Opera in Sunderland in 2020

Published: 5 June 2019
Reporter: Peter Lathan

Ellen Kent and Opera International will return to Sunderland Empire in February 2020 as part of a 50+ venue tour between 21 January and 23 April, presenting two of the most popular operas in the repertoire, Madama Butterfly and La Bohème.

Butterfly is the same production which visited the Empire in January 2018. Although the cast has changed, the sets and lighting which so impressed last time round will be the same. The cast (subject to change) will include Korean soprano Elena Dee and Alyona Kistenyova.

Dee and Kistenyova perform in Bohème. The latter played Mimi the last time an Ellen Kent production of the work came to Sunderland, in March 2017. The set reflects the Bohemian art of the period and was inspired by Chagall, Renoir and the Impressionists, alongside authentic period costumes. The production will include a brass band, snow effects and Musetta’s little dog will also make an entrance.

Having been involved in touring opera and ballet productions for 27 years, Ellen Kent is a familiar figure not just at Sunderland Empire or even throughout the UK but internationally, having, in 2004, become first British Producer to perform Carmen in the Gulf in front of an audience with the Emir of Qatar in Doha and 3000 Royal Guests. Now she is in discussions to stage a major production of Aida in Gaza and Luxor.