Simon Boccanegra

Giuseppe Verdi - Spring 2013

A story of family ties, love and politics set to some of the most beautiful music Verdi ever wrote.

Conductor 
Michael Rosewell
Director 
James Conway
Designer 
Samal Blak
Lighting Designer 
Ace McCarron

Stands head and shoulders above any production of Boccanegra I have ever seen. A real triumph.

5 STARS, Whatsonstage.com

Impressive … There is something Lear-like about Boccanegra’s dilemmas.

4 STARS, Theartsdesk.com

Elizabeth Llewellyn … has a sensuous voice … The orchestra, under Michael Rosewell, brings out the wonderful harmonies of Verdi’s score.

4 STARS, Sunday Express

ETO’s first new Verdi production for several years is Simon Boccanegra – a mature masterpiece, and an intimate drama uniquely suited to English Touring Opera theatres.

The story comes from the history of Genoa, for centuries a great maritime republic, and from it Verdi creates an impassioned plea for Italian unity.

The composer’s musical depiction of the shimmering Mediterranean is wonderful; so too are the characters he creates, from the rough-hewn buccaneer-turned-ruler (the title role, played by Craig Smith) to his spiteful adversary and father-in-law (Fiesco, Keel Watson); from the embittered traitor (Paolo, Grant Doyle) to the idealistic Adorno (Charne Rochford).

This is a massive undertaking for English Touring Opera, with an unusually large chorus and orchestra – a personal ambition of ETO General Director James Conway and Music Director Michael Rosewell, supported with a special grant from the Peter Moores Foundation.

New production, sung in Italian with English surtitles
Touring with a 26-piece live orchestra
Running time: 2 hours and 35 minutes (incl. one 20 minute interval).

The story

Read the synopsis here.

Music playlist

Elizabeth Llewellyn sings Come in quest’ora bruna from Simon Boccanegra, Act 1

Reproduced by permission of Elizabeth Llewellyn. Recorded at The Warehouse, London – September 2012

Rehearsal photos

Showing At

  1. Hackney Empire
    8th Mar 2013 - 7:30 pm
  2. Curve, Leicester
    12th Mar 2013 - 7:30 pm
  3. Churchill Theatre, Bromley
    16th Mar 2013 - 7:30 pm
  4. Exeter Northcott Theatre
    21st Mar 2013 - 7:30 pm
  5. Exeter Northcott Theatre
    23rd Mar 2013 - 7:30 pm
  6. Norwich Theatre Royal
    26th Mar 2013 - 7:30 pm
  7. The Hawth, Crawley
    3rd Apr 2013 - 7:30 pm
  8. Lighthouse, Poole
    6th Apr 2013 - 7:30 pm
  9. Lyceum Theatre, Sheffield
    9th Apr 2013 - 7:45 pm
  10. York Theatre Royal
    12th Apr 2013 - 7:30 pm
  11. Wolverhampton Grand Theatre
    16th Apr 2013 - 7:30 pm
  12. Snape Maltings Concert Hall
    19th Apr 2013 - 7:30 pm
  13. Gala Theatre, Durham
    23rd Apr 2013 - 7:30 pm
  14. Buxton Opera House
    26th Apr 2013 - 7:30 pm
  15. Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham
    1st May 2013 - 7:30 pm
  16. Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham
    3rd May 2013 - 7:30 pm
  17. Warwick Arts Centre
    10th May 2013 - 7:30 pm
  18. Perth Festival, Perth Concert Hall
    17th May 2013 - 7:30 pm
  19. Cambridge Arts Theatre
    22nd May 2013 - 7:30 pm
  20. Cambridge Arts Theatre
    25th May 2013 - 7:30 pm
  21. G Live Guildford
    28th May 2013 - 7:45 pm
  22. Truro Cathedral
    30th May 2013 - 7:30 pm
  1. Hackney Empire — 8th Mar 2013 - 7:30 pm

    291 Mare Street, Hackney, E8 1EJ

  2. Curve, Leicester — 12th Mar 2013 - 7:30 pm

    Rutland Street, Leicester, LE1 1SB

  3. Churchill Theatre, Bromley — 16th Mar 2013 - 7:30 pm

    High Street, Bromley, Kent, BR1 1HA

  4. Exeter Northcott Theatre — 21st Mar 2013 - 7:30 pm

    Exeter Northcott, Stocker Road, Exeter, EX4 4QB

  5. Exeter Northcott Theatre — 23rd Mar 2013 - 7:30 pm

    Exeter Northcott, Stocker Road, Exeter, EX4 4QB

  6. Norwich Theatre Royal — 26th Mar 2013 - 7:30 pm

    Theatre Street, Norwich, NR2 1RL

  7. The Hawth, Crawley — 3rd Apr 2013 - 7:30 pm

    Hawth Avenue, Crawley, RH10 6YZ

  8. Lighthouse, Poole — 6th Apr 2013 - 7:30 pm

    Kingland Road, Poole, BH15 1UG

  9. Lyceum Theatre, Sheffield — 9th Apr 2013 - 7:45 pm

    55 Norfolk Street, Sheffield, S1 1DA

  10. York Theatre Royal — 12th Apr 2013 - 7:30 pm

    YO1 7HD

  11. Wolverhampton Grand Theatre — 16th Apr 2013 - 7:30 pm

    Lichfield Street, Wolverhampton, WV1 1DE

  12. Snape Maltings Concert Hall — 19th Apr 2013 - 7:30 pm

    Aldeburgh Music, Snape Maltings Concert Hall, Snape, Suffolk, IP17 1SP

  13. Gala Theatre, Durham — 23rd Apr 2013 - 7:30 pm

    1 Millennium Place, Town Centre, Durham, DH1 1WA

  14. Buxton Opera House — 26th Apr 2013 - 7:30 pm

    Water Street, SK17 6XN

  15. Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham — 1st May 2013 - 7:30 pm

    Regent Street, Cheltenham, GL50 1HQ

  16. Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham — 3rd May 2013 - 7:30 pm

    Regent Street, Cheltenham, GL50 1HQ

  17. Warwick Arts Centre — 10th May 2013 - 7:30 pm

    University of Warwick, Coventry, CV4 7AL

  18. Perth Festival, Perth Concert Hall — 17th May 2013 - 7:30 pm

    Mill Street, Perth, PH1 5HZ

  19. Cambridge Arts Theatre — 22nd May 2013 - 7:30 pm

    6 St Edward's Passage, Cambridge, CB2 3PJ

  20. Cambridge Arts Theatre — 25th May 2013 - 7:30 pm

    6 St Edward's Passage, Cambridge, CB2 3PJ

  21. G Live Guildford — 28th May 2013 - 7:45 pm

    London Road, Guildford, GU1 2AA

  22. Truro Cathedral — 30th May 2013 - 7:30 pm

    10 Pydar Street, Truro, Cornwall, TR1 2AX

Michael Rosewell

Michael Rosewell

Conductor

Michael began his career at the Vienna State Opera as a member of the music staff and assistant to Claudio Abbado. Having worked closely with many of the world’s greatest singers including Pavarotti, Domingo, Gruberova, Freni, Carreras, Alfredo Kraus, and Cappuccilli, he went on to conduct extensively throughout Germany; notably the opera houses in Kassel, Wiesbaden and the Nationaltheater, Mannheim, where he held the position of Kapellmeister. He has also conducted at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, for Kent Opera, ENO, and regularly at the International Festivals in Aldeburgh, Bath, Perth, Buxton and Montepulciano.

In concert Michael has conducted amongst others, the Staatsorchester, Rheinische Philharmonie, the Nationalorchester, Mannheim, the Staatsorchester, Wiesbaden, the Pforztheimer Kammerorchester, the Orchestra of Scottish Opera, the RTE Symphony Orchestra, the London Mozart Players, the BT Scottish Ensemble and the Aurora Orchestra. He has also worked extensively with leading period instrument ensemble ‘The London Handel Orchestra’ with which, as ‘Associate Conductor’, he introduced many rarely performed Handel operas to the London stage. He has broadcast for Radio France Musique, RTE Dublin and Süddeutsche Rundfunk. His recording of Lehar arias, with Grammy award winning tenor Alfie Boe and the Orchestra of Scottish Opera was recently re-released under the Decca record label.

Recent projects include mentoring Craig Revel Horwood through to winning the BBC Maestro at the Opera, filmed in association with the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, to conducting a Bach’s St John Passion with the RTE Symphony Orchestra, Dublin. His most recent performances with ETO included Michael Tippett’s King Priam at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; a production which won the Olivier Award for ‘Outstanding Achievement in Opera’, 2014.

James Conway

James Conway

Director

General Director of ETO, James Conway has directed 24 new productions and 4 revivals for the company, including Donizetti’s The Siege of Calais (to be revived in 2015), Maria Stuarda and Anna Bolena and Handel’s Alcina, Ariodante, Teseo, Tolomeo, Flavio, Xerxes and Agrippina. Other notable ETO productions include Eugene Onegin, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Simon Boccanegra, The Emperor of Atlantis and the world première of Alexander Goehr’s Promised End. For RCM he directed L’incoronazione di Poppea and Le nozze di Figaro, and for the Canadian Opera Company Don Giovanni. His production of The Cunning Little Vixen is in repertory at the Moravian National Theatre in Janacek’s home city of Brno. He has written original libretti for 2 operas and translations for 5 others, as well as several works of fiction; his most recent translation was last season’s Agrippina. Upcoming productions include Giulio Cesare (Lucca) and Ottone (ETO).

Samal Blak

Samal Blak

Designer

Ace McCarron

Ace McCarron

Lighting Designer

Cast

Craig Smith

Craig Smith

Baritone

Simon Boccanegra

Born Bolton
Training Manchester University, RNCM
Awards Ricordi Prize for Opera
Opera Ford Falstaff (ETO), Michele/Tonio Tabarro/Pagliacci (ON), Nabucco (ENO & Bucharest), Rigoletto (Tokyo), Les Dialogues des Carmelites (Theater an der Wien & Covent Garden), Germont La Traviata (ENO & St. Margarethen Festival)
Concert Handel Messiah (Liverpool Philharmonic), Cilea Adriana Lecouvreur (Queen Elizabeth Hall), Tchaikovsky Maid of Orleans (BBC Philharmonic)
Recordings Martin In Terra Pax (Swiss Radio), Les Dialogues des Carmelites (Oehms Classics)

Elizabeth Llewellyn

Elizabeth Llewellyn

Soprano

Amelia

Keel Watson

Keel Watson

Bass

Jacopo Fiesco

Born London
Training Trinity College of Music
Awards 1998 American Express Prize for Outstanding Performance
Opera Caronte L’Orfeo (ENO), Papageno The Magic Flute (Mid-Wales Opera), The Elder The Country of the Blind (Aldeburgh Festival/ENO Contemporary Opera Studio), Bosun Billy Budd (ROH), Tonio I Pagliacci (Opera Holland Park)
Concerts Bernstein Whitehouse Cantata (London Symphony Orchestra), Orff Carmina Burana (RFH), Puccini Tosca (St John’s, Smith Square).
Recordings Harasta The Cunning Little Vixen (BBC cartoon, cond. Nagano), Bernstein Whitehouse Cantata (Deutsche Grammaphone), guest soloist Friday Night is Music Night (BBC Radio 2)
Future Abbot Curlew River (BOC/BBC Proms 2004), Leporello Don Giovanni (Garden Opera)

Grant Doyle

Grant Doyle

Baritone

Paolo Albiani

Grant was born in Adelaide and studied at the University of Adelaide, the Royal College of Music in London and was a Young Artist at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. His opera credits include Ping Turandot (Royal Opera House); Don Giovanni, Forester Cunning Little Vixen (Garsington Opera); Marcello La bohème, Zurga Les pêcheurs de perles (Opera Holland Park); Robin Oakapple Ruddigore (Opera North), and Abraham in Clemency at the Edinburgh Festival/Scottish Opera.

Other appearances include Billy in Anna Nicole, Tarquinius Rape of Lucretia, Harlequin Ariadne auf Naxos and Schaunard La bohème for the Royal Opera; Figaro Barber of Seville, Paolo Simon Boccanegra and Hector King Priam (ETO); Marcello and Figaro (Longborough Festival); Count Almaviva Le nozze di Figaro (Garsington, State Opera of South Australia) and the role of Starbuck in the new Jake Heggie opera Moby Dick (SOSA) for which he won a Helpmann Award.

As a busy concert soloist, Grant has sung Carmina Burana with the Bach Choir at the Royal Festival Hall, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic, Ulster Orchestra as well as at the Royal Albert Hall. Other performances include Fauré Requiem (Hallé Orchestra, Carl Davis), Brahms’ Requiem with the Bach Choir/Philharmonia at the Westminster Cathedral, Britten’s War Requiem (Huddersfield Choral Society), Tippett’s A Child of Our Time (Crouch End Festival Chorus/Barbican), and Messiah with the Royal Choral Society at the Royal Albert Hall.

Future work includes Oreste Iphigénie en Tauride (Pinchgut), Dancaire Carmen (ROH) and Don Giovanni (SOSA).

Brendan Collins

Brendan Collins

Baritone

Paolo Albiani (from May 10)

Brendan Collins trained at the Cork School of Music under Robert Beare, the D.I.T. Conservatory, and in 2007 was granted a scholarship to study at the opera studio of Theatre de la Monnaie in Brussels under renowned bass-baritone José van Dam. In 2005 he was one of only 12 Irish singers to take part in the first Wexford Festival Young Artists programme under tenor Dennis O’Neill.

As a soloist he has performed with many of Ireland and the UK’s leading companies including Opera Ireland, OTC, ETO, NI Opera, Scottish Opera, Anna Livia Festival, Lyric Opera and Glasthule Opera. His roles include Count Almaviva/ Le Nozze di Figaro, Marcello/ La Boheme, Escamillo/ Carmen, Giorgio Germont/ La Traviata, Masetto/ Don Giovanni, cover Demetrius/ Midsummer’s Night’s Dream, Notare/ Don Pasquale, Marullo/ Rigoletto, Elviro/ Xerxes, Fiorello/ The Barber of Seville, Baron Duphol/ La Traviata, Sacristan/ Tosca, Yamadori/ Madama Butterfly and Count Gil/ Il segreto di Susanna amongst others.

Charne Rochford

Charne Rochford

Tenor

Gabriele Adorno

Charne was born in London and trained at RAM. Roles include Eisenstein (RPO), Cavaradossi (Bermuda Festival), 1st Armed Man/ 2nd Priest (Glyndebourne/ON), Rodolpho (Lyric Opera, Dublin), Bacchus (Strauss Festival, London), Il Duca di Mantua (Neumunster Abbey, Luxembourg) Previously for ETO he has sung both Luigi Il tabarro and Adorno Simon Boccanegra. Recent concert work includes Glass’ Satyagraha for the Blickfelder Festival, Switzerland and a series of Verdi’s Requiem at Victoria Hall, Geneva and at Lausanne Cathedral. He made his cinematic debut as 2nd Officer in The Magic Flute, directed by Kenneth Branagh. Future engagements Rossini Stabat Mater at Exeter Cathedral, Canio I Pagliacci for Opera de Baugé and Lyonel Martha for the Volksoper Zürich.

Piotr Lempa

Piotr Lempa

Bass

Pietro

SPRING 2014 – THE MAGIC FLUTE
The role of Sarastro will be sung by Mr Piotr Lempa for the following performances: Truro (10 March), Cheltenham (5 April), York (15 April), Crawley (5 May), Exeter (13 May), Perth (22 May), and Cambridge (31 May).

Mr Piotr Lempa will sing the role of Speaker on the following dates: London (7, 8 March), Poole (13 March), Wolverhampton (17 March), Snape (27 March), Cheltenham (3, 4 April), Leicester (7 April), Sheffield (11 April), Canterbury (22 April), Norwich (27 April), Coventry (9, 10 May), Exeter (14, 15 May), Durham (19 May), and Cambridge (29, 30 May).

Piotr Lempa is a native of Poland and graduate of RAM, Cardiff International Academy of Voice and the Vocal and Acting Faculty at the Music Academy in Gdansk, Poland. He made his opera debut singing Oroveso Norma for ETO. He has since appeared in productions of La bohème, Die Zauberflöte, Ariadne auf Naxos, Kátya Kabanová, Halka, Don Giovanni, Rigoletto, Le nozze di Figaro, Bastien und Bastienne, and Salome, in Wales, England, Germany and Poland. Future plans include Sarastro (Die Zauberflöte), Patroclus (King Priam) and Publius (La Clemenza di Tito). www.piotrlempa.com

Stuart Haycock

Stuart Haycock

Tenor

Captain

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.

Showing At

  1. Hackney Empire
    8th Mar 2013 - 7:30 pm
  2. Curve, Leicester
    12th Mar 2013 - 7:30 pm
  3. Churchill Theatre, Bromley
    16th Mar 2013 - 7:30 pm
  4. Exeter Northcott Theatre
    21st Mar 2013 - 7:30 pm
  5. Exeter Northcott Theatre
    23rd Mar 2013 - 7:30 pm
  6. Norwich Theatre Royal
    26th Mar 2013 - 7:30 pm
  7. The Hawth, Crawley
    3rd Apr 2013 - 7:30 pm
  8. Lighthouse, Poole
    6th Apr 2013 - 7:30 pm
  9. Lyceum Theatre, Sheffield
    9th Apr 2013 - 7:45 pm
  10. York Theatre Royal
    12th Apr 2013 - 7:30 pm
  11. Wolverhampton Grand Theatre
    16th Apr 2013 - 7:30 pm
  12. Snape Maltings Concert Hall
    19th Apr 2013 - 7:30 pm
  13. Gala Theatre, Durham
    23rd Apr 2013 - 7:30 pm
  14. Buxton Opera House
    26th Apr 2013 - 7:30 pm
  15. Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham
    1st May 2013 - 7:30 pm
  16. Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham
    3rd May 2013 - 7:30 pm
  17. Warwick Arts Centre
    10th May 2013 - 7:30 pm
  18. Perth Festival, Perth Concert Hall
    17th May 2013 - 7:30 pm
  19. Cambridge Arts Theatre
    22nd May 2013 - 7:30 pm
  20. Cambridge Arts Theatre
    25th May 2013 - 7:30 pm
  21. G Live Guildford
    28th May 2013 - 7:45 pm
  22. Truro Cathedral
    30th May 2013 - 7:30 pm

Your Comments

  1. Just back from Boccanegra in Exeter. Absolutely magnificent. The whole cast were excellent, the orchestra superb, and my wife and I agreed that the death scene was one of the most moving and convincing we had ever seen, in theatre or opera. I was anxious beforehand that the convoluted plot would make the opera difficult to enjoy or believe in, but honestly there is so much to enjoy even if you don't follow the plot or check the surtitles. It all makes emotional sense. It was wonderful to hear it in Italian (ETO are a great company but we wish all productions were performed in their original languages), and we are genuinely privileged to have seen such a superb production. I'll have a bunged up nose for the next 24 hours thanks to the tears the ending produced. Well worth it. Bravo!

    Said Peter Forrest at 23:13pm on 21st Mar 2013

  2. We saw Boccanegra at Crawley last night. A great performance of a great opera we'd not seen before. Dramatic singing, action and music made it totally absorbing. The reuniting with the daughter and the death scene were highly emotional. We felt quite wrung out by the end. Well done everyone involved!

    Said Alan & Rita Catharine at 18:44pm on 4th Apr 2013

  3. Saw Boccanegra at Snape tonight and agree with other comments. A superb, moving production.

    Said Laurence Ball at 23:48pm on 19th Apr 2013

  4. I was lucky to have a great seat last night for the ETO "Boccanegra" in Buxton. Though I thought it got off to a limp start, lacking in zest and rhythm, after the Prologue it was s wonderful performance. Towering above a splendid cast Craig Smith was a terrific Simon, and his journey from "corsair" through ruler of Genoa to his eventual crumbling death by poison was spectacularly memorable. He was able to combine sensational vocal quality and power with endurance, not tiring at all in a very long role. He was also compelling dramatically. You go many miles and visit many countries to find a more committed and dependable baritone than Craig Smith.
    He was not alone. There really wasn't a weak link in the singing and commitment of Keel Watson, Elizabeth Llewellyn, Charne Rochford, and Grant Doyle, and the orchestra was fully supportive.
    I was less sure about the production. I am not happy with updating operas which are set firmly in a period of history, because the parallels the director seeks to find in "modern" scenarios don't usually fit the words people sing. Having made that criticism, I wish to congratulate the whole cast, orchestra and conductor on a very involving and memorable performance.

    Said Roger Bell at 15:45pm on 27th Apr 2013

  5. Simon Boccanegra is one of my top Verdi operas, so of course I couldn't miss ETO's production here in Cheltenham. I thought it was pretty darn good - acting, singing and orchestra anyway - not quite so sure about the rather bleak production (another modern dress one which doesn't really fit with the timeline, rather like the recent ROH Nabucco). Craig Smith's post-poisoning and final death scenes were particularly dramatic and moving I thought. Good for ETO giving us the chance to catch this impressive work, I say.

    Said Margaret Eccles at 02:03am on 2nd May 2013

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