Opera from the Ukraine comes to Leicester
Opera must triumph over war – says Ellen Kent
Award-winning opera producer Ellen Kent is determined to see opera triumph over war as she brings Eastern Europe talent to the UK stage with a stunning performance of La Traviata.
During preparations for this autumn’s tour with the Ukrainian National Opera in Kharkiv, Ellen was caught just six miles from a very bloody civil war. Warned by the British Foreign Office not to travel due to fatalities, bombings and kidnappings, Ellen still managed to transport the complete sets, props and costumes out of the area.
Focussing on overcoming the difficulties of the conflict, Ellen has brought together a new company including Ukrainians, Moldovans and Russians, working together in harmony, to bring to the stage a heart-wrenchingly emotional production of Puccini’s popular Madama Butterfly.
Ellen said: “I know it sounds like a cliche but really – the show must go on! I was in Odessa in rehearsals for Butterfly in 2005 when the Orange Revolution broke out and I just thought, here we go again.”
With magnificent sets by renowned Ukrainian designer Nadia Shvets and handpicked soloists from the national operas of Odessa, Spain and Rostov, the show visits the De Montfort Hall in Leicester on October 16.
La Traviata is a tragic true story of searing passion and memorable music telling of the life and love of the passionate but consumptive Violetta and her doomed romance with the aristocratic Alfredo.
Verdi’s outstanding interpretation of one of the most popular love stories of the 19th Century, La Dame aux Camelias, includes highlights such as the Brindisi, the best-known drinking song in opera, the duet Un Di Felice and the haunting aria Addio Del Passato.
Alongside a 70-strong company, international sopranos Elena Dee and Alyona Kistenyova will sing the role of the tragic Violetta, while Ruslan Zinevych, who has sung with Pavarotti, is Alfredo.
There are also local dancers, children and adults who join the cast on stage.
Ellen said: “As ever my productions are huge and will be a feast for the eyes as well as the ears. After all we’ve been through bringing them to the stage, it’s definitely been worth it. Three members of our orchestra have joined the Chisinau Philharmonic for this tour because the Opera House in Donetsk, near the fighting, has closed. People often don’t realise when they’re watching it on television the effect it has on ordinary people who still have to support their families. This is our way of fighting back, showing that whatever is happening over there, we will continues to showcase Eastern European talent and put on a tremendous show.”
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