The acclaimed operas of award-winning opera producer Ellen Kent return to the Manchester Opera House this Autumn for two nights only.  Ellen Kent productions are renowned for their spectacular visuals, from the stunning set designs through to the intricate costumes. Audiences are captivated from beginning to end through the music they hear and the breathtaking scenes before them.

For Autumn 2015, Manchester Opera House plays host to two of Kent’s most popular productions. Puccini’s Tosca will be performed on Friday 27 November, while audiences can see Bizet’s Carmen on Saturday 28 November.  Both operas feature a host of international soloists, highly praised chorus and support of full orchestra.

Kent has been producing highly acclaimed operas for the past 24 years. The two Manchester dates form part of a sensational new season and countrywide tour which features over 90 dates.

Her productions are renowned for their high production values, stunning set design which truly capture the architectural backdrop of each of the beautiful cityscapes, lavish costumes and incredible pyrotechnic displays and lighting effects which all combine to deliver an exceptional visual and musical masterpiece for audiences.

PUCCINI’S TOSCA

Vladimir Dragos returns as Scarpia

Puccini’s Tosca is an epic tale of true love and treachery featuring torture, murder and suicide alongside some of opera’s best-known music. Vladimir Dragos returns to sing his most famous role of Scarpia after his acclaimed portrayal of Rigoletto on Ellen Kent’s last tour. Maria Tonina and Alyona Kistenyova will be singing Floria Tosca.

Brilliantly sung by Vladimir Dragos The Times

 Set in Rome and based on a play by Victorian Sardou, it was once described as a “shabby little shocker”. Opera diva Floria Tosca fears for the fidelity of her lover Mario, only to discover that it is the Baron Scarpia’s lust for her that endangers that love. A complex agreement of bargains and bluffs follow, to the detriment of all, with a truly tragic ending.

In preparation for the current tour and her new staging of Tosca, Ellen took a trip to Puccini’s house in Italy.

Ellen explained:It was quite magical. I didn’t think it would be quite so inspiring. It was almost eerie – exactly as you would imagine Puccini to have created, with beautiful memorabilia everywhere. There were his shoes and clothes and pipes and all the models of his operas and his actual scores with all his notes on them. My productions are always rather beautiful and I suddenly realised that in my view, I have been doing what Puccini would have liked and wanted. It felt like meeting somebody I knew.”

This most popular of operas, with its tender and moving arias Recondita Armonia, Vissi d’Arte and E Lucevan le Stelle, is a heady mixture of true love, torture and treachery, with two of the best roles for tenor and soprano, plus a pure evil villain as the baritone.

The shows also feature local children from local stage schools and include a boys’ choir and a shepherd boy’s solo.

‘…the solos are simply stunningEdinburgh Evening News

BIZET’S CARMEN

Starring international Bulgarian mezzo-soprano Nadezhda Stoianova as Carmen – featuring Caspian a majestic white Andalucian stallion

Carmen is the story of the bewitching gypsy girl whose tantalising beauty lures a soldier to desertion and leads to her own murder. Stunning international mezzo-soprano Zarui Vardanean who received critical acclaim for performances of Carmen in 2013 and Aida in 2014, together with Liza Kadelnik will sing the title role of Carmen.

The role of Michaela will be sang by Maria Tonina who returns after spectacular success in Traviata and Rigoletto and Alyona Kistenyova who gained rapturous reviews from her debut as Madama Butterfly earlier this year. Iurie Gisca returns to the role of Escamillo after playing to excellent reviews in 2013.

The opera includes some of the most evocative and best-loved melodies in opera –The Habanera, The Seguidilla, The Flower Song, The Chanson Bohème and perhaps the best-known baritone aria of all The Toreador’s Song. With a brand new set which reflects the stunning architecture of Seville and its main square with Roman and Moorish influences.

Carmen also features a spectacular dance sequence by Caspian the stallion, ridden by Joe Butcher from AB Films and the special guest star, a donkey. Ellen’s mother ran the Spanish equivalent of the RSPCA which saved the lives of many donkeys and to continue this good work Ellen has included a donkey from various sanctuaries to help them raise money.

Ellen has performed many exciting productions of Carmen in her 24 years of being an opera producer, from an outdoor performance in the beautiful grounds of Leeds Castle in Kent, to the visit to the Middle East in 2004 where she entertained the Emir of Qatar and 3,500 Royal guests for the first ever performance of Carmen to be performed in the Gulf, screened live on Al Jazeera Television.

“Impassioned and sultry” The Observer, Fiona Maddocks

 “It is a stunning show, worth five stars all the way through” Brighton Argus 

LISTING INFORMATION

TOSCA

Friday 27 November 2015

Manchester Opera House

Tickets £17.90 – £57.40 / Concessions available

Book online by visiting http://www.atgtickets.com/venues/opera-house-manchester/

Box office number 0844 871 3018 / Group bookings 0844 871 3038

CARMEN

Saturday 28 November 2015

Manchester Opera House

Tickets £17.90 – £57.40 / Concessions availableBook online by visiting http://www.atgtickets.com/venues/opera-house-manchester/

Box office number 0844 871 3018 / Group bookings 0844 871 3038

 

Visit www.ellenkent.com for more information about the tour.

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