Thursday 17 October 2013

ETO's Laika the Spacedog wins two Best Production awards at international opera festival

Laika the Spacedog - photo Robert Workman
English Touring Opera's opera for young people Laika the Spacedog (which I reviewed in January 2013) has won two awards at the Armel Opera Competition, part of the Armel Opera Festival in Szeged, Hungary. In a remarkable feat for an opera made for Primary Schools, the opera won the International Jury Prize for Best Production and the University of Szeged prize for Best Production. In winning the International Jury Prize for Best Production the production saw off competition from productions of Stravinsky’s Oedipus Rex, Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra and Britten’s The Turn of the Screw; the first ever British opera and the first opera for children to win the Armel Opera Competition’s prize for Best Production. (Follow the Read more link to see a video of the performance).

ETO's Laika the Spacedog was directed by Tim Yealland and composed by Russell Heppelwhite. The production was performed in Szeged, and streamed live on the TV Network ARTE, on Monday 14 October 2013. Two of the roles in the opera were performed by Nicholas Rigas and Sarah Laulan, singers competing in the festival in their own right. The award ceremony took place on Tuesday 15 October.

Laika the Spacedog is a children’s opera that tells the story of Laika, the Russian mongrel discovered in Gorky Park in Moscow in 1957, and destined to become the first animal in orbit. The show opened with a sell-out week of performances at the Science Museum in London, before touring to schools and theatres across the country alongside ETO’s full-length Spring 2013 operas. The production was awarded the PRS David Bedford Music Education Award in 2013 as an exceptional music education project for primary school children and family audiences.

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