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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.
Gabriel von Eisenstein is facing five days in prison, allowing his wife, Rosalinda, some illicit time alone with her lover, Alfred. Eisenstein's maid, Adele, is also looking forward to spending the evening at a fancy dress ball given by the eccentric Prince Orlovsky. When the Prison Governor arrives to take Eistenstein to prison, he is instead introduced to Alfred (who is 'entertaining' Rosalinda) and arrests the lover believing him to be Rosalinda's husband. Meanwhile, at the ball, the plot thickens...
Sung in English with surtitles in English (and Welsh in Cardiff)
Based on Pushkin's masterpiece of Russian literature, Tchaikovsky's great opera tells of the fated love between the innocent Tatyana and the world-weary cynic Eugene Onegin. The opera includes the famous 'letter scene', a tour-de-force of the soprano repertoire, in which Tatyana dramatically and magnificently declares her true love for Onegin, a love that is tragically rejected. The ensuing maelstrom of emotions ends in duel between Onegin and his best friend, the poet, Lensky, which leaves Lensky dead and Onegin devastated. Years later, at the St Petersburg Ball, Onegin meets Tatyana again and realises his mistake, but now the married Tatyana is unable to accept his love.
Sung in Russian, with English and Welsh surtitles.
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.
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.
An operatic version of Shakespeare's fantasy play. With great skill and sensitivity, Britten presents the play as a charming opera, retaining the serene magic of the forest, the distress of the lovers, Puck's mischief, and Bottom's lamentably amateur theatre company.
Rigoletto, the hunchbacked court jester wants revenge. His beloved daughter, Gilda, has been abducted and seduced by the Duke and he hires a hit-man to assassinate him. Tragedy prevails in Verdi's masterpiece of love, lust and betrayal. Based on Hugo's Le roi s'amuse. First performed at La Fenice in Venice on 11 March 1851
Sung in Italian with English surtitles. Some scenes contain nudity.
A world of exotic and dangerous decadence. The story of the young Princess of Judea's catastrophic sexual awakening in the corrupt world of Herod's court where she develops a violent sexual obsession with John the Baptist. The original play was often banned and always controversial.
Sung in German with English titles. Concert staging.
Princess Turandot has sworn that no man shall marry her unless he can correctly answer three riddles. Prince Calaf, captivated by Turandot's beauty, takes up the challenge, determined to win her heart or die in the attempt. Puccini's last opera, includes Nessun Dorma.
New Production. Concert staging. Sung in Italian with English titles