Award-winning English Touring Opera returns to Malvern Theatres

Pelleas & Mellisande

Pelleas & Mellisande - Credit: Archant

Olivier Award-winning opera company English Touring Opera (ETO) returns to Malvern Theatres 22-24 October with a season of dramatic and passionate French opera.

ETO performs fully-staged and costumed new productions of Debussy’s Pelléas & Mélisande, Offenbach’s The Tales of Hoffmann and Massenet’s Werther at Malvern Festival Theatre from Thursday 22 to Saturday 24 October.

Pelléas & Mélisande is famous for Debussy’s sensuous and captivating music. Set in a mysterious castle by the sea, it has echoes of Romeo and Juliet in its depiction of doomed romance.

In the story King Golaud brings the young maiden Mélisande home to his castle, where his half-brother Pelléas falls in love with her. The King is violently jealous of the couple, and as Pelléas and Mélisande declare their love openly for the first time Golaud rushes in and kills his brother in a violent rage.

Pelléas & Mélisande is sung in French with English surtitles, and is performed at Malvern Festival Theatre on Thursday 22 October at 7.30pm.

The Tales of Hoffmann treats a set of quirky stories from the works of ETA Hoffmann with a mix of passion and darkly comic humour. The opera’s many catchy and exciting tunes include the Barcarolle, famous from the Oscar-winning film Life is Beautiful (La vita è bella).

The story starts with the penniless writer Hoffmann waiting in a tavern for his latest mistress to arrive. To pass the time he tells the stories of his previous three lovers, who range from an opera diva to a courtesan, and even a mechanical doll whose aria literally unwinds as she sings it.

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ETO’s new production is sung in English, and stars Ilona Domnich, who played Mimì in ETO’s La bohème earlier this year, in the role of Stella and the three heroines - one of the most demanding in all of opera.

The Tales of Hoffmann is sung in English, and is performed at Malvern Festival Theatre on Friday 23 October at 7.30pm.

Werther is often considered the greatest of Massenet’s many operas, and combines gorgeous melodies, romance and high drama.

The young poet Werther falls completely in love with Charlotte, who is already engaged. At first she rejects him, and then reading his love letters she realises she feels the same way – but before she can tell him the despondent Werther shoots himself dead.

Werther is sung in English, and is performed at Malvern Festival Theatre on Saturday 24 October at 7.30pm.

James Conway, ETO’s General Director, said: ‘We set out to find three of the very best French operas, with compelling dramas that could be especially well told on an intimate scale – and decided on three that are essentially “French”, though they could hardly be more different from each other.’

He added: ‘I think this season has plenty for anyone who likes opera, of course, but also for people who have an interest in different kinds of theatre. Come try these very different masterpieces – you won’t regret it!’

ETO will be appearing at Malvern Theatres from Thursday 22nd – Saturday 24th October. Tickets are on sale at the Box Office 01684 892277 and online at