Saturday, 29 October 2011

What's going on away from Covent Garden? Quite a lot apparently!

For me the Royal Opera is the best place to see opera in the UK. This is based on me having only ever seen two operas outside of Covent Garden...which is pretty rubbish really! Reading through an old Guardian supplement from earlier this year I stumbled across an excellent listings section at the back, detailing opera taking place across the UK. Yes - believe it or not you can see opera outside of London! Having had a look through, I've picked out some of the places where I think you can catch a good opera in 2011/12.


Based in Leeds, Opera North also tours around the country.

Madame Butterfly (Puccini); Queen of Spades (Tchaikovsky) - I think both are touring around the UK at the moment, including Newcastle, Leeds, Nottingham and the Barbican in London. The Queen of Spades recently received some pretty good reviews in the Guardian and Telegraph.  Both operas are recommended by the Guardian as being good for first timers - I can vouch for Madame Butterfly.

Reviews of Queen of Spades:

Scottish Opera (scottishopera.co.uk)

Not really familiar with this company, but they tour round Scotland. Productions of The Barber of Seville (until November) and Tosca (May/June 12) might be worth checking out.

Welsh National Opera (wno.org.uk)

I've not seen a WNO production, but I've heard really good things. Based at Cardiff's Millennium Centre, but also touring around the country. 

They have a pretty good season this year including The Barber of Seville (Rossini) and Don Giovanni (Mozart), both touring until December 1st. Both are worth checking out as a first opera. Early in 2012 they will be staging La Traviata (Verdi) - and absolute must for anyone interested in any sort of music! It's in Cardiff from 11th February until 3rd March - then it goes on tour until 20th April. Seriously try and catch this if you can! In addition to this they have Mozart's Marriage of Figaro, running over the same dates in Cardiff and then touring. An interesting addition is Wagner's Tristan and Isolde - this will be in Cardiff in May/June and the Birmingham on 16th June. The season ends with Puccini's La Boheme from 1-9 June in Cardiff and then 13-15th June in Birmingham.

Other companies

The above would be my pick based on what they're staging this season. Below are a few others worth checking out:

Birmingham Opera Company (birminghamoperacompany.org.uk);
British Youth Opera (byo.org.uk);
English Touring Opera (englishtouringopera.org.uk);
Glyndebourne Touring Opera (glyndebourne.com);
Mid Wales Opera (midwalesopera.co.uk);
OperaUpClose (kingsheadtheatre.com) - I've seen a production of Madame Butterfly at this Islington pub in north London - it was pretty good too!;

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