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The essence of Grand Opera first performed in Cairo in 1871. Set in Egypt at the time of the pharoes. A captain of guard (Radames) is in love with Aida, an Ethiopian slave girl - who happens also to be the daughter of the king of Ethiopia. Her mistress, Amneris, is also in love with Radames. When the Ethiopians invade Radames is chosen to lead the army. When they return victorious Radames asks for all the Ethiopian slaves to be released - except Aida and her father who persuades her to trick Radames into revealing the plans of the Egyptian army - but he suggests that they all run away to Ethiopia together. When Radames is accused of treason he gives himself up to let Aida and her father escape but is condemned to be improisoned alive. As the last stones are put in place Aida appears and joins him in the tomb so that they might die together.
Written shortly after The Marriage of Figaro. Based on the famous legend of Don Juan the master seducer from whom no woman can be considered safe. Don Giovanni pursues, seduces, rapes and murders and in the climax is pulled to hell by a stone statue of one of his victims come to life - he remains unrepentant. His servant Leporello witnesses all his masters wrongs. There is also a rarely performed opera of the same name (and story) by Giuseppe Gazzaniga which was first performed in 1786, eight months before Mozart's version.
Puccini's most enduring opera. The story of the love of the poor poet Rodolfo for the consumptive seamstress Mimi. Set in the Latin Quarter of Paris the course of their love is constantly threatened by Rodolfo's jealousy and Mimi's illness. The painter Marcello and the provocative Musetta are the other main characters. This is where 'your tiny hand is frozen' comes from and the last few bars, as Rodolfo realises Mimi is dead, are some of opera's most moving moments.
A different take on the Tristan und Isolde legend. Tristan and Isolde are enemies brought together when they mistakenly drink a love potion. Their affair inevitably leads to a tragedy.
Sung in English with surtitles in English (and Welsh in Cardiff and Llandudno). No interval.
Shakespeare's story of the clansman Macbeth driven to murder and advancement by his wife.
Sung in Italian with surtitles in English (and Welsh in Cardiff and Llandudno).
An American naval officer (Pinkerton) 'acquires' a 15 year old Geisha wife during a stay in Japan - but has no intention of staying with her. After a while he returns to the USA and marries his fiancee. Meanwhile, Butterfly waits for him for three years, cut off from her family, religion and culture by being an American wife. And she is now a mother. When he finally returns she is overjoyed, but he brings with him his new wife. Story originally published in a magazine.
Shylock is a proud and defiant man. But when he demands a severe debt to be repaid he becomes a victim of his own intransigence and most seriously, the prejudice of others. Andr? Tchaikowsky was best known as a concert pianist but being a composer meant more to him. The Merchant of Venice is a potent attack on prejudice and feels like a deeply personal response to his experiences as a child in the Warsaw Ghetto.
UK Premiere. Sung in English with surtitles in English (and Welsh in Cardiff and Llandudno)
A comic operetta with a Japanese theme. Songs such as 'Three Little Maids from School', 'A Wandering Minstrel', 'A Most Humane Mikado' etc. One of Gilbert and Sullivan's most popular works. In the town of Titipu, local government has fallen into the hands of two dubious characters: Ko-Ko, in charge of public executions; and Pooh-Bah, who has a finger in every pie. A young man arrives who, unknown to most, is Nanki-Poo, son of the Mikado. Fleeing an arranged marriage to the elderly Katisha, he falls for the beautiful Yum-Yum, Ko-Ko's fiancée. When the Mikado arrives, thirsty for executions, Ko-Ko thinks he has the perfect plan...until Katisha turns up, bent on revenge.