Xerxes

George Frideric Handel - Autumn 2016

A revival of Handel’s comedic masterpiece set in 1940 during the Battle of Britain.

Conductor 
Jonathan Peter Kenny
Director 
James Conway
Designer 
Sarah Bacon
Lighting Designer 
Mark Howland

The direction is smart, the jokes get the audience laughing, and ETO does Handel’s music proud.

★★★★ The Times

Outstanding musicality… Five years on, it’s still fun.

★★★★ WhatsOnStage

A tremendous spectacle. The singing varies from splendid to astonishing.

★★★★ Broadway World

A pitch-perfect cast, beautiful direction and a score that soars.

★★★★ A Younger Theatre

One of ETO’s most warm-hearted and humorous productions of recent years was Xerxes, which saw Handel’s astonishing setting of a Venetian text relocated to the Battle of Britain, with the Persian king recast as a glamorous prince-turned-pilot jealous of his brother’s stronger sex appeal.

The score is absolutely Handel at his best, sometimes fiery and even explosive, at other times deeply touching. Julia Riley, Clint van der Linde, Laura Mitchell and Andrew Slater return in their original roles, with Peter Brathwaite and Galina Averina in her company debut, and Jonathan Peter Kenny directing the spitfire brilliance of the Old Street Band.

Revival, sung in English with captions
Running time: 2 hours and 45 minutes (including interval)

Interviews, videos and trailers

Showing At

  1. Hackney Empire
    8th Oct 2016 - 7:30 pm
  2. Malvern Theatres
    22nd Oct 2016 - 7:30 pm
  3. Theatre Royal Bath
    25th Oct 2016 - 7:30 pm
  4. Saffron Hall, Saffron Walden
    4th Nov 2016 - 7:30 pm
  5. New Theatre Royal, Portsmouth
    9th Nov 2016 - 7:30 pm
  6. Gala Theatre, Durham
    14th Nov 2016 - 7:30 pm
  7. Buxton Opera House
    19th Nov 2016 - 7:30 pm
  8. Exeter Northcott Theatre
    22nd Nov 2016 - 7:30 pm
  1. Hackney Empire — 8th Oct 2016 - 7:30 pm

    291 Mare Street, Hackney, E8 1EJ

  2. Malvern Theatres — 22nd Oct 2016 - 7:30 pm

    Malvern Theatres, Grange Road, Malvern, Worcestershire, WR14 3HB

  3. Theatre Royal Bath — 25th Oct 2016 - 7:30 pm

    Theatre Royal Bath, Sawclose, Bath, BA1 1ET

  4. Saffron Hall, Saffron Walden — 4th Nov 2016 - 7:30 pm

    Audley End Road, Saffron Walden , CB11 4UH

  5. New Theatre Royal, Portsmouth — 9th Nov 2016 - 7:30 pm

    20-24 Guildhall Walk, PO1 2DD

  6. Gala Theatre, Durham — 14th Nov 2016 - 7:30 pm

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

  7. Buxton Opera House — 19th Nov 2016 - 7:30 pm

    Water Street, SK17 6XN

  8. Exeter Northcott Theatre — 22nd Nov 2016 - 7:30 pm

    Exeter Northcott, Stocker Road, Exeter, EX4 4QB

Jonathan Peter Kenny

Jonathan Peter Kenny

Conductor

Jonathan Peter Kenny is from Liverpool. Conducting appearances include Flavio, Xerxes, Agrippina, Ottone, Iphigénie en Tauride, Giulio Cesare, Johannes-Passion, Mass in B minor, Matthäus-Passion (ETO), Cesare, Rinaldo, Radamisto, Alcina, Serse (Lucca),The Duchess of Malfi (Royal and Derngate), Stabat Mater (Dorothy Cross/OTC), Orfeo, Dido (RCM), Anxiety Fanfare (Kings Place, RFH), Memorial (London Barbican, Adelaide Festival, Brisbane Festival). He has performed with ROH, ENO, Glyndebourne, Salzburg Festival, Royal Opera Copenhagen, Teatro comunale Bologna, Glimmerglass NY, BBC Proms, AAM, OAE, EBS, RLPO, RSNO, UO, Gabrieli Consort, with Gardiner, Hickox, Fischer, Parrott, Mortensen, Bolton, and Bicket. Recordings include: Matthäus-Passion (Miller/Goodwin), Agrippina (Gardiner), Buxtehude Cantatas (Immerseel), Puccini Requiem (Fontaine). His edition of Handel’s Tamerlano has been produced in Dublin, Melbourne, Lisbon, and London.

James Conway

James Conway

Director

James Conway (ETO Director) has directed productions of operas by Monteverdi, Handel, Mozart, Donizetti, Janácek, Puccini, Debussy, Ullmann, Britten and Tippett, as well as a world premiere by Alexander Goehr. Before coming to ETO he was General Director of Opera Theatre Company in Dublin; his productions for that company travelled to New York (Brooklyn Academy of Music), and to festivals in Melbourne, London, Buxton, Paris, Dusseldorf, Prague, Brno, Lisbon and Porto. Notable among his freelance directing is the long-running production of The Cunning Little Vixen at the Janácek Theatre, Brno.

Sarah Bacon

Sarah Bacon

Designer

Sarah studied Architecture at University College Dublin, and 3D Design at Brighton University. She trained in Theatre Design at Motley. In 2009 she was a Linbury Prize finalist, and Jerwood Young Designer. Designs for opera include The Raven (Arcola, King’s Head); Phillip Glass’ Les Enfants Terribles (UK premiere); The Rape of Lucretia (Arcola); La Clemenza di Tito and Susannah (Hampstead Garden Opera); La Tragedie de Carmen (English Touring Opera); Xerxes (Opera Theatre Co.); Suor Angelica, La Voix Humaine, Il Signor Bruschino, Rita, (all Wexford Festival Opera). Theatre includes Medea (The Gate/Headlong); Present Tense (Southwark Playhouse); Still the Blackbird Sings (Derry Playhouse); Starvin’ (Fitzgerald & Stapleton); costume/prop design for The Rehearsal: Playing the Dane (Pan Pan Theatre Co, Dublin Theatre Festival 2010).

Mark Howland

Mark Howland

Lighting Designer

Mark studied, briefly, at Oxford University prior to training in Stage Lighting Design at RADA.

Previously for ETO: Dardanus, Tosca, Patience, Ulysses’ Homecoming, La Calisto, Xerxes, The Tales of Hoffmann, Werther, Pelleas et Melisande, La Boheme, The Siege of Calais, Wild Man of the West Indies.

Other designs include: La Rondine, Don Giovanni (Opera Holland Park); Twelve Angry Men (Birmingham Rep & West End); Elixir of Love, Rodelinda (Scottish Opera); Sweeney Todd (Aarhus Theatre, Denmark); Singin’ in the Rain (Det Ny Teater, Copenhagen) and numerous productions for The Gate Theatre London, The Curve, Nottingham Playhouse, Lyric Theatre Belfast amongst many others.

Cast

Julia Riley

Julia Riley

Xerxes

Praised for her “plush mezzo” and “lively presence on stage”, British mezzo-soprano Julia Riley is much sought after on both the operatic stage and the concert platform. She is currently a principal artist at the Zürich Opernhaus, where her roles so far have included Charlotte in Calixto Bieto’s groundbreaking production of Zimmerman’s Die Soldaten; Dinah Trouble in Tahiti; Tebaldo Don Carlo under Fabio Luisi; Second Niece Peter Grimes; Fidalma Il Matrimonio Segreto; Tisbe La Cenerentola; and Zweite Dame Die Zauberflöte.

Recent engagements elsewhere include role debuts as Sesto La Clemenza di Tito and Xerxes with English Touring Opera, as well as Dorabella Cosi fan tutte for Opera Holland Park, for which she received great critical acclaim: “This Dorabella, really rather a nasty piece of work, is sung with great flair and rhythmic rigour by the glowing mezzo of Julia Riley” (Hilary Finch, Times).
Other roles include Nancy Albert Herring for the Opéra Comique, Opera de Rouen, and Glyndebourne on Tour; Zweite Dame Die Zauberflöte for Théâtre du Capitole, Toulouse, and Glyndebourne on Tour; Cherubino Le nozze di Figaro for Glyndebourne on Tour; Donna Elvira Don Giovanni and Giovanna Seymour Anna Bolena for English Touring Opera; and Alessandro Eliogabalo for Grange Park Opera.

Highlights of the current season include Second Maid Elektra, Flora in Jonathan Dove’s The Enchanted Pig, Giovanna Rigoletto, and Second Lady Die Zauberflöteat the Zürich Opernhaus, as well as Charlotte Die Soldaten at the Teatro Colon, Buenos Aires.

Recent concert highlights include performances with La Scintilla (Zürich Opernhaus Baroque Orchestra) under Laurence Cummings, her first Verdi Requiem with the London Philharmonic Orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall, and her BBC Proms debut in Vaughan Williams Serenade to Music under Sir Andrew Davis. She has also performed at London’s Barbican Centre, Birmingham Symphony Hall, London’s Cadogan Hall, BBC Welsh Proms, London Bach Festival, Teatro Nacional de São Carlos, Lisbon, and with the Academy of Ancient Music under Richard Egarr at the Auditorio Nacional de Música, Madrid.

Julia Riley was born in York and studied at the Royal Academy of Music and the National Opera Studio. She is winner of the Mozart Singing Competition and an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music.

Laura Mitchell

Laura Mitchell

Romilda

Ms Laura Mitchell will sing the role of Tosca on 9 March (London), 25 March (Bromley), 30 March & 1 April (Snape), 8 April (York), 11 April (Wolverhampton), 13 April (Leicester), 22 April (Cheltenham), 25 & 29 April (Cambridge), 2 May (Guildford), 5 May (Buxton), 9 May (Coventry), 13 (Canterbury), 27 May (Exeter), 29 May (Truro), 2 June (Norwich), 5 June (Stoke) and 10 June (Blackpool).

Born in Hertfordshire, Laura studied at the Royal College of Music where she gained a first-class honours degree and postgraduate diploma. She then joined the Benjamin Britten International Opera School, studying with Lillian Watson. In 2007, she won the Song prize at the Kathleen Ferrier Awards and the Lies Askonas Prize. Laura attended the National Opera Studio during the 2007/08 season.

While at the NOS, Laura took part in residencies at WNO, Scottish Opera, Theatre Royal and Opera North, singing Illia/Idomeneo, Helena/A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Donna Elvira/Don Giovanni, Leila/The Pearlfishers. Other operatic roles include Countess Almaviva/Le nozze di Figaro and Elisa/Tolomeo for BBIOS, Aldimira in Cavalli ‘s Erismena, First Witch/Dido and Aeneas, Ninfa and Proserpina/Orfeo (cover), all for English Touring Opera. More recently, she appeared at Scottish Opera in Smetana’s Two Widows, covering the role of Lidka.

Concert work includes Tippett’s Spirituals and Rutter’s Requiem at St.John Smith Square, Mozart’s Exultate Jubilate and Villa-Lobos’ Bachianas Brasileiras no 5 with the Emerald Ensemble at Bristol Cathedral, Bach’s B Minor Mass at St John Smith Square, Haydn’s Nelson Mass with Sir David Willcocks, Handel’s Messiah at Kings College Cambridge with Stephen Cleobury,Mozart’s Exultate Jubilate with the London Pro Arte Orchestra in Denmark and Strauss’ Four Last Songs at the Hatfield Auditorium, conducted by Peter Stark.

In 2007/08, Laura sang Bach’s St. John Passion with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and Mark Padmore at the QEH in London, which was followed by a tour through South Korea and Japan.
As a recitalist she has performed at the Teatro dei Rozzi Siena, the St.Peters Basilica Rome as well as the Purcell Room, Wigmore Hall, St Martin in the Fields, St.James’ Piccadilly, and the Windsor, Chester and Beaumaris Festivals.
She has taken part in master classes with Robin Stapleton (Amici di Verdi) and with Roger Vignoles at the Leeds Lieder Festival.

Her most recent appearances include Bach’s St Matthew Passion at the Royal Festival Hall with Mark Padmore and the OAE, recitals for the Countess of Munster Musical Trust, Ismene/Mitridate for WNO with Sir Charles Mackkeras, Gilda/Rigoletto for the Grange Park Opera ‘Rising Stars’ series and ‘Messiah’ concerts with John Nelson and the Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg.

Future engagments include Helena and Countess Almaviva for ETO, Donna Elvira at Opera Holland Park and Kristina/The Makropoulos Case at ENO.

Laura gratefully receives the support of The Countess of Munster Musical Trust for their Funding and Recital scheme, the Concordia Foundation for the Barthel Prize, the Wingate Scholarship, the Zetland Foundation, and the Worshipful Company of Musicians.

Galina Averina

Galina Averina

Atalanta

RECENT & UPCOMING
Ilia Idomeneo, Atalanta in Serse, Iphise in Rameau’s Dardanus, Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi for the English Touring Opera, Marcelina Fidelio for Garsington Opera, Partenope Partenope for Iford Arts, Adela Die Fledermaus for Diva Opera, Pamina in Magic Flute for Mid Wales Opera and Oscar in Un ballo in maschera for West Green Opera, Mozart Residency at the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence.

OTHER ENGAGEMENTS
Brigitta in Iolanta, Berta in Il barbiere di Siviglia, Kseniya in Boris Godunov, Noemi in Cendrillon, Ersilia in Le astuzie femminili, Charmion in Cleopatre, and Annina in La traviata, all for Perm State Opera Theatre; Despina in Così fan tutte at Dubrovnik Summer Festival; Pamina in Die Zauberflöte, Calisto in Giove in Argo, Adele in Die Fledermaus, and Dalinda in Handel’s Ariodante at International Opera School of the Royal College of Music, London.

AWARDS
Handel Competition, London (2nd Prize, 2016), Francisco Viñas Competition (Sextio Premio, Audience Prize, 2015), Bampton Classical Opera Young Singers’ Competition (1st Prize, 2015), Les Azuriales Opera Festival Young Artists’ Competition, Nice (Haidee Saretski Prize, 2013)

Clint van der Linde

Clint van der Linde

Arsamenes

Clint’s opera and concert work has taken him to Australia, NZ, SA, US, Israel, Japan and through out Western and Central Europe. In Festivals including BBC proms (Royal Albert Hall), Mostly Mozart Festival at the Alice Tully Hall(NYC), Bach Festival Leipzich, Wellington Festival(NZ) and Edinbugh Festival. Collaborating with the AAM, The Goettingen Festspieler Orchestra, Il Fondamento, the Hanover Band, the Israel Camerata, the King`s Consort, the LHO, LMN, the OAE, the RPO the Salzburg Camerata, Stuttgart Baroque Orchestra, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and Bach Collegium Japan. Conducters, Masaaki Suzuki, Stephen Layton, Sir Roger Norrington, Frieder Bernius, Nicholas Kraemer, Stephen Cleobury, Peter Schreier, Wolfgang Katchner, George Petrou, Leonardo Alarcon and Paul Dombrecht.

Andrew Slater

Andrew Slater

Ariodate

For the last thirty years Andrew has been singing principal roles with UK opera companies. Thanks to the solid singing technique provided by the RNCM in the 1980s his voice has remained fresh as the odd grey hair has arrived, and he now looks and sounds ideal for the low voice roles of nobility or malevolence which abound in the repertoire. He is also good as the fat funny bloke. There is, in fact a role to suit him in almost every opera. He is eternally good humoured – taking as a blessing that his job is the activity he would do for fun around a conventional career. Married to a soprano whose international career allows him to travel the world in style, he also teaches a bit at the University of Huddersfield.

Carolyn Dobbin

Carolyn Dobbin

Armastris

Carrickfergus born mezzo- soprano and Samling scholar, trained at the RSAMD and on the YAP of OTC in Dublin in 2006.

Carolyn has worked with many UK and Swiss Opera companies. Repertoire includes, Lucretia/ The Rape of Lucretia, Carmen, Alisa / Lucia di Lammermoor, Bradamante / Alcina, Teodata / Flavio, Lisetta / Il mondo della luna, Dorabella / Così fan tutte( radio3), Second Lady / The Magic Flute, Idamante/Idomeno, Nicklaus / The Tales of Hoffmann, Dido and First Witch / Dido and Aeneas, Ottavia/ The coronation of Poppea, Cherubino / La nozze di Figaro, Concepcion / L’heure espagnole, Orlofsky / Die Fledermaus and Maddalena / Rigoletto, flora / La traviata, Janet / The Doctor’s Tale for ROH2, Scipio / Caligula (radio3) and Hannah / The Passenger both for ENO, Andronico / Tamerlano, Meg Page / Falstaff for OHP, Emilia / Otello for DO, Maddalena / Rigoletto and Polina/ Pique Dame for GPO. During 2010 Carolyn was a WNO Associate Artist and the recipient of the WNO Chris Ball Bursary and the Sir John Moores Award.
Her recordings include Lynne Plowman’s Cries Like Silence (London Mozart Players).

Roles at Lucerne Theatre – Penelope / Il ritorno d’Ulisse, Annio / La clemenza di Tito, Tisbe / La cenerentola, Lidwina/ Fraulein Bixel und Herr Glück, Flora Bervoix / La traviata. Bradamante/ Alcina, and the title role of Carmen. She made her debut for Bern Stadtheater as Annina & Flora/ La Traviata.
Recent and future engagements include the roles of Polina/Pique Dame, Emilia in Rossinis Othello -Buxton Festival, Elgars ‘Dream of Gerontius’ ,Title role The rape of Lucretia for IYO, Fatima/ Oberon NSO, The Page / Salome for OperaNI and The Verdi Requiem, Third Lady in Magic flute in Switzerland, Angelina in La Cenerentola, Devils jukebox for ON, and the role of Charlotte in Werther for ETO. www.carolyndobbin.com

Peter Brathwaite

Peter Brathwaite

Elviro

Reviews for 2011 production

No praise can be too high for mezzo Julia Riley in the title role, or for the bewitching Laura Mitchell as Romilda; major plaudits for soprano Rachel Lloyd and counter-tenor Clint van der Linde, whose luxuriously powerful sound has no equal. Covent Garden would count itself lucky to host a baroque show of this calibre.

***** (5 STARS) The Independent

The Old Street Band plays like a charm for Jonathan Peter Kenny; the counter-tenor turned conductor shapes a gorgeous reading, flowing and spruce, that never fails to support the singers and favour the drama… A production that takes flight in more ways than one.

**** (4 STARS) What’s On Stage

A remarkable achievement and a tribute to the creativity and teamwork of all those involved at ETO. In its way it makes a statement as powerful as the celebrated Hytner production at the Coliseum, and that is no mean feat indeed.

**** (4 STARS) Opera Britannia

Musically gripping from take-off to landing. Jonathan Peter Kenny’s classy, high-octane conducting achieves wonders of continuity and contrast from his period band, while the cast is among ETO’s most impressive yet.

The Guardian

…excellent singing and rumbustious playing from the Old Street Band.

The Observer

Julia Riley brings vocal authority to the role of Xerxes.

London Evening Standard

It’s chocks-away for English Touring Opera’s autumn tour!

The Times

Showing At

  1. Hackney Empire
    8th Oct 2016 - 7:30 pm
  2. Malvern Theatres
    22nd Oct 2016 - 7:30 pm
  3. Theatre Royal Bath
    25th Oct 2016 - 7:30 pm
  4. Saffron Hall, Saffron Walden
    4th Nov 2016 - 7:30 pm
  5. New Theatre Royal, Portsmouth
    9th Nov 2016 - 7:30 pm
  6. Gala Theatre, Durham
    14th Nov 2016 - 7:30 pm
  7. Buxton Opera House
    19th Nov 2016 - 7:30 pm
  8. Exeter Northcott Theatre
    22nd Nov 2016 - 7:30 pm

Your Comments

  1. Brilliant performance.
    My only criticism is that there was too much abuse of women for my liking. AND it was the same woman each time. Real life experiences portrayed on stage, without warning, I found too upsetting. Even when Romira fainted, nobody went to her rescue, not even the man who was supposed to be her beloved.

    Said Anne Carpenter at 18:22pm on 23rd Nov 2016

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