A Fantastic Story
The children's opera 'Shackleton's Cat',
enjoyed by RODERIC DUNNETT
The invariably creative and inventive English Touring Opera is an inspired company, frequently praised for its mainstream repertoire, visiting a huge array of venues, and earning nationwide applause for its directional flair, intelligent casting and the fertile resourcefulness and innovativeness that characterise its productions, under the Artistic Directorship for the past sixteen years of James Conway, formerly General Director of the comparably versatile, original and multifaceted ensemble of Opera Theatre Company in Dublin.
But ETO is also lauded, and rightly so, for a series of operas for children of school age, not least of the range between 7 and 12 or 9 and 14, which are specially written, imaginatively composed and, thanks to the stories they tell in spirited, excitable and distinctively poignant detail, often providing well conceived, entrancing entertainment equally for whole families.
These incisive, perceptive operas for intelligent and attentive youngsters, intricately thought through and ingeniously scripted, are also didactic: the choice of subjects is often designed to captivate and educate the young into narratives that teach them something about events in history, or of emotional import, that are always uplifting, emotionally instructive, and even, to a degree, tragic.
One instance is Silver Electra, toured in 2017 around two schools in Poole, Dorset and thence to Rotherham, Exeter to Norwich, Leicester to York, and a host of other venues including, aptly for youth opera, Benjamin Britten's celebrated venue of Snape in Suffolk...
Copyright © 30 May 2018