Hunt for pet pooch to get its paws on role in opera at Sheffield theatre

Ellen Kent's La Boheme - Sorin Lupa as Rodolfo and Elena Dee as Mimi
Ellen Kent's La Boheme - Sorin Lupa as Rodolfo and Elena Dee as Mimi
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Has your pet pooch got the star quality to ‘take the lead’ in an opera?

An award-winning opera director and producer is looking for a dog which can get its paws on a role in a forthcoming production in Sheffield.

Ellen Kent's La Boheme is coming to Sheffield City Hall - and looking for a dog to take part.

Ellen Kent's La Boheme is coming to Sheffield City Hall - and looking for a dog to take part.

It sounds barking mad but if your dog isn’t a complete howler, it could win a place in the spotlight in romantic opera La Bohème, coming to Sheffield City Hall on February 9.

International soloists have been selected from across the world to join the celebrated Chisinau National Opera and Philharmonic Orchestra’s spring tour, and the final role to be cast is that of Muzetta’s pet dog.

Director and producer Ellen Kent said: “People say never work with children or animals but I love to do both. The first time was 20 years ago when my pet cat Holly Go-Lightly was in one of my productions and was an instant hit. Since then we’ve had horses, goldfish and even a golden eagle with a 6ft wingspan on stage.

“Many years ago, when we last did La Bohème and asked local people to volunteer their pets, it was a huge success. We even used a rescue dog once and found him dozens of new owners!

“We’re a nation of animal lovers after all. I’m sure there is plenty of doggie talent out there.”

Your pet needs to be well behaved and small – and, as his owner, you will need to be prepared to go onstage in costume to look after him or her.

Sung in Italian with English surtitles, La Bohème is based on Henri Murger’s novel Scenes de la vie de boheme and focuses on the love between seamstress Mimi and poet Rodolfo.

After falling in love instantly, Rodolfo later leaves Mimi due to her flirtatious behaviour, although he is wracked by guilt since their life together has probably worsened Mimi’s delicate constitution.

In true tragic opera fashion, the pair reunite briefly – before Mimi dies.

To audition your pooch, send a photograph to Sadie Williams at sadie@ellenkent.co.uk. Include your contact number and address as well as the breed, height, weight, age and name of your dog. If you are successful, you will be contacted a week before the performance.

Tickets for the opera are available from the box office on 0114 2789789 or Sheffield City Hall