Rugby-based company Random Opera has announced that applications are open for roles in its new production of Elena e Gerardo by Marianna Bottini, one of 19th century Italy’s greatest female composers.

This 200-year-old opera has never been performed, and will be receiving its world premiere at the Temple Speech Room in Rugby in October 2023. Elena e Gerardo is baroque in style, and will be sung in Italian, with a chamber orchestra led by guest conductor Thomas Payne. The production will be filmed.

There are five principal roles to audition for. These are Elena, a young woman, for soprano; Laura, Elena’s maid, for mezzo-soprano; Gerardo, a nobleman of Verona, a trouser role for contralto; Vittorio, a nobleman of Verona, and Gerardo’s friend, for tenor; and Pietro, a nobleman of Verona, and Elena’s father, for bass.

Auditions for the chorus are also being held, as well as for cover roles for each of the main parts. These roles will be cast from the chorus.

All roles and chorus parts are paid, with free accommodation provided on rehearsal days and on the night of the performance. Fees are for the whole production, with payments of £850 for principal roles, £600 for chorus and cover roles, and £400 for chorus only roles.

Interested singers should provide a copy of their musical CV, along with links to two recent YouTube video recordings of operatic arias, at least one in Italian and at least one demonstrating coloratura. You should also indicate whether you wish to be considered for a principal role, cover and chorus, or chorus only roles (or all three).

Applicants should email this information to Random Opera at Applications will be accepted until midday on Sunday 18 December 2022.

Random Opera will consider overseas applicants who have the right to work in the UK. But overseas applicants must indicate that they understand that accommodation is only provided on the stated rehearsal and performance dates, and cannot be provided for any dates in between.

Casting will take place based on audition video submissions only – there will not be any in-person auditions.

Applicants will need to be available on relevant rehearsal dates. All rehearsals take place in Rugby, Warwickshire. Rehearsal dates are as follows: 1-3 September 2023 principals only (rehearsal workshop); 16-17 September 2023 covers only (rehearsal workshop); 23 October 2023 for principals only; 24 and 25 October 2023 for all cast and chorus; 26 October 2023 for all cast and chorus (band call); and 27 October 2023 for all cast and chorus (dress rehearsal).

The performance will take place on 28 October 2023 at Rugby’s Temple Speech Room.

Random Opera said that it has short rehearsal periods to ensure that artists are able to manage other performance commitments or day jobs. “This works successfully,” the company said in a statement, “but isn’t for everyone, so please consider this before applying.”

Further information, including examples of the coloratura the opera requires, is available on Random Opera’s website.

Elena e Gerardo is Bottini’s only opera. It is based on an original story by Matteo Bandello, who also wrote the story on which Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is based. It shares the same themes of warring noble families and a secret marriage.

The opera has never been staged, and when Random Opera’s general director Richard Tegid Jones discovered the complete score in the archives of the Institute of Musical Studies Luigi Boccherini in Lucca, Italy, he was determined to bring the work to the stage. This world premiere has been made possible by a successful crowdfunding project by Random Opera, which raised more than £12,000.



Random Opera is inviting applications from singers to perform in its world premiere of a 200-year-old opera that’s never been performed: Marianna Bottini’s Elena e Gerardo.