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English Touring Opera comes to Spa Centre

Rossini’s Il viaggio a Reims

Preview: English Touring Opera presents two brand new productions of Donizetti’s Lucrezia Borgia and Rossini’s Il viaggio a Reims in Spring 2023. Spring season also includes a revival of the acclaimed 2020 production of Handel’s Giulio Cesare

Handel – Giulio Cesare: Friday 19 May, 7.30pm – Royal Spa Centre, Leamington Spa

Donizetti – Lucrezia Borgia: Saturday 20 May, 7.30pm – Royal Spa Centre, Leamington Spa

English Touring Opera (ETO) presents its first season under the leadership of new General Director Robin Norton-Hale in Spring 2023, with a national tour of three deeply contrasting operas. The Spring 2023 season features two new productions of operas never before staged by ETO – Donizetti’s Lucrezia Borgia and Rossini’s Il viaggio a Reims, each directed by women staging their first productions with ETO, as well as a revival of one of Handel’s most beloved works, Giulio Cesare. The tour will take outstanding productions to audiences in 14 locations across England, making live opera accessible and available to all.

Period-instrument specialists The Old Street Band will play for all three operas, the first time the operas by Donizetti and Rossini have toured in the UK with a period instrument orchestra.

Donizetti’s tragedy Lucrezia Borgiais

Donizetti’s tragedy Lucrezia Borgiais staged for the first time by ETO, in a new production directed by Eloise Lally, making her ETO directorial debut. A thrilling and moving meditation on power and motherhood, Lucrezia Borgia is the tragedy of a complex woman in a dangerous situation. In Lucrezia Donizetti created one of opera’s great antiheroines, as well as one of the most challenging roles in the soprano repertoire. Paula Sides stars in the title role, with Thomas Elwin as Gennaro, Katie Coventry as Orsini and Aidan Edwards as Alfonso, and ETO Music Director Gerry Cornelius conducts.

The tour also features a new production of Rossini’s Il viaggio a Reims, another first for ETO. Intrigue, politics, romance and lost luggage all play their part in Rossini’s last Italian opera, as a group of entitled guests from all over Europe are stranded in a provincial hotel on their way to a great coronation. Featuring a cast of 27 - one of the largest ever assembled by ETO - the production includes a host of talented young singers including Lucy Hall as Madame Cortese, Luci Briginshaw as Contessa di Folleville, Susanna Hurrell as Corinna and Julian Henao Gonzalez as Conte di Lebenskopf. Valentina Ceschi, who directed ETO’s online opera The Firebird to great acclaim in 2022, makes her ETO theatrical directorial debut, and ETO Artist in Association Jonathan Peter Kenny conducts.

Handel’s most loved operas, Giulio Cesare.

One of Handel’s most loved operas, Giulio Cesare, also returns for the tour in a revival of ETO’s acclaimed and popular 2017 production, with a planned 2020 revival curtailed by the pandemic. James Conway returns to direct, and Susanna Hurrell reprises her role as Cleopatra, with Cesare sung by countertenor Francis Gush, Cornelia by Carolyn Dobbin and Sesto by Margo Arsane. Sergey Rybin conducts The Old Street Band in some of Handel’s finest music.

Robin Norton-Hale, General Director of ETO, said: “This hugely ambitious season demands virtuosic singing and exceptional dramatic ability from our casts, in stories encompassing farce, social satire, political intrigue and epic tragedy. We’re delighted to be working with two outstanding directors to present two operas ETO has never staged before. It will be the first time these operas have been performed at all of our tour venues, and it’s even more of a treat to hear them performed on period instruments. Audiences can expect musical and dramatic fireworks!”

For details and tickets go to:


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