Opera producer takes a trip down memory lane

Ellen Kent returns to Blackpool Grand Theatre with new productions of Carmen (above) and Tosca.
Ellen Kent returns to Blackpool Grand Theatre with new productions of Carmen (above) and Tosca.
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Award-winning opera producer Ellen Kent returns to Blackpool Grand Theatre this year and will be bringing with her the heat of Spain and the passion of Italy with two new productions of Carmen and Tosca.

You can see the passionate Carmen at the Grand Theatre on Monday March 11 and the sizzling Tosca on Sunday March 10.

Bizet’s dramatic and sensuous opera Carmen tells the story of the downfall of soldier Don Jose, who is seduced by the fiery, beautiful and passionate gypsy Carmen. Abandoning both his childhood sweetheart and his military career, Jose pursues Carmen but loses her to the glamorous bullfighter Escamillo. In true tragic operatic fashion, Jose can’t bear to be without Carmen and stabs her in a jealous rage.

It’s a trip down memory lane for Ellen, who grew up in the beautiful surroundings of Andalucia in Spain.

Ellen said: “I’m starting from scratch with Carmen. There will be brand new sets influenced by the wonderful paintings of Goya and reflecting the architecture of Seville with its balconies, orange trees, fountains and flowers.

“It’s hot, dusty, Moorish architecture with that amazing coloured stone. The costumes will also reflect Goya’s paintings of the Spanish people of that era. And of course, it’s all set against the backdrop of the bullring. I can picture it now. It’ll look magnificent.”

Puccini’s Tosca is no less violent, with torture, murder and suicide alongside some of opera’s best-known music. 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. What’s more, the performance at the Grand Theatre will feature a huge golden eagle live in the auditorium.

The celebrated National Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus of Chisinau will be performing, alongside international soloists mezzo soprano Nadia Stoianova as Carmen and soprano Elena Dee, reprising her first ever leading operatic role as Tosca.

Tickets from £15 (booking/transaction fees apply.