OperaUpClose’s modern, English-language version of Puccini’s La boheme - a frontrunner for Best Off-West End Production in the 2011 Whatsonstage.com Awards – will continue to break records this year as, after its current run back at Soho Theatre, it transfers for the first time to the King’s Head Theatre.

OperaUpClose is the resident company at the King’s Head, which was relaunched in September as “London’s Little Opera House”, the first opera house on the London fringe, under Adam Spreadbury-Maher, who took over as artistic director of the famous Islington pub theatre last year. Spreadbury-Maher is also artistic director of OperaUpClose and continues to run the Cock Tavern in Kilburn where he first launched La boheme in December 2009.

Robin Norton-Hale’s new translation relocates the action from 1830s Paris to modern London, where aspiring novelist Rodolfo falls for immigrant cleaner Mimi and learns the price of living for love and art.

After extending in Kilburn four times, eventually running there for five months, La boheme transferred to Soho Theatre – with the story’s London setting also moved from Kilburn to the heart of Soho – where it became another sell-out last August and September. It’s now returned to Soho for an additional six weeks, from 11 January to 19 February 2011, after which it will move to the King’s Head, to complete the venue’s first-ever repertory season, running from 1 to 23 March.

Also running in the new London’s Little Opera House rep season will be the company’s existing productions of Cinderella (23 January-18 February), Madam Butterfly (23 January-28 March) and The Barber of Seville (15 February-25 March) and one brand new offering of Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci - all of which, in the company’s signature style, are presented in fresh English translations.


Between its dates at Soho and the King’s Head, the La boheme company - Rhian Lois, Laurence Meikle and Martin Nelson – will perform an extract from the show, which is officially the longest continuously performed production of Puccini’s 1896 opera in history, at the West End’s Prince of Wales Theatre on Sunday 20 February as part of the 2011 Whatsonstage.com Awards Concert, on a bill that also features Alfie Boe, Ramin Karimloo, Hadley Fraser, Rosemary Ashe, Richard Fleeshman, Caissie Levy, co-host Christopher Biggins and many many more stars.

Concert tickets, which range from £25-£47.50, are now on sale and can be booked by phone on 0844 482 5133 or online at www.whatsonstage.com/concert.

As with the Launch Party, at which shortlists were announced in December, the Awards Concert is held in aid of this year’s adopted charity, The Theatrical Guild, which was founded by actors to provide financial and other support to front of house and backstage staff in times of need.

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