Award-winning opera producer Ellen Kent makes her return to Manchester, bringing along with her two of her most popular productions – Puccini’s Tosca (27 November) and Bizet’s Carmen (28 November).

Kent has been producing highly acclaimed operas for the past 24 years. The two Manchester dates form part of a sensational new season and countrywide tour which features over 90 dates.

Puccini’s Tosca is an epic tale of true love and treachery featuring torture, murder and suicide alongside some of opera’s best-known music. Vladimir Dragos returns to sing his most famous role of Scarpia after his acclaimed portrayal of Rigoletto on Ellen Kent’s last tour. Maria Tonina and Alyona Kistenyova will be singing Floria Tosca.

Set in Rome and based on a play by Victorian Sardou, it was once described as a “shabby little shocker”. Opera diva Floria Tosca fears for the fidelity of her lover Mario, only to discover that it is the Baron Scarpia’s lust for her that endangers that love. A complex agreement of bargains and bluffs follow, to the detriment of all, with a truly tragic ending.

In preparation for the current tour and her new staging of Tosca, Ellen took a trip to Puccini’s house in Italy, explaining “It was quite magical. I didn’t think it would be quite so inspiring. It was almost eerie – exactly as you would imagine Puccini to have created, with beautiful memorabilia everywhere. There were his shoes and clothes and pipes and all the models of his operas and his actual scores with all his notes on them. My productions are always rather beautiful and I suddenly realised that in my view, I have been doing what Puccini would have liked and wanted. It felt like meeting somebody I knew.”

This most popular of operas, with its tender and moving arias Recondita Armonia, Vissi d’Arte and E Lucevan le Stelle, is a heady mixture of true love, torture and treachery, with two of the best roles for tenor and soprano, plus a pure evil villain as the baritone.

The shows also feature local children from local stage schools and include a boys’ choir and a shepherd boy’s solo.

Puccini’s Tosca is performed at Manchester Opera House on Friday 27 November.

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