Leading opera company returns

Paula Sides. Photo GoW.
Paula Sides. Photo GoW.

The UK’s leading touring opera company returns to Crawley this April with two new productions of operas by Mozart and Verdi.

English Touring Opera’s spring 2013 touring season is at The Hawth Crawley, from Tuesday 2 – Wednesday 3 April.

The season focuses on storytelling through ‘bel canto’, beautiful singing, with new productions of Mozart’s Così fan tutte and Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra. Both operas are performed in full costume and with a full orchestra.

Così fan tutte is in many ways Mozart’s most perfect opera score. In one day fiancés are parted, and new fiancés found – or so it seems.Discovering they are not at all the people they thought they were is strange, exciting, and very embarrassing.

Mozart’s opera, directed by Paul Higgins and conducted by James Burton, is sung in English by a remarkable cast, including Laura Mitchell, Kitty Whately (Rosina in ETO’s The Barber of Seville in Spring 2012) and Paula Sides, in period costume and an elegant, pastoral set.

One of Verdi’s greatest operas, Simon Boccanegra has a score inspired by the sea. It is the master’s most intimate opera, revised with care at the end of his life – but it also calls for the largest company ETO has fielded to date, in its first new Verdi production for several years.

Directed by James Conway and conducted by Michael Rosewell, the outstanding cast features Craig Smith in the title role, Keel Watson as his father in law Fiesco and rising star Elizabeth Llewellyn singing Amelia. ETO’s production is sung in Italian with English surtitles. with designs inspired by the Anni di piombo or ‘Years of Lead’- a period of political turmoil in Italy in the 1960s and 1970s.

James Conway, ETO’s General Director, said: ‘Our plans in 2013 are very ambitious, but we have prepared for them for some time. In terms of imagery there is a theme running through them of people in cities governed by the sea; mostly, though, our season reflects the diversity and richness of opera.’

Così fan tutte comes to The Hawth on Tuesday 2 April, and Simon Boccanegra is performed on Wednesday 3 April. Both performances start at 7.30pm, with tickets ranging from £19.50-£28. Tickets and further information: 01293 553636 / www.hawth.co.uk.