Two of Opera’s epic productions are coming to Manchester at the beginning of March, courtesy of award winning producer Ellen Kent.
Jealousy, revenge, hopeless romance, vibrant carnivals and a breathtaking wall of fire bring Puccini’s La Boheme and Verdi’s Aida to life in her new tour, which calls in at Manchester Opera House in just four weeks’ time on 1st – 2nd March.
Pyrotechnic displays and lighting effects help bring Ellen’s love of large scale productions to the local stage, complete with stunning scenery depicting the beautiful Parisian cityscape and bohemian art and the splendour and mystery of ancient Egypt.
Ellen Kent said: “I feel I can indulge myself in these operas. I try my best to give the audience the feeling of something epic.”
The celebrated Chisinau National Opera and Philharmonic Orchestra, with international guest soloists, visit the Opera House in Manchester on March 1 (La Boheme) and March 2 (Aida) 2014.
La Boheme, based on Henri Murger’s novel Scenes de la vie de boheme, 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 at the end before Mimi dies.
Ellen said: “The scene when Mimi and Rodolfo meet and she sings They Call Me Mimi always makes me cry. It’s a lovely piece of music. I try to do opera that the audience can emotionally connect with, not just on a musical level but with the personal drama happening on the stage.”
Ellen’s production of Aida includes temple dancers, ballet sequences, and beautiful pillared sets with intricate tomb paintings, Bedouin dancers, a bathing scene and the ceremonial march with a pyrotechnic display where a wall of fire extends across the stage in a massive burst of flames.
Amazing poi fire spinners come out of the firewall with a dazzling display of fire wheels and live flames to mark the jubilant celebrations of the classic Triumphal march. About 40 local dancers, children and adults, join the 80-strong cast as slaves and soldiers on stage.
The tale focusses on Ethiopian princess Aida, who is captured and brought into slavery in Egypt. Military commander Radames falls in love with Aida and struggles between his feeling for her and his loyalty to the Pharaoh. Pharaoh’s daughter Amneris also loves Radames and they are due to be wed, although Radames still yearns for Aida, who persuades him to flee into the desert with her. But Radames is found out and surrenders, condemned to be entombed alive. As he is sealed into the vault, he discovers Aida has hidden herself there so they can be together in death.
Ellen continues: “Basically, it’s the big one. The biggest, most spectacular opera. In my opinion, it’s the best score Verdi ever wrote. It’s exotic and interesting and the music is simply spectacular. Even now, it’s my ambition to stage Aida on the banks of the Nile with a cast of thousands.”
The tour features celebrated international soloists sopranos Elena Dee, introducing Olga Perrier and with tenors Sorin Lupu and Petru Marcello to perform.
Puccini’s La Boheme
Sat 1 March 2014, 7.30pm
Sun 2 March 2014, 7.30pm
Manchester Opera House, Quay St, Manchester, M3 3HP
Tickets £17.90 – £43.40
Plus £4.00 transaction fee*
Tickets are on sale now from the box office on 0844 871 3018 or go online at www.atgtickets.com/venues/opera-house-manchester