Opera Anywhere has announced full details of its 2023 programme, including dates and venues, as the touring company continues to take accessible opera to theatres, music halls, outdoor locations and more across England.
The company recently revealed that it would tour its much-loved productions of Gilbert and Sullivan’s HMS Pinafore (1878) and The Pirates of Penzance (1879) to Southwold Arts Centre, Suffolk, in January 2023.
Opera Anywhere will continue to bring these two productions to venues across England throughout 2023. However, the company will also be adding three further productions to its roster.
A highlight of the company’s programme is sure to be a new production of Iolanthe. Directed by tenor and theatre director Tristan Stocks, this witty Gilbert and Sullivan operetta is a tale of forbidden love between fairies and mortals.
Strephon is the half-fairy, half-human son of the fairy Iolanthe; he has fallen in love with Phyllis, a ward of the court. But for them to marry, Phyllis needs the Lord Chancellor’s permission, which is going to be tricky as he hopes to marry her himself. This satirical work pokes fun at power, privilege and parliamentary democracy.
Iolenthe premieres at Court Farm Barn, in Ledley, Herefordshire, on 14 July. It then tours to St Peter’s Church, Harborne, Birmingham (15 July) and All Saints’ Church, Ockham, Woking, Surrey (21 October).
Stocks also directs a revival of Opera Anywhere’s popular production of The Magic Flute (1791). Mozart’s magical comedy tells the story of Tamino, a young man with a passion for reading who discovers a book about a fantastical world in which cruel darkness is defeated by the light. He gets lost in his own adventure, along the way meeting the Queen of the Night and her rival, the mighty Sarasto, high priest of the sun.
Tamino is charged with a quest: to rescue the queen’s beautiful daughter Pamina, who has been kidnapped by Monostatos, a mean and greedy servant working for Sarastro. Accompanied by the bird-catcher Papageno, Tamino sets out on a journey in search of love, truth and honour.
“Opera Anywhere has always aimed to provide fun and exciting experiences for our audiences and in our staged productions most of our repertoire is designed to be accessible to families and people of all ages,” the company said in a statement.
“Our Magic Flute is performed in English and is edited to a duration of two hours, our cast of 12 includes three puppets, each with their own unique character and voice!”
The production opens at The Theatre Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, on 23 June. It then heads to Thorington Theatre, Southwold, Suffolk (20 August).
A revival of Opera Anywhere’s production of The Mikado sees the action of this Gilbert and Sullivan operetta moved from imperial Japan to 1960s Soho. Nanki-Poo, the son of the Mikado, searches for his true love, Yum-Yum, to avoid marrying a much older woman. Yum-Yum, however, is betrothed to Ko-Ko, the Lord High Executioner, against her will.
“We are excited about our production of The Mikado which we have designed in 1960s style, set in London and will feature significantly in our programme throughout 2023,” the company added. “We are hoping to recruit a local chorus again this year to provide an enhanced sound at Thorington – watch this space!”
The Mikado opens at The Cotswold Playhouse, Stroud, Gloucestershire, on 24 June. It then tours to Stephens House and Gardens, Finchley, north London (6 July), Thorington Theatre (21 July), Hole Park, Cranbrook, Kent (29 July), Midelney Manor, Langport, Somerset (26 August) and Hampton Hill Theatre, south-west London (16 September).
Opera Anywhere is looking to add more dates to its programme throughout the year. Tickets for announced performances are on sale now.
A revival of Opera Anywhere’s popular production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute forms part of the touring company’s programme for 2023.