the first staging in Britain in modern times.

Donizetti’s The Wild Man of the West Indies (Il furioso all’isola di San Domingo) was premiered in Rome in 1833 and became hugely successful before vanishing from the repertoire until the late 20th century. Based on an episode in Cervantes’ Don Quixote, it is a love story of Shakespearean depth set on a Caribbean island. A rare feast for both bel canto and theatre lovers, ETO’s new production is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see this opera performed live on stage at a theatre near you.

New production, sung in Italian with English surtitles
More dates to be announced

Music playlist

2015-03-12T19:30:00 2015-05-02T19:30:00
<![CDATA[La boheme]]> English Touring Opera English Touring Opera - Hackney Empire Take part in ETO's professional production of one of the greatest operas of all time.

In Spring 2015 ETO is touring a new production of Puccini’s La bohème. We are looking for 12 young singers to play the children’s chorus in the first half of the opera. There is one song for the children to learn.

We are recruiting a group of new children for each new venue. The children will be rehearsed into the show on the day of the performance.
Although their presence on stage will have fantastic profile, it will be very easy for them to fit into the production. CDs and sheet music will be sent out in advance with comprehensive instructions about what the children will be doing in the show.

There will also a be a simple pack that tells you and the children all you need to know about the story, the music, the other singers and the production.

If you’re interested in your school or group taking part, please contact talia.lash@englishtouringopera.org.uk or call
020 7833 2555. More dates to be announced.

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<![CDATA[La boheme]]> English Touring Opera English Touring Opera - Hackney Empire A group of struggling artists discover love and loss in this evening of heart-rending emotions, laughs and tears set in 19th century Paris.

La bohème is a story of young love, starting on Christmas Eve in a Parisian garret. On this festive, snowy night the lovers draw close, but poverty and ill-health force them apart. Their story is told in the most memorable music, from ‘Che gelida manina’ to the shattering brass chords announcing Mimi’s death. ETO’s new production, sung in Italian, promises to break every heart and breathe joy into the spirit of everyone who has ever wanted love.

New production, sung in Italian with English surtitles
More dates to be announced

Music playlist

2015-03-13T19:30:00 2015-05-21T19:30:00