Category Archives: Blog
What makes you jump out of your bed every morning?
My schedule! I always have a plan. Sometimes it is a super busy schedule, sometimes it is every day things I have to do and sometimes the plan is to rest so I then don’t have to get up. I love doing planned things and that’s what makes me get up in the mornings, so I can finish them and make some more plans!
What is your favourite role to sing at the moment?
I always try to enjoy every single role that I sing. I make sure that I do my best so that my heroine becomes alive on stage.
Cio-Cio San in Madam Butterfly
I like a lot of Opera’s. A lot. I love Verdi Opera’s and Puccini. I really admire composers like Berg, Strauss and Weinberg. I love bright heroines. I enjoy singing roles of villains, its always interesting and deep.You can make up a whole story as to why your character is so evil. Maybe she is in pain or sad. The one Opera that stands out for me is Pucccini’s Opera – Turandot. In time I would love to sing both women’s roles in Opera.
If you could sing anywhere in the world (not just in theatre) where would it be?
I can’t name a particular place in the world. I really like Saint Petersburg and Russia. I love Italy. I like England more and more ;-). When I start thinking where I would like to sing it’s not a place but the professional people around me that I think of. I imagine the highest quality around me and my constant development and maybe imposable goals that I would like to achieve on stage.
Cio-Cio San and Suzuki
Best bits about England?
Open spaces, sheep, fields, boundless sky which reminds me of Russia.I have not seen enough of London as I had an important performance there but I felt that London is a special city with it’s own particular atmosphere.
Tell us something about yourself that no one knows.
No one knows that I am a small coward inside. How I get nervous before the performance. If anyone had a chance to hear some of my thought, they would not understand me.
How do you relax after an important performance?
I like to be with my colleagues and people who were involved in the performance. I like to reflect on a good performance and move on to the next performance and plan new targets and goals.
Favourite Opera singer?
My answer will be ordinary. It is Maria Callas. She is not just a singer but an actor as well. I admire her not only for her voice but how she lived on stage and acted the role of her character.
If you could take anyone to dinner who would you take?
I would invite Joseph Brodsky. I think with him it will be a very interesting evening. We would have had a great time in one of the restaurants in Venice. However, he is dead so that would not be possible.
What’s your life motto?
‘Love life in all its manifestations’. ‘Live and let others live as well’.
‘Live and enjoy every minute.’
So we have just started week 4 of the tour #RussianStateOperaonTour2016 and as you can imagine it has flown by. Everyday the cast travels to different theatres, the technical crew prepare the stage for the performance, then home made lunch and rehearsals for the orchestra and the singers. Some might say the touring schedule is too much and too full on for the artists but they LOVE it. They absolutely LOVE being on tour and perform in front of the full house every night. It is their passion and they cannot live with out the stage, singing music, performing and travelling. Yes of course it is hard and challenging but you as an artist learn to embrace it and get used to any situations, it is after all part of the game.
Here are a few #backstage snap shots
Producer Alexej Ignatow, of Amande Concerts Ltd, who has co-ordinated the UK tour, said: “We are constantly on the lookout for new challenges, to ensure that our opera and ballet audiences get a chance to experience a wide spectrum of various classic pieces”.
With extensive national tours that get our productions seen the length and breadth of the country, we are able to offer national audiences in various theatres an unforgettable experience at a fraction of the price, all without sacrificing quality. So, it is very close to my heart to continue working with theatres all over the UK to deliver top quality productions every year and make new converts wherever we go.
Please have a look at our brand new video of Madam Butterfly here
We have 2 weeks left of this wonderful production don’t miss out on the opportunity to see a one of the most watched Opera in the world on your door step – Russian State Opera
Bye for now!
Madam Butterfly – one of the most colourful & exotic operas
So we are well in 2016 now which means our annual Opera tour has begun on Monday night in Guildford. After months and months of preparation, organisation and hard work the cast is finally here in England, performing at different theatres each night. This year we have decided to bring back the ever famous Madam Butterfly Opera. This exquisite production, with its beautiful new set and costumes, intensifies the emotion in an already heart-breaking opera.
Our wonderful soloist Olga Georgieva as a Cio-Cio San
Music by Giacomo Puccini
Set in Japan at the turn of the century, Madam Butterfly is among the most colourful and exotic of all operas, and from its theme of noble self-sacrifice spring melodies that grips your heart.It tells the story of a doomed love affair between an American naval officer and his young Japanese bride, whose self-sacrifice and defiance of her family leads to heartbreak and tragedy.
Madam Butterfly remained close to Puccini’s heart, for he never tired of hearing it or of seeing it performed. Fortunately, today’s opera-lovers agree wholeheartedly with him!
Suzuki (Cio-Cio San’s Servant) and Madam Butterfly waiting for Lieutenant Pinkerton
Alexej Ignatow producer of Russian State Opera said ‘No experience is needed to enjoy these classics. Our sets and costume designs, as well as the informative programmes make the productions very accessible and most of all, enjoyable. For opera, English surtitles make it easy to follow the story as you listen to the performance sung in its original language.’
We look forward to seeing you at one of our venues for a wonderful evening out!
For more information and where to buy tickets please visit our Website
Hello our dear readers,
We hope you are getting ready for a festive season full of snow, (maybe rain in England), mulled wine, presents, Christmas shopping, family time, and much more. Let’s not forget that attending the Nutcracker Ballet has been a tradition for many generations.
A nutcracker doll which turns into a prince…
Snow flurries, sweets, princes, magic, love, victories and defeats, and Tchaikovsky’s rousing score performed live by over 30 musicians, are just some of the ingredients that will be brought together by this renowned Russian company.
A highly accessible ballet, full of familiar music such as The Waltz of the flowers and the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy.
Hurry and Book your tickets here here
As we only have 10 more performances before the Ballet cast of RSBOH will go back home to get ready for their own festive season in Russia, which starts later then in England.
Below are just a few paragraphs from our Reviewers from our Autumn Ballet Tour 2015:
‘The opening scene was particularly eye-catching, with its sugared almond colours and rich backdrops, and I loved the way the effect of the lake was achieved, with the swans intertwining in “waves” on the lake.’ – Nancy Hill
‘The whole company is to be congratulated for its versatility in performing both classical and robust character dances with vigour and enjoyment.’ – Margaret Willis, DanceTabs
‘Visually The Nutcracker was beautiful, all rich textures and sumptuous reds, greens and ultramarine blues. The second act ballroom scene was spectacular with the biggest chandelier you’ve ever seen. This ballet also gives incredible scope for costume design with all the different toy-based characters and this production did not disappoint. Visually it was stunning and a feast for the eyes.’ – Michael Hasted
Their annual Ballet Tour in the UK is always a joy to behold and highly anticipated.
From the rich and ancient culture of Astrakhan on the banks of the Volga River, the renowned and highly acclaimed Russian State Ballet and Opera House is back with a new vibrant, stunning enchanting ballet production, which will captivate and delight the whole family.
Don Quixote – a wonderfully entertaining ballet.
Music by Ludwig Minkus
Don Quixote is a ballet based on episodes from the famous novel Don Quixote de la Mancha by Miguel de Cervantes.
But most of all, he dreams of his beloved Dulcinea, a woman that he believes to be so lovely and noble that she must be divine. His reveries are of their romantic adventures.
As he approaches the windmills he can no longer see the moon and thinks that evil magicians have hidden his beloved mistress. So, spear in hand, he tilts at the sails of the windmill, which he mistakes for a giant!
Don Quixote has recently made headlines in various newspapers –
Don Quixote, from the novel of the same name by Miguel de Cervantes, topped a poll of literary characters whose names we struggle to say correctly.
Considered to be one of literature’s greatest ever works, Don Quixote proves to be a difficult name to get right as it was voted the number one most commonly mispronounced name by 44% of those surveyed.
It should be pronounced “Don-Key-Hoh-Tee”, not “Don Quicks-Oat”.
However, don’t miss out this wonderfully entertaining ballet as Don Quixote has all the elements of the great classical ballets: emotion, drama and unforgettable characters.
To find out more information please visit our website
The Autumn Ballet season 2015 is well under way and our local audiences have had the joy of watching Swan Lake Ballet, Nutcracker and Don Quixote all performed to a large live orchestra.
From the rich and ancient culture of Astrakhan on the banks of the Volga River, the renowned and highly acclaimed Russian State Ballet and Opera House returns with three new vibrant, stunning and enchanting ballets productions which will captivate and delight the whole family.
Swan Lake – the greatest of all romantic ballets
The Nutcracker – an eternal seasonal favourite
Don Quixote – a wonderfully entertaining ballet
Directed and choreographed by Konstantin Uralsky
Former Bolshoi Theatre Ballet Dancer, Director of the New York Ballet Company and Ballet Artistic Director of the Glinka State Opera and Ballet Theatre in Chelyabinsk, and Artistic Director of the Russian State Ballet & Opera Theatre of Astrakhan, Konstantin URALSKY has been creating ballets for more than twenty years and toured world-wide with the Company.
He is a classic Russian artist and his work is a phenomenon in Russian national culture, renowned for its creative expression.
A number of ballet productions choreographed by Uralsky are exceptional in their depth of philosophical conceptual thinking and valuable creative discoveries in the field of music and choreographic drama. His creative experience deserves attention and study of young, novice choreographers.
Uralsky never puts on stage frivolous, senseless, entertaining or purely formal performances. He is concerned about the problems of the modern world, especially the tragic conflict, to which he devoted most of his work. But he sees the world not from its one side only, not darkly pessimistic, but in its entirety with everything wonderful, positive and bright in life.
This all-around position seems to me the most efficient nowadays.
Producer Alexej Ignatow, who has co-ordinated the UK tour, said: “It’s fantastic to bring such a talented and inspiring Russian ballet company to the UK to offer local audiences the opportunity to experience world class ballet performances. We want to make ballet much more accessible and with such a renowned Bolshoi star as Konstantin Uralsky, as director, audiences know that these performances promise to be both stunning and magical.”
“Ballet is often thought to be “difficult” and elitist, but this is not so. Both forms are timeless and, like any art, they need to be presented in an accessible and attractive way to the audience. This is why we feel it is so important to present our productions in a classical, traditional style that is familiar to all.”
For more information and how to book tickets please visit our website
See you soon at one of our local theatres.
Irina Bozhenko, who has starred in operas across the globe, and will be making guest appearances in the leading role of Violetta, for performances in Harrogate, Llandudno, Blackburn, Darlington, Stockport and York.
|Mon||28-Sep||Harrogate, Royal Hall||01423 502 116|
|Tue||29-Sep||Llandudno, Venue Cymru||01492 872 000|
|Fri||02-Oct||Stockport, The Plaza||01614 777 779|
|Sun||04-Oct||Blackburn, King Georges Hall||0844 847 1664|
|Tue||06-Oct||Darlington, Civic Theatre||01325 486 555|
|Wed||07-Oct||York, Barbican||0844 854 2757|
How old were you when you realised that you wanted to be an Opera singer?
I used to sing in kinder garden and then in school where I was part of the school choir. I went through a stage of trying to be like Whitney Huston. Especially, I used to love singing when I did chores at home.
What do you do after a performance?
We have a tradition with the cast – After any premiere we get together to celebrate and discuss the performance. We are all together in it, rehearsals, stress, and performances, so it’s important to share the feelings with each other and get it out of your chest.
I have met some Opera singers that would wake up in the middle of the night to go through their lines. How do you separate work from home?
I never bring my work home. Although sometimes if I can’t get things right I moan to my husband. He is a good musician so he understands what I am talking about.
What do you like doing in your free time?
I like to cook and being outside. Nothing extraordinary. Being surrounded by nature calms me down. It’s important for me to switch off at the right moment. We give so much emotion on stage it’s vital to recharge.
If you could, what message will you give to the audience?
Don’t be shy to show your emotions, it is really important for us. At the end of the day we are singing for you!
The opera is being performed by The Russian State Opera as part of the company’s UK wide opera tour from September to mid October 2015.
For information and tickets for La Traviata, please visit amande-concerts.co.uk/la-traviata
presented by The Russian State Ballet and Opera House and performed to a large live Orchestra.
‘Always top quality shows from this producer’- Stage Talk Magazine
Please follow this link to read more about the history and how these ballets came to life!
|Fri||16-Oct||Chatham, Central Theatre*||Nutcracker||01634 338 338|
|Sun||18-Oct||Dunstable, The Grove Theatre*||Nutcracker||01582 602080|
|Mon||19-Oct||Eastbourne, Congress Theatre||Swan Lake||01323 412 000|
|Tue||20-Oct||Eastbourne, Congress Theatre||Nutcracker||01323 412 000|
|Wed||21-Oct||Eastbourne, Congress Theatre||Don Quixote||01323 412 000|
|Thu||22-Oct||Harlow, The Playhouse||Nutcracker||01279 431 945|
|Fri||23-Oct||York , Barbican||Nutcracker||0844 854 2757|
|Sat||24-Oct||Peterborough, Key Theatre*||Nutcracker||01733 207 239|
|Sun||25-Oct||Swindon, Wyvern Theatre||Nutcracker||01793 524 481|
|Mon||26-Oct||Chesterfield, Pomegranate||Swan Lake||01246 345 222|
|Tue||27-Oct||Stevenage, Gordon Craig Theatre||Swan Lake||01438 363 200|
|Wed||28-Oct||Stevenage, Gordon Craig Theatre||Don Quixote||01438 363 200|
|Thu||29-Oct||Stafford, Gatehouse Theatre||Nutcracker||01785 619080|
|Fri||30-Oct||Shrewsbury, Theatre Severn||Don Quixote||01743 281 281|
|Sat||31-Oct||Shrewsbury, Theatre Severn||Swan Lake||01743 281 281|
|Sun||01-Nov||Loughborough Town Hall*||Swan Lake||01509 231 914|
|Tue||03-Nov||Guildford, Yvonne Arnaud Theatre||Nutcracker||01483 440 000|
|Wed||04-Nov||Guildford, Yvonne Arnaud Theatre||Don Quixote||01483 440 000|
|Thu||05-Nov||Llandudno, Venue Cymru||Nutcracker||01492 872 000|
|Fri||06-Nov||Portsmouth, Kings Theatre||Swan Lake||023 9282 8282|
|Sat||07-Nov||Yeovil, Octagon Theatre||Nutcracker||01935 422 884|
|Sun||08-Nov||Dorking Halls||Swan Lake||01306 881 717|
|Mon||09-Nov||Swansea, Grand Theatre||Don Quixote||01792 475 715|
|Tue||10-Nov||Tunbridge Wells, Assembly Hall||Nutcracker||01892 530 613|
|Wed||11-Nov||New Brighton, Floral Pavilion||Swan Lake||0151 666 0000|
|Thu||12-Nov||Cheltenham, Everyman Theatre||Nutcracker||01242 572 573|
|Fri||13-Nov||Cheltenham, Everyman Theatre||Don Quixote||01242 572 573|
|Sat||14-Nov||Cheltenham, Everyman Theatre||Swan Lake||01242 572 573|
|Sun||15-Nov||Halifax, Victoria Theatre||Nutcracker||01422 351 158|
|Mon||16-Nov||Lincoln Theatre Royal*||Nutcracker||01522 519 999|
|Tue||17-Nov||Wakefield, Theatre Royal*||Swan Lake||01924 211 311|
|Wed||18-Nov||Newcastle Tyne Theatre||Swan Lake||0844 2491 000|
|Fri||20-Nov||Billingham, Forum Theatre||Nutcracker||01642 552 663|
|Sat||21-Nov||Carlisle, Sands Centre||Don Quixote||01228 633 766|
|Sun||22-Nov||Stockport, The Plaza||Nutcracker||01614 777 779|
|Mon||23-Nov||Harrogate, Royal Hall||Swan Lake||01423 502 116|
|Tue||24-Nov||Harrogate, Royal Hall||Don Quixote||01423 502 116|
|Wed||25-Nov||Crewe, Lyceum Theatre*||Nutcracker||01270 368 242|
|Thu||26-Nov||Scarborough, The Spa||Nutcracker||01723 821 888|
|Sat||28-Nov||Colchester, Charter Hall*||Nutcracker||01206 282 020|
|Sun||29-Nov||Hastings, White Rock Theatre||Nutcracker||01424 462 288|
|Mon||30-Nov||Swansea, Grand Theatre||Nutcracker||01792 475 715|
|* These performances will not have the live orchestra and will be performed to playback music|
Book your tickets early for one of Verdi’s greatest operas, La Traviata
presented by The Russian State Ballet and Opera House and performed to a large live Orchestra.
‘Always top quality shows from this producer’- Stage Talk Magazine
‘An authentic, real and professional experience’ – Northern Echo
This haunting tragedy with its beautiful arias will transport you into the world in which it is set.
Giuseppe Verdi brings the beguiling splendour and gaiety of mid-19th century Parisian life to the stage. But there is also heartbreak and pathos in this tragic and resonant morality tale in which Violetta, a high-society courtesan with a heart of gold, sacrifices everything for the man she loves.
Please follow this link to read more about the history and how La Traviata came to the stage and to life!
It is a deeply moving opera filled with emotion and strokes of genius.
Book online www.opera-tickets.co.uk or call the Theatre Box Office
Please book your ticket(s) early to get the best seats, as the performance is likely to sell out quickly.
|10-Sep-15||7.30pm||Playhouse||Playhouse Square, Harlow, CM20 1LS||01279 431 945|
|11-Sep-15||7.30pm||Lyceum Theatre||Heath Street, Crewe, CW1 2DA||01270 368 242|
|12-Sep-15||7.30pm||Theatre Royal||Clasketgate, Lincoln, LN2 1JJ||01522 519 999|
|13-Sep-15||7.30pm||The Cresset||Rightwell, Peterborough, PE3 8DX||01733 265705|
|15-Sep-15||7.30pm||The Spa||South Bay, Scarborough, YO11 2HD||01723 821 888|
|16-Sep-15||7.30pm||Wyvern Theatre||Theatre Square, Swindon, SN1 1QN||01793 524 481|
|17-Sep-15||7.30pm||Buxton Opera House||Water Street, Buxton, SK17 6XN||0845 127 2190|
|18-Sep-15||7.30pm||The Hawth||Hawth Avenue, Crawley, RH10 6YZ||01293 553636|
|19-Sep-15||7.30pm||Town Hall||Station Road, Clacton-on-Sea, CO15 1SE||01255 686 633|
|20-Sep-15||7.30pm||Gordon Craig Theatre||Lytton Way, Stevenage, SG1 1LZ||01438 363 200|
|21-Sep-15||7.30pm||Dorking Halls||Reigate Road, Dorking, RH4 1SG||01306 88 17 17|
|22-Sep-15||7.30pm||Towngate Theatre||St Martin’s Square, Basildon, SS14 1DW||01268 465 465|
|23-Sep-15||7.30pm||Octagon Theatre||Hendford, Yeovil, BA20 1UX||01935 422 884|
|24-Sep-15||7.30pm||The Alban Arena||Civic Centre, St Albans, AL1 3LD||01727 844 488|
|25-Sep-15||7.45pm||Everyman Theatre||7-10 Regent Steet, Cheltenham, GL50 1HQ||01242 572 573|
|26-Sep-15||7.45pm||Everyman Theatre||7-10 Regent Steet, Cheltenham, GL50 1HQ||01242 572 573|
|27-Sep-15||7.30pm||Theatre Severn||Frankwell Quay, Shrewsbury, SY3 8FT||01743 281 281|
|28-Sep-15||7.30pm||Harrogate Theatre||Oxford Street , Harrogate, HG1 1QF||01423 502 116|
|29-Sep-15||7.30pm||Venue Cymru||The Promenade, Llandudno , LL30 1BB||01492 872 000|
|30-Sep-15||7.30pm||The Bath Hall||Doncaster Road, Scunthorpe, DN15 7RG||0844 854 2776|
|01-Oct-15||7.30pm||Forum Theatre||Town Centre, Billingham, TS23 2LJ||01642 552 663|
|02-Oct-15||7.30pm||Plaza||Mersey Square, Stockport, SK1 1SP||01614 777 779|
|04-Oct-15||7.30pm||King George’s Hall||Northgate, Blackburn, BB2 1AA||0844 847 1664|
|06-Oct-15||7.30pm||Civic Theatre||Parkgate, Darlington, DL1 1RR||01325 486 555|
|07-Oct-15||7.30pm||York Barbican||Paragon St, York, YO10 4AH||0844 854 2757|
|08-Oct-15||7.30pm||White Rock Theatre||White Rock , Hastings, TN34 1JX||01424 462 288|
|09-Oct-15||7.30pm||Stafford Gatehouse||Eastgate Street, Stafford, ST16 2LT||01785 619080|
|10-Oct-15||7.30pm||Floral Pavilion||Marina Parade, New Brighton, CH45 2JS||0151 666 0000|
|11-Oct-15||7.30pm||Victoria Theatre||Fountain Street, Halifax, HX1 1BP||01422 351 158|
|12-Oct-15||7.30pm||Pomegranate Theatre||Corporation Street, Chesterfield, S41 7XT||01246 345 222|
RIGOLETTO – A tragic tale of misunderstanding, revenge and sacrifice
Rigoletto is an opera in three acts by Giuseppe Verdi, set to an Italian libretto by Francesco Maria Piave, and based on the play “Le Roi s’amuse” by Victor Hugo.
Verdi was commissioned to write a new opera by La Fenice opera house in Venice in 1850.
By this time he was already a well-known composer and had a degree of freedom in choosing the works he would prefer to set to music.
Verdi enthused over Victor Hugo’s play.
Often described as Verdi’s first work of complete genius, Rigoletto is particularly noted for its subtle and highly original characterisation, especially in the case of the tragic court jester, Rigoletto himself.
Verdi, who felt a special sympathy for any sort of social outcast, was particularly moved by the idea of a clown outwardly ugly and ridiculous, but inwardly full of passion and love for his young daughter who has been seduced by a callous nobleman.
It was a highly controversial subject, and Hugo himself had already had trouble with censorship in France, which had banned production of his play after its first performance nearly twenty years earlier.
From the beginning Verdi was aware of the risks, as was Piave.
At the beginning of the summer of 1850, rumours started to spread that Austrian censorship was going to forbid the production. The censors considered the Hugo work to verge on lèse majesté and would never permit such a scandalous work to be performed in Venice.
In August, Verdi and Piave prudently retired to Busseto, Verdi’s hometown, to continue the composition and prepare a defensive scheme. They wrote to the theatre, assuring that the censors’ doubts about the morality of the work were not justified, but since very little time was left, very little could be done. At the time, Piave and Verdi has titled the opera La Maledizione (The Curse) and this unofficial title was used by Austrian censor in an emphatic letter written in December 1850 in which he definitely denied consent to its production.
Verdi then decided to have direct negotiations with censors, arguing over each and every point of the work. By January 1851 the parties were able to agree that the action of the opera would be moved from the royal court of France to a duchy of France or Italy and some of the characters would have to be renamed. By January, the opera’s definitive title had become Rigoletto.
Verdi finally completed the composition of the opera on 5 February 1851, a little more than a month before the premiere.
When Verdi wrote Rigoletto, the composer, singers and conductor were in charge of the production and a scenic artist created the sets and costumes – there was no such thing as an opera producer.
The singers were given some of their music to learn on 7 February. However, Verdi kept at least a third of the score at Busseto. He brought it with him when he arrived in Venice for the rehearsals on 19 February and would continue to refine the orchestration during the rehearsal period.
Composers often ‘borrowed’ tunes from earlier operas to fit their current works, but this practice had to be employed judiciously. If the same tune was heard twice in the same town, the audience made their objections known vociferously.
Verdi was very conscious, therefore, while rehearsing the premiere of Rigoletto that the catchiest tune might be spread around the town before the performance and Verdi would be derided as a cheat. So he kept his tenor who was to sing the tune in suspense until the last minute before letting him see it. The composer also demanded maximum secrecy from the rest of the cast, orchestra and theatre staff . La donna è mobile thus went on to be the hit of the opera !
Rigoletto was a great box-office success for La Fenice and Verdi’s first major Italian triumph since the 1847 premiere of Macbeth in Florence.
To find where we are performing, please follow this link http://amande-concerts.co.uk/rigoletto/tickets/