Lancashire dog Hector the Chihuahua will make stage debut in La Boheme at Manchester's Palace Theatre

Hector will be treading the boards
Hector will be treading the boards
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A Lancashire therapy dog will be treading the boards at Manchester's Palace Theatre as he begins a new career in opera.

Hector, a qualified “Pets as Therapy” dog from Lancashire, will star in Ellen Kent’s romantic opera La Bohème when the new production is staged on Tuesday January 21.

The chihuahu will make an appearance as Musetta’s dog .

He was chosen due to his experience as a trained therapy dog who regularly visits care homes and autistic groups and has prepared him excellently for his role on the stage as he is calm, good-natured and well-behaved.

Award-winning opera director and producer Ellen Kent said: “People say never work with children or animals but I love to do both.

"The first time was 20 years ago when my pet cat Holly Go-Lightly was in one of my productions and was an instant hit.

"Since then we’ve had horses, dogs, goldfish and even a golden eagle with a 6ft wingspan on stage.

“Many years ago when we last did La Bohème and asked local people to volunteer their pets it was a huge success.

"We even used a rescue dog once and found him dozens of new owners!

"We’re a nation of animal lovers after all.”

Ellen Kent brings one of the most romantic operas ever written to the stage in her new tour, traditionally staged featuring beautiful sets and costumes.

The set reflects the Bohemian art of the period and will include a brass band, snow effects and a full choir and orchestra.

The opera is performed in the traditional Italian with English subtitles.

Puccini’s masterpiece, La Bohème, is based on Henri Murger’s novel Scenes de la vie de boheme.

Set in Paris, the opera tells the tale of the tragic love between seamstress Mimi and penniless poet Rodolfo.