Bumper crop of music for opera fans to enjoy this year

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Opera fans across the region are in for a treat over the next few months, writes Tony Spittles.

Fresh from their recent triumphant appearance at the Theatre Royal, Opera North will be back in Nottingham in November with a new production of Puccini’s shocker Tosca and a welcome revival of Lehar’s ever-tuneful The Merry Widow.

For those wanting a quick trim Mansfield’s Palace Theatre is the place to be on Sunday, March 25, for an evening of razor-sharp comedy as Swansea City Opera make a return visit with Rossini’s most famous opera The Barber of Seville (pictured).

The three-hour opera starts at 7.30pm and details of tickets, £21 (children £14), can be obtained from the Palace box office on 01623 633133 or via the website at www.mansfieldpalace.co.uk

More musical comedy is in store in May when English Touring Opera bring a double bill to two venues in the region.

The first stopover is at Sheffield’s Lyceum Theatre on Friday May 11 when the company stage an energetic production of Mozart’s classic comedy The Marriage of Figaro while the following evening there’s a double bill of Puccini’s Il tabarro (The cloak) and Gianni Schicchi.

Later in the month it is the turn of Leicester’s Curve to stage the same programme on May 29-30.

Further details of ticket prices and showtimes can be found by contacting the Lyceum box office on 0114 249 6000 or the Curve on 0116 242 3595.

For opera buffs who want to experience lesser known works, plus a trip to the Peak District, then don’t miss out on the Buxton International Festival, a 17-day celebration of opera, music and books, running from July 6-22.

More than 120 events are taking place during the festival, now in its 39th year, including two new opera works - the first major UK staging of Verdi’s rarely performed tragic drama Alzira and a new production of Mozart’s Idomeneo.

These will be complemented by co-productions with Opera della Luna of a modern update of Donizetti’s The Daughter of the Regiment (where The Regiment is one of California’s most notorious biker gangs) while Italian Baroque specialiasts La Serenissima will give a concert performance of 18th century composer Brescianello’s Tisbe based on the popular tale of Pyramus and Thisbe.

Further details of all festival events can be found at www.buxtonfestival.co.uk ahead of public booking which opens on Friday, April 6, on 01298 72190.