Classical Preview: Treble chance of opera as company goes on tour

“We work in many different theatres, some better than others, the Sheffield Lyceum being a particular favourite with our artists as it is so easy to work in, has excellent acoustics, and we would like to be there on longer visits,” says James Conway, the English Touring Opera’s general director, ahead of their spring tour that will see the company in Sheffield and Buxton with three very different operas.

“I would hope that in these difficult financial times ETO will be seen as a model for others to follow. We are not a top-heavy company, our low cost base is able to deliver a high quality product to a wide audience spread through much of the country.

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“What we offer comes in two massive containers, with everything the theatre needs to stage our highly acclaimed performances. There are no crazily extravagant productions as we believe in investing in the 75 people on tour with us, so that you will have top-quality singers and a full orchestra. Our arrival at a venue also brings with it our commitment to local schools. We probably offer the only exposure many children will ever have to be with opera singers. This time we are bringing two of Puccini’s one-act operas, the dark and dramatic story of infidelity in Il Tabarro, which I think is one of his finest, and in Gianni Schicchi, he gave us one of the few genuinely funny operas.

“The other is a fresh look at Mozart’s La Climenzo di Tito, a story that is particularly apt in the world’s present political turmoil, and would make a fine introduction for those new to opera.”

Sheffield Lyceum April 11 & 12, 7.45pm, 0114 249 6000; Buxton Opera House, May 5 & 6, 7.30pm, 0845 127 2190.