Opera at the Grand

The English Touring Opera Company is returning to Lancashire for the first time in five years, and bringing La bohème to Blackpool for the first time in a decade. The Olivier Award winning company will be performing Puccini’s opera on Monday 11 May with a rare performance of Donizetti’s The Siege of Calais being shown on the Tuesday.

This production of La bohème features a twenty-five piece live orchestra and will also introduce the audience to a delightful choir from Blackpool school, St Nicholas’ Church of England Primary. The children will be appearing as a chorus of street urchins.

La boheme
La boheme

La bohème is performed in full costume and sung in Italian with full English subtitles. The story involves young lovers Mimi and Rodolfo who are acquainted on Christmas Eve in a Parisian garret. The two lovers become close on the snowy eve of Christmas, yet poverty and ill-health pull them apart.

Donizetti’s Siege of Calais narrates the story of the citizens of Calais who offer their lives to save Calais from the besieging English army. This sacrifice gives way to possibly one of opera’s most moving arrangements; O sacra polve, o suol nation (O sacred Earth).

“La bohème is the ideal first opera and one to which everyone loves to return – a nostalgic look at the pathos and folly of youth,” says James Conway, General Director of English Touring Opera, and The Siege of Calais is “a testament of extraordinary power and beauty to those who resist and recognise value in a city or a family under threat.”

The Siege of Calais
The Siege of Calais

The English Touring Opera’s Head of Marketing, John Holmes, who was born and raised in Lancashire, said: “In the years we’ve not been coming to the North West, we’ve always felt it was a big gap in our touring schedule, especially as several of the ETO team are from the region, and dearly wanted to bring our operas back there. The Grand is as beautiful a theatre as we’ll ever get to play, and it’s a perfect environment for all the thrills, sensations and intensity of a top class opera performance.”

Alongside these two classical operas there will be two further performances this season whereby more local schools will benefit from the English Touring Opera. Shackleton’s Cat, a new opera designed for children aged between seven and eleven, is performed at Boundary Primary School and Anchorsholme Primary Academy. It is based on the true story of the tabby cat which accompanied Ernest Shackleton’s 1914-16 Antarctic expedition. This opera incorporates elements of the geography and history curriculum as well as interactive songs.

Waxwings, a new production, will be performed at Highfurlong School. This is an interactive opera designed to help children with severe special educational needs and is based on the story of flight and the myth of Icarus, who flew too close to the sun.

Both these operas are testament to the English Touring Opera’s record of working with younger audiences. For more information regarding any of these operas please contact the Grand Theatre for booking information phone 01253 290 190 or visit the website.

Tickets: £32.50, £26.50, £22.50, £16.50

Concessions: £3 off.

Under 26s: £10 tickets.

Student Stampede offer: £6 on the day (capped at 60 tickets)

Multibuy: Book both shows, get 25% off.

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    Local artist, (painting, drawing, collage, and occasional photography, (for reference), of landscape, and abstract, in oil, acrylic, and any other medium which captures my imagination. Contributor, and writer for altBlackpool. Collector, of sometimes anything, but mostly pot, and ceramics.

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