Saturday, 6 December 2014

English Touring Opera announces Spring 2015 season of Italian opera, including a rare Donizetti opera never before staged in the UK : Press Release from John Walker

Olivier Award Winners 2013
Michael Rosewell & James Conway
Conductor & Director
English Touring Opera

The Wild Man of the West Indies (Il furioso all’isola di San Domingo)
Music by Gaetano Donizetti, libretto by Jacopo Ferritti,
after Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra.
New production, sung in Italian with English surtitles.
Conducted by Jeremy Silver, directed by Iqbal Khan.

La Bohème
Music by Giacomo Puccini, libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa.
New production, sung in Italian with English surtitles.
Conducted by Michael Rosewell, directed by James Conway.

The Siege of Calais (L’assedio di Calais)
Music by Gaetano Donizetti, words by Salvatore Cammarano.
Revival of ETO’s 2013 production, sung in Italian with English surtitles.
Conducted by Jeremy Silver, directed by James Conway.

All three productions open at Hackney Empire, London:

The Siege of Calais opens on Saturday 7 March 2015;

The Wild Man of the West Indies opens on Thursday 12 March 2015;

La Bohème opens on Friday 13 and Saturday 14 March 2015.

The tour then continues to venues including:
Truro, Poole, Norwich, Sheffield, Cheltenham, Wolverhampton,
Snape, Leicester, Exeter, Canterbury, Buxton, Durham and Perth,
with further venues to be announced.

Also touring: Shackleton’s Cat, a new opera for 7-11 year olds and their families;
and Waxwings, a new opera for children with special educational needs.

English Touring Opera has announced details of its Spring 2015 season,
which features rare bel canto gems by Donizetti, a Puccini favourite,
and two new operas for young people.

The season opens at Hackney Empire from Saturday 7 March to Saturday 14 March 2015,
with new productions of Donizetti’s The Wild Man of the West Indies
(Il furioso all’isola di San Domingo) and Puccini’s La Bohème,
together with a revival of ETO’s Spring 2013 production of Donizetti’s
The Siege of Calais (L’assedio di Calais).  

The operas then tour to
'Hall for Cornwall' in Truro, 'Lighthouse' Poole, 'Theatre Royal' Norwich , Sheffield Theatres, 'Everyman Theatre' Cheltenham, 'Grand Theatre' Wolverhampton, 'The Maltings' Snape,
'Curve Theatre' Leicester, 'Northcott Theatre' Exeter, 'The Marlowe Theatre' Canterbury,
'Opera House' Buxton, 'Gala Theatre' Durham and 'Concert Hall' Perth,
with further dates to be announced.

They are joined by Shackleton’s Cat and Waxwings, two new operas for young people,
to be performed in schools, libraries and studio theatre spaces.

Donizetti’s The Wild Man of the West Indies (Il furioso all’isola di San Domingo) was given its première performance in Rome in 1833 and became hugely successful before vanishing from the repertoire until the late 20th century. ETO’s new production marks both the opera’s first staging in the UK and first tour on this scale anywhere in the world in the modern era.

The libretto by Jacopo Ferretti is based on a play by an unknown author, but ultimately derives from an episode of CervantesDon Quixote. Unusually for its time, the plot centres on a male victim of spousal infidelity: After his wife Eleonora is unfaithful, Cardenio flees for an island in the West Indies, where he loses his senses and his mind.

"The Wild Man of the West Indies" features a love story of huge psychological depth, and a host of beautiful bel canto arias. ETO’s new production is sung in Italian with English surtitles, directed by Iqbal Khan, and the conductor is Jeremy Silver. Craig Smith stars in the title role, with Sally Silver as Eleonora and Nicholas Sharratt as Cardenio’s brother Fernando.

La Bohème was last taken on tour by English Touring Opera over ten years ago.
Puccini’s masterpiece is on tour in Spring 2015 in a new production directed by James Conway.
Ilona Domnich and Paula Sides share the role of Mimi, with David Butt Philip as Rodolfo,
Grant Doyle as Marcello and Sky Ingram as Musetta. Michael Rosewell conducts ETO’s orchestra.

"La Bohème" also features the work of Linbury Prize-winning designer Florence de Maré, who is designing the sets and costumes for both this production and The Wild Man of the West Indies.

The Siege of Calais (L’assedio di Calais) enjoyed its first ever UK professional tour as part of ETO’s Spring 2013 season. Constructed of bel canto arias and ensembles of extraordinary quality, "The Siege of Calais" tells the story of the burghers of Calais who offer up their lives to save their city from the besieging English army. Their sacrifice culminates in one of the most moving ensembles in all of opera, the momentous O sacra polve, o suol natio (O Sacred Dust, O Native Land).

Sung in Italian with English surtitles, "The Siege of Calais" features designs by Faroese artist Samal Blak, inspired by the siege of Stalingrad. The production is again directed by James Conway, and the conductor is Jeremy Silver. The opera’s third act has long been considered less than perfect and has sometimes been dropped, including by the composer himself; as with its inaugural tour in 2013,  ETO’s production presents a two act version.

ETO’s Spring 2015 season also continues the company’s record of touring new operas for younger audiences, with singers and players drawn from the cast and orchestra of the main-stage productions.

Shackleton’s Cat is based on the true story of the tabby cat that accompanied Ernest Shackleton’s 1914-17 Antartic expedition. Designed for children aged 7-11, the opera incorporates elements of the geography and history curricula, and is complemented by a Teacher’s Pack for schools.

Waxwings is ETO’s new opera for children with severe learning difficulties. Based on the story of flight and the myth of Icarus, the highly interactive piece brings together singing with a combination of live accompaniment and recorded electronic music.

Tickets for the ETO Spring 2015 tour go on sale throughout summer and autumn 2014.
Further dates and tour venues to be announced -  for latest confirmed tour dates please visit

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