This autumn English Touring Opera (ETO) will present two new productions that will leave you questioning the limits of devotion. First is Monteverdi’s strikingly modern Baroque masterpiece The Coronation of Poppea (L’incoronazione di Poppea, 1643).

One of the oldest operas still to be performed, it is a darkly entertaining depiction of violence and intrigue at the court of Roman Emperor Nero. It tells the story of how Poppea, mistress of the emperor, is able to achieve her ambition and be crowned empress.

ETO’s general director Robin Norton-Hale will direct the production. Multi-genre musician and composer Yshani Perinpanayagam is conductor and arranger, while poet and classicist Helen Eastman has provided a new English translation of the libretto.

Welsh soprano Jessica Cale sings the title role, with Lancashire-born mezzo-soprano Martha Jones as Nero, in what’s known as a trouser role.

The production opens at east London’s Hackney Empire on 30 September before touring to venues in England until 14 November.

The second new production on ETO’s autumn touring programme is Rossini’s Cinderella (La Cenerentola, 1817). This retelling of the familiar fairytale features a murderously wicked stepfather, Don Magnifico, instead of a stepmother, and the philosopher Alidoro in the place of the fairy godmother.

A comedy of hidden identities and hidden agendas, Cinderella’s kindness so impresses the disguised prince, Ramiro, that he falls in love with her, much to the horror of her stepfather and stepsisters.

British mezzo-soprano Esme Bronwen-Smith is the eponymous heroine, with Anglo-Irish tenor Joseph Doody as her prince. Armenian bass Arshak Kuzikyan is the wicked Don Magnifico and the role of Alidoro is sung by London-born bass Edward Hawkins.

This new production is helmed by director and movement specialist Jenny Ogilvie and conductor Naomi Woo. It opens at Hackney Empire on 7 October and then tours to 15 November.

Also part of English Touring Opera’s autumn season is ETO Unboxed. This new programme of live and digital events explores the multi-disciplinary and multi-genre nature of opera. Events will take place at locations on the 2023 tour.

The programme kicks off with a commission of a new work for electronics and voice from experimental duo drøne and soprano Julia Mariko. It will be performed at Iklekitk in London on 19 September.

Finally, ETO will produce a live version of its digital opera for young children, Under the Little Red Moon. Young friends Lulu, Monty and Tom have to try to work out what has caused the rising moon to turn from red to blue.

With words by Tim Yealland – who also directs – and music by Russell Hepplewhite, and made in consultation with paediatricians, the opera explores the development of language. It is suitable for ages 6-24 months. It features British soprano Abigail Kelly as Lulu and British bass-baritone Bradley Travis as Monty.

Opening at east London’s Half Moon theatre on 14 October, it then tours to venues around England until 16 November.

Full details of all productions, including venues, dates, prices and how to book, are available from English Touring Opera.



A new English-language production of Rossini’s Cinderella forms part of English Touring Opera’s autumn touring programme.