English Touring Opera - Upcoming events http://englishtouringopera.org.uk/productions/rss/ Upcoming events at Warwick Arts Centre en-gb <![CDATA[Turtle Song]]> English Touring Opera English Touring Opera - Fairfield Halls, Croydon An opportunity for people with Alzheimer's or dementia to sing and compose their own songs with professional musicians. The project is a collaboration with Turtle Key Arts and the Royal College of Music.

Turtle Song is our well-known project for people with Alzheimer’s and all forms of dementia and their carers and companions. It continues and flourishes this autumn and next spring with projects in Croydon, West London and Oxford.

The project is a partnership with Turtle Key Arts and the Royal College of Music.

The participants meet once a week for ten weeks, and with the help of professional musicians and music students, write the lyrics and compose the music for their own song cycle, ending in a live performance for friends and family which is recorded as a DVD.

Turtle Song encourages artistic and social interaction, a positive outlook through an enjoyable and shared activity and gives the brain and body a bit of stimulating exercise. It also helps to enhance the professional development of the music students who take part in the project

Since the first Turtle Song at the Royal College of Music, London in 2008 it has been introduced in Cambridge, Wolverhampton, Dulwich, Suffolk, Oxford, Stockton-on-Tees, Leeds, Norwich, Croydon, Reading and Newbury; there are now on average three held each year.

Free to all participants. Turtle Song is an English Touring Opera, Royal College of Music and Turtle Key Arts collaboration.

Our Croydon project is led by composer Ruairi Glasheen and director Anna Jewitt, supported by students from the Brit School. The performance is at the Fairfield Halls on 2 December.

The project in Oxford is led by composer Jon Petter and director Carolyn von Stumm, assisted by music students from Oxford University. The performance is in the Jaqueline du Pre Music Building in St Hilda’s College on 18 March.

The West London project is led by composer John Barber and director Hazel Gould, with students from the RCM. The performance is in the Royal College of Music Concert Hall on 22 March.

If you, or a friend or partner, are interested in taking part in the project please contact Charlotte Cunningham at Turtle Key Arts on 020 8964 5060, charlotte@turtlekeyarts.org.uk or Tim Yealland at English Touring Opera on 020 7833 2555, tim.yealland@englishtouringopera.org.uk.

Special thanks to The Henry Smith Charity, Mark Armitage, C.A. Redfern Charitable Foundation and Scouloudi Foundation.

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<![CDATA[Iphigenie en Tauride]]> English Touring Opera English Touring Opera - Hackney Empire When Oreste is shipwrecked on the island of Tauride, the king Thoas demands he be sacrificed. At the center of the drama is Iphigénie: forced to live among her enemies, she holds Oreste's life in her hands - unaware that he is her brother.

© Richard Hubert Smith

One of the most refined and perfect of operas, Iphigénie en Tauride is a stark, beautiful account of the meeting of Iphigenia and Orestes, children of Agamemnon, in the aftermath of the Trojan War.

Snatched from human sacrifice by a goddess at the outset of the war, Iphigenia (Catherine Carby) is Diana’s priestess at Aulis, where her instructions are to sacrifice all strangers. Led there by fate is the brother (Grant Doyle) she can hardly remember, fresh from the family bloodbath back home.

With characters like gods, and a goddess like a child, Gluck’s opera is an eloquent, heart-wrenching masterpiece.

New production, sung in French with English surtitles

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<![CDATA[Pia de' Tolomei]]> English Touring Opera English Touring Opera - Hackney Empire Ghino has fallen in love with Pia, wife of his cousin Nello. When she refuses his love, as revenge Ghino informs Nello that he has discovered a secret message proving that Pia has an adulterous relation.

Photographer: Johan Persson

Donizetti’s rarely performed Pia de’ Tolomei is drawn from an episode in Dante’s Divine Comedy in which a noblewoman is locked in a tower in the Maremma by her jealous husband, whose heart has been poisoned by a friend and kinsman – whose advances the innocent wife had rejected.

The characters are drawn with extraordinary intensity, and the two men in particular are reminiscent of Iago and Othello. This production, performed by an exceptional cast, should be a very special event.

New production, sung in Italian with English surtitles

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<![CDATA[Don Giovanni]]> English Touring Opera English Touring Opera - Hackney Empire Don Giovanni, a Spanish nobleman, travels through Europe seducing women, accompanied by his long-suffering servant Leporello. When his actions lead to murder, he unleashes vengeance from beyond the grave.

Is Don Giovanni a hero who defies all authority, or an amoral faker, a rapist and a murderer? To whichever conclusion you are pulled by the first, immortal bars of the score, every performance of Mozart and Da Ponte’s masterpiece is a musical and dramatic whirlwind, culminating in a supernatural intervention. It is as if the gods, or the dead, are summoned to finish the man who acknowledges no father, no law, no love, no fate.

With George von Bergen/Nicholas Lester in the title role, Matthew Stiff as Leporello, and a formidable trio of women in opposition, Lloyd Wood’s new production, conducted by Michael Rosewell, promises a heady evening.

New production, sung in English
All performances surtitled except 13 April (Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham), 27 April (Cambridge Arts Theatre) and 25 May (Exeter Northcott Theatre)

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<![CDATA[Laika the Spacedog]]> English Touring Opera English Touring Opera - Truro Award-winning interactive opera for children aged 7–11 and their families returns to the UK in Spring 2016.

Laika the Spacedog flies again in Spring 2016, touring across the UK to schools and other venues. The opera toured the country in 2013 to great acclaim, and in the autumn of that year travelled to Szeged in Hungary, where it won the Jury Prize and the University Prize as Best Production of the mainstream Armel Opera Festival. It was then performed at the Opéra Grand in Avignon. The opera also won the PRS David Bedford Music Education Award.

It was stunning! Visually very effective. Amazing how such a small company and simple set can bring the story to life in such a creative and captivating way. We loved trying to use our voices in an operatic way and were amazed at the sounds that can come out of our bodies. Learning about the story of Laika provoked a wonderful discussion about ethics, animal rights and testing in the name of science. Information provided in advance was very useful. Thank you!

Teacher, Arbury Primary School, Cambridge

Written for children and family audiences, it is designed for Key Stage 2 in primary schools, and incorporates many areas of the curriculum, including science, history and literacy as well as music. The music is by Russell Hepplewhite, words and direction by Tim Yealland, design by Jude Munden, and animation by Babis Alexiadis.

I love opera now. What have I been missing?

Callum, age 10

The opera’s thrilling story is told in many diverse ways by nine professional performers – and also includes archive film, filmed animation (created with children) and puppetry. The characters include the idealistic young student Mikhael, the great scientist Korolev, the dog-hating Valentina, and of course the little dog herself. The piece features also a specially made theremin (the original electronic instrument), along with percussion, clarinet, cello and bassoon.

Absolutely brilliant! Best we have ever had. Opera is a difficult area – children have preconceived ideas that it’s posh. You dispelled the myths. It was awe inspiring and the children were open-mouthed with the whole experience.

Headteacher, Uplands Junior School, Wolverhampton

The action takes us from an apartment in Moscow to Gorky Park, to the Kremlin (where we meet President Khrushchev), and finally to the Cosmodrome in Baikonur, brought to life with stunning design, and from where we launch the famous Sputnik rockets. The piece is highly interactive, and includes songs for everyone. A comprehensive teachers’ pack and CD support the project.

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<![CDATA[Dust Child]]> English Touring Opera English Touring Opera - Truro A new interactive opera for young people with Special Educational Needs in Spring 2016.

Image © Gabriela Sandoval

Dust Child is ETO’s latest opera created especially for young people with special needs and follows RedBlueGreen, Spin, Rumbled, and most recently Waxwings. Interactive, multisensory and vivid, the opera is designed to engage with and excite young people with a range of different and complex needs and interests, using music, movement, tactile props and participation.

Created by the talented young team of composer James Garner, writer/director Anna Pool and designer Anna Driftmier, Dust Child will visit special schools around the country in the spring. Three singers take the main roles, and are accompanied by a string trio. The musical world of the piece borrows from different styles, including the folk traditions of the American mid-west.

The opera tells the story of Sylvia. Sylvia loves the stars. From the farm where she lives with Mama, you can see hundreds of them glittering in the night sky. But when Mama gets sick and there is no water to make her better, Sylvia (and our brave audience) must set out on a perilous quest across the dusty desert to find her some, with only the stars to guide their way…

The opera lasts 50 minutes.

We really enjoyed the performance and I got very positive feedback from staff, who felt that there was a good balance of music, singing, action, interactive opportunities, and good changes of mood and pace, all of which help to engage our pupils. Some of the children were able to tell me that they enjoyed it but with others, we can only interpret responses, which indicated real enjoyment and good attention – so thank you!

Assistant Headteacher, The Hall School (about Waxwings, 2015)

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

ETO’s production of Dust Child has been made possible thanks to the generous support of:
Arts Council England’s Strategic Touring Fund
The Equitable Charitable Trust

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<![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.

Primary teachers can now explore the skills used in this project in their own teaching by attending our CPD day on 25 June 2015. More information here.

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

Eight years of collaboration!

2015 marks the eighth 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.

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