Sharik, the dog - the star of Alexander Raskatov's opera A Dog's Heart receiving its UK premiere at English National Opera - doesn't say much. In fact he says nothing at all. But his creator - Mark Down of Blind Summit - is most loquacious and behind the scenes of final week rehearsals at the London Coliseum he chronicles the evolution of this manky mongrel from drawing board to stage.

A Dog's Heart is the sensational operatic debut of Simon McBurney, artistic director of Complicité, and puppetry is a key element in realising this absurdist tale of organ transplants and Frankenstein-like transformations. The moral of the tale provides clues: a beast is still a beast, even if it looks like a man.

So what is the special relationship between a puppet and its creator? Are there attachment issues? There's no doubt that this is a new era for puppet-led drama and the huge international success of War Horse demonstrates just how strongly an audience wants to believe in the reality beyond the illusion. In this ENO OperaCast Edward Seckerson is party to the deception....

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