THREE operas, each for one night only, transport audiences at the Playhouse on very different romantic journeys this week, courtesy of Ellen Kent.
And what a programme it is, Pucinni’s masterpiece Madama Butterfly brings the season to a close on Saturday, having been preceded by Verdi’s La Traviata and Rigoletto.
As ever, with Ellen Kent productions expect the unexpected, including naked women, a Golden Eagle and hunting dogs.
BASED on a play by Victor Hugo, the author of Les Miserables, in Rigoletto, Verdi has a libretto worthy of his talent. Staged with an eye for detail and flair, this dramatic production includes full chorus, orchestra and hand-picked soloists.
International baritone Vladimir Dragos stars alongside Odessa Opera’s beautiful soprano Alyona Kistenyova, singing the role of Gilda, and Spanish Tenor Giorgi Meladze.
Wishing to reproduce Verdi’s original intentions Ellen Kent has controversially ‘included beautiful naked women on stage’ and ‘reintroduced the rape scene.’ Also appearing on stage tomorrow will be the magnificent golden eagle last seen at the Playhouse in Kent’s Tosca, and two regal hunting dogs.
FRIDAY: LA TRAVIATA
VERDI’S outstanding interpretation of one of the most popular love stories of the 19th century, is the focus on Friday evening.
La Dame aux Camelias, by Alexandre Dumas, author of The Three Musketeers, is a tragic tale of searing passion with memorable music.
Dumas made no secret of the fact that his book and play were autobiographical, based on his affair with Marie Duplessis, who died in 1847 of tuberculosis, at the age of 23.
Starring opposite Alyona Kistenyova at the Playhouse is Ruslan Zinevych, the international Ukrainian tenor who sang many times in Italy including with Pavarotti.
This operatic version of La Dame Aux Camelias tells the story of the love and life of the courtesan Violetta.
It tells of the passionate consumptive Violetta and her doomed love for the aristocratic Alfredo.
There are many echoes of Verdi’s own life in Traviata and he threw himself into the music.
This was also Verdi’s venture into operatic realism, as was Rigoletto, rejecting distant historical settings.
The highlights include the Brindisi, the best known drinking song in opera, the duet Un Di Felice and the haunting aria Addio Del Passato.
PUCCINI’S popular tale, upon which the hit West End musical Miss Saigon is based, brings the latest Ellen Kent season to a close on Saturday evening.
International Korean soprano Elena Dee will sing the role of the tragic Cio Cio San, while making his debut in a Kent production, Spanish Tenor Giorgio Meladze will sing Pinkerton.
Originally from Georgia, Meladze has acquired critical acclaim in Europe, singing in Milan, Spain and across Europe.
Music is provided by the Chisinau National Philharmonic orchestra and conducted by Nicolae Dohotaru.
Rigoletto (Friday), La Traviata (Saturday), Madama Butterfly (Saturday), The Playhouse, Greenside Place, 7.30pm, £15-£41.40, 0844 871 3014