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Enjoy an opera extravaganza

PUBLISHED: 12:46 18 September 2008 | UPDATED: 13:16 11 August 2010

Rudolfo, Marcello, Schaunard and Colline celebrate

Rudolfo, Marcello, Schaunard and Colline celebrate

KICKING off a round the country tour with a sell out show in Leeds Castle where they performed to a crowd of six thousand people – Ellen Kent Amphitheatre Productions is classic opera on a colossal scale. With a gigantic set built by architects to capture

KICKING off a round the country tour with a sell out show in Leeds Castle where they performed to a crowd of six thousand people - Ellen Kent Amphitheatre Productions is classic opera on a colossal scale.

With a gigantic set built by architects to capture the spirit of love and tragedy at the heart of opera, this is an extravaganza for all the senses.

The cast will perform three well loved operas, Puccini's Tosca and the La Boheme as well as Bizet's Carmen.

This autumn Ellen Kent will be bringing her fantastic talent as an artistic director to Dartford and Southend theatres.

She spoke to the POST about opera, English summers and shopping for wellies.

Ellen said: "Well the show is in Bournemouth at the moment and rehearsals are going well.

"Everyone is in good form despite the fact that it hasn't stopped raining all week.

"I mean I come down to Bournemouth, the English summer destination, and I have to go shoe shopping.

"I only brought flip-flops with me and now I think I would have been better off with wellies."

But despite the drizzle there was nothing damp about the spirits in rehearsals as the cast had just performed the show of their lives in Leeds.

Ellen explained: "Leeds Castle was amazing.

"It's not often you get to perform opera on that kind of scale, there were at least 6,000 people and they were all loving it.

"Who says opera isn't for everyone?

"I think we need to get past this stereotype. I mean stage opera is where telly soap operas get their name from and their fantastic story lines.

"There is love, jealousy, betrayal, murder - everything you need for a great trip to the theatre."

Taking on three operas at once is no easy task especially with some venues playing only one opera and others playing all three.

Each show has to be rehearsed to perfection and making time in the day must be difficult.

Ellen said: "The week before a show nobody gets very much sleep - especially me!

"I had a bit of a nightmare with the set this year.

"I asked for something like the Roman Coliseum and I think the architect built a replica - it's enormous!

"Moving it around should be an interesting logistical challenge.

"It does look spectacular though and it really adds something extra to the show, you feel like you've been transported back in time."

La Boheme tells a tragic story between two impoverished young lovers struggling to survive in the attics and backstreets of Bohemian Paris.

Tosca is one of the most dramatic operas ever written and portrays true love, torture and treachery, set in the era of the Napoleonic wars.

Both La Boheme and La Tosca will be performed at the Cliffs Pavilion, Southend, on Tuesday September 23 and Wednesday 24.

And La Boheme will also be at The Orchard theatre, Dartford, on Thursday September 25 at 7.30pm.

To book tickets for Southend call the box office on 01702 351135 or visit www.thecliffspavilion.co.uk.

For Dartford call the box office on 01322 220000 or visit www.orchardtheatre.co.uk.

Tickets cost £33.50 for adults and £16.75 for children.


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