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English Touring Opera in Norwich

© Richard Hubert Smith

A programme of contrasts is promised mixing tragedy, comedy and work by two of the greatest composers as English Touring Opera returns to Norwich Theatre Royal.

The company presents an epic story of love and a double-bill mixing murder and many laughs for its Spring visit to the city.

The curtain goes up on The Marriage Of Figaro on May 3 and 4. This energetic new production of the Mozart classic tells the story of Figaro and Susanna who have to overcome every obstacle put in their way by Count Almaviva and his cronies before they can be married.

It is being directed by the highly-regarded Blanche McIntyre who has won a number of awards as well as directing a host of highly-regarded productions including The Norman Conquests for Chichester Festival Theatre, Titus Andronicus for the Royal Shakespeare Company, and plays for Shakespeare’s Globe and Manchester Royal Exchange.

Taking on the lead role is Ross Ramgobin, who has been nominated for the What’s On Stage Breakthrough In Opera Awards, and studied at London’s Royal Academy of Music. He has sung for the Royal Opera in London, the Edinburgh and Aldeburgh Festivals, the International Handel Festival, and played Archibald Grosvenor for English Touring Opera’s production of Patience.

Starring opposite him as Susanna is Scottish soprano Rachel Redmond who discovered her love of singing with the Junior Chorus of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra at seven. She studied at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama where she was awarded the Florence Veitch Ibler prize for oratorio performance and she has performed worldwide in France, the US and in London, as well as previously singing in East Anglia in Handel’s Saul at Aldeburgh.

Then on May 5, English Touring Opera presents a double-bill of operas by Puccini which are very different. Il Tabarro is a moody romance which follows the story of barge-owner Michele and his much-younger wife Georgetta, who is falling out of love with him and begins a torrid affair with a dock-worker leading to jealousy and death.

They will also bring Gianni Schicchi to the stage which is a sparkling comedy set in Florence about a family inheritance.

English Touring Opera’s general director James Conway will be directing Il Tabarro, while Gianni Schicchi is directed by Liam Steel whose previous credits include several operas, Barnum for Chichester Festival Theatre, and the musical staging for the BAFTA and Olivier Award-winning film version of Les Misérables.

John Bultitude, of Norwich Theatre Royal, said this programme will provide a range of different experiences for opera lovers. An exciting and dynamic new production of The Marriage Of Figaro is going to be a real treat and Blanche McIntyre’s strong creative track record makes her an ideal person to inject even more passion, energy and emotion in Mozart’s work, meanwhile Puccini is known for being a composer who appeals directly to the heart. The contrasting operas being presented in Norwich will ably demonstrate his mastery of that.”

English Touring Opera will be at the Norwich Theatre Royal Thursday 3rd – Saturday 5th May at 7.30pm.

Tickets £10-£37.50. Discounts for Friends, Corporate Club and Groups. Saver Scheme available – buy a full price ticket in Bands A or B for Figaro and get the same price ticket for the Puccini double bill. 

Pre-performance talks will take place in the Targetfollow Room at 6.30pm. Tickets are free but must be booked in advance.

To book, log onto www.theatreroyalnorwich.co.uk or call the box office on 01603 630000.