Outdoor production at Kelham Island from Sheffield company Opera on Location

This August sees the highly-anticipated return of Sheffield's only professional opera company, Opera on Location, with their modern, uplifting and poignant portrayal of a family reunion in Debussy’s The Prodigal Son.

Monday, 14th June 2021, 12:04 pm
Recording day for an online production of Cinderella which was created by Opera on Location during the pandemic
Recording day for an online production of Cinderella which was created by Opera on Location during the pandemic

This summer the innovative company are inviting audiences to Kelham Island Museum for an open-air production that they say is guaranteed to fill audiences with “joy, happiness and the tantalising smell of barbecue”.

The show is set on a hot summer's day and Lia laments the breakdown of her family whilst preparing to celebrate her 50th birthday.

She reflects on the rift between her husband, Siméon, and her son Azaël, who left home after his parents rejected him when he came out. However, Azaël has decided it is time to return and confront his parents.

This modern interpretation of the opera will not only feature a newly-commissioned English libretto written by the production’s director, Ashley Pearson, but will also include a 10-piece instrumental ensemble that will really bring the music to life.

The ensemble will premiere a new orchestration of the piece by Sheffield-based arranger and orchestrator, George Morton.

Tickets go on sale Friday (June 18). For details and to book, visit www.operaonlocation.co.uk

Puccini’s opera, La Bohème, was staged at the Graves Gallery by Opera on Location. Picture during rehearsals are Andrea Tweedale, Chloe Saywell, Gareth Lloyd, Aiden Edwards and Matthew Palmer

It is no secret that the last year has been hard on the arts but that has not stopped Kathryn Gasic and Gareth Lloyd, the creators of Opera on Location.

The company has gone from strength to strength since its inception in 2013.

Following a series of highly acclaimed and sought-after productions, they achieved charitable status in June 2020 and once again have secured funding from Arts Council England and Sheffield Town Trust to continue to bring the people of the Steel City high quality, affordable opera in unique locations.

In the past they have performed in locations such as bars, the Graves Art Gallery, the Winter Gardens and Waterstones.

Victoria Grey and Christopher Littlewood in Opera on Location's 2017 production of Carmen, which was performed at Kelham Island Museum

Co-artistic director Gareth said: “We are absolutely delighted to have secured funding to enable us to return to live performance for the first time since the pandemic started and can’t wait to share this production with audiences in a safe way.

"We have missed creating new productions hugely but Kathryn and I have continued to work during the pandemic to ensure the organisation is more robust than ever before, including gaining charitable status in June 2020.”