OperaUpClose’s spring 2020 season consists of two new productions, the contemporary opera company has revealed.

The programme kicks off with a new English-language version of Puccini’s ever-popular Madam Butterfly (1904). Transposing the action to 1980s Japan, the classic story is retold from a female, East Asian perspective. As traditional culture collides with a burgeoning digital age, a young woman is abandoned by the man for whom she sacrificed everything.

The opera has been reorchestrated by British-Chinese composer Ruth Chan. It will be performed by a diverse cast of eight singers, accompanied by four musicians. The English libretto has been provided by writer and artistic director Poppy Burton-Morgan.

The production opens at the Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, on 6 February and then tours theatres across Britain to 16 March. Tickets are on sale now.

Then in April, three bears take over the London Coliseum. In this new composition by Joanna Lee, Mr Bear can’t sleep because Mrs Bear is snoring, so he goes to sleep in Baby Bear’s room. But Baby Bear is pretending to be an aeroplane, so he goes to sleep in the living room.

Peace at Last is a 35-minute opera for children based on the much-loved picture book of the same name by Jill Murphy. The libretto is by Olivier Award-winning librettist and artistic director of OperaUpClose Robin Norton-Hale, who also directs. The piece has been written for three singers accompanied by harp, woodwind and percussion.

The piece is performed in English. It includes live music and puppetry and is suitable for children aged 3-5 and their families, as well as “any adult with a sense of fun and wonder,” according to OperaUpclose. Performances take place on 7 and 9 April and tickets are available from the English National Opera.



Mezzo-soprano Gemma Morsley (Mrs Bear) and soprano Abigail Kelly (Baby Bear) in OperaUpClose’s new children’s opera Peace at Last.