Ambitious operas lined up

Emily-Jane Thomas (Third Boy), Laura Kelly (Second Boy), Abigail Kelly (First Boy), English Touring Opera // Mozart, The Magic Flute. Photo: Robert Workman.
Emily-Jane Thomas (Third Boy), Laura Kelly (Second Boy), Abigail Kelly (First Boy), English Touring Opera // Mozart, The Magic Flute. Photo: Robert Workman.
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English Touring Opera is kicking off its most ambitious season yet with a visit to Sheffield with two productions of acclaimed operas by Mozart and Tippett, plus two operas for young people.

The company’s season, themed on Ancient and Modern Myths, begins tomorrow with Mozart’s final opera, The Magic Flute.

It’s a favourite show whose wit and charm has enchanted music and theatre lovers of all ages for hundreds of years.

Like all of ETO’s main stage productions this spring, it is sung in full costume with an orchestral accompaniment.

The opera tells the tale of a terrifying and joyful journey in pursuit of love, wisdom and happiness, with a beautiful score ranging from the show-stopping arias of the Queen of the Night to jolly folk tunes.

The famous overture gets things going at a fair pace.

ETO is reviving Liam Steel’s glamorous production, first performed in 2009.

ETO’s visit continues on Saturday with the British composer Michael Tippett’s opera King Priam, a tale of gods and men, character and destiny set in the world of classical myth in the besieged city of Troy.

A memorable meditation on the role of fatherhood and the futility of war, King Priam is a prime example of British opera at its best.

Alongside the two operas at the Lyceum Theatre, ETO will also perform two new operas for young people in local schools. Borka, the Goose with No Feathers is a new opera for children aged three to seven, based on the book by John Burningham, and Rumbled is the latest in a series of operas written for children with severe learning difficulties. The interactive piece is loosely based on the fairy tale, Rumpelstiltskin.

Borka is on at Riverside Library Heritage and Arts, Rotherham, at 1.30pm on Saturday. Tickets: 01709 823606.

Rumbled is being performed for pupils at Norfolk Park Primary School tomorrow afternoon.

ETO general director James Conway said: “This season is full of challenges for us, but I am really excited about it.”

He added: ‘There is something thrilling about being on the edge of what you can do; part of it is the feeling that you need the goodwill of the audience to make it happen.”

n Lyceum box office: www.sheffieldtheatres.co.uk or call 0114 249 6000,