Double bill of ambitious ETO opera

ETO production of King Priam, Lyceum Theatre, April 2014
ETO production of King Priam, Lyceum Theatre, April 2014

English Touring Opera (ETO) visits the Lyceum this weekend with what it says is its most ambitious season yet, with two full-scale productions of acclaimed operas by Mozart and Tippett, and two operas for young people.

The company’s season, themed around Ancient and Modern Myths, begins on Friday with Mozart’s final opera The Magic Flute, whose wit and charm has enchanted music and theatre lovers of all ages for hundreds of years.

The opera tells the tale of a terrifying and joyful journey in pursuit of love, wisdom and happiness. A beautiful score ranges from the show-stopping arias of the Queen of the Night to jolly folk tunes.

ETO is reviving Liam Steel’s glamorous production, first performed in 2009.

The visit continues on Saturday with Michael Tippett’s opera King Priam, a tale of gods and men, character and destiny, set in the world of classical myth in the besieged city of Troy.

It is a memorable meditation on the role of fatherhood and the futility of war.

ETO is also performing two new operas for young people in local schools.

Borka, the Goose with No Feathers is a new opera for children aged three to seven, based on the famous book by John Burningham, and Rumbled is the latest in a series of operas written for children with severe learning difficulties.

Borka is on at Riverside Library Heritage and Arts, Rotherham at 1.30pm on Saturday. Tickets: 01709 823606.

Rumbled is being performed at Norfolk Park Primary School tomorrow.

ETO’s general director James Conway said: ‘This season is full of challenges for us, but I am really excited about it.

“There is something thrilling about being on the edge of what you can do; part of it is the feeling that you need the good will of the audience to make it happen.”

Lyceum box office: www.sheffieldtheatres.co.uk or call 0114 249 6000,