Wednesday, 28 January 2015

ETO goes French this Autumn

Eddie Wade, Helen Sherman and ensemble in L'Assedio di Calais English Touring Opera 2013,  photography Richard Hubert Smith
Eddie Wade, Helen Sherman and ensemble in
English Touring Opera's 2013 L'Assedio di Calais
photography Richard Hubert Smith
English Touring Opera has announced details of its Autumn 2015 tour, when the company will be performing a programme of three French operas, Debussy's Pelleas et Melisande, Massenet's Werther and Offenbach's The Tales of Hoffman. All three will be performed versions for reduced orchestration, thus giving us a more intimate take on three masterpieces. The tour commences in October 2015 at the Britten Theatre, Royal College of Music, London.

Debussy's Pelleas et Melisande will be sung in French and performed in an arrangement by the Belgian composer Annelies van Parys. The work will be directed by James Conway, artistic director of English Touring Opera, with Jonathan McGovern (Sid in ENO's Girl of the Golden West) as Pelleas, Paula Sides (who shares role of Mimi in the forthcoming ETO tour, and who sang Poppea in ETO's Coronation of Poppea in 2013) as Melisande and Stephan Loges as Golaud.

Massenet's Werther will sung in French, and will be conducted by Iain Farrington, using Farrington's new arrangement of the score for salon ensemble. The instrumental ensemble will be on-stage with the singers, and the production is directed by Oliver Platt (who directed the recent Barber of Seville at Opera Holland Park). Carolyn Dobbin (who impressed as Fatima in New Sussex Opera's recent Oberon) sings Charlotte, with Simon Wallfisch as Albert (Wallfisch sang the role in the Grimeborn Festival production). They will be using the baritone version of the opera (which Massenet prepared so that Battistini could perform the role) with the title role being taken by Ed Ballard.

Offenbach's The Tales of Hoffman will be performed in English, and conducted by Philip Sunderland. Sam Furness (who recently made is ENO debut in Girl of the Golden West) sings the title role with Ilona Domnich (who shares role of Mimi in the forthcoming ETO tour, and who sang Melisande at Grimeborn in 2013) as the three heroines and Louise Mott as Niklausse. The production is directed by James Bonas.

All three productions are designed by Oliver Townsend with lighting by Mark Howland. After opening in London they will tour to Buxton, Durham, Harrogate, Cambridge, Bath and Snape with more dates to be announced. ETO's Spring 2015 tour commences in March at the Hackney Empire, with Donizetti's Siege of Calais, Donizetti's The Wild Man of the West Indies and Puccini's La Boheme.

Further information from the English Touring Opera website.

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