Passion and Heartbreak: Russian State Opera present a sumptuous double-bill at the Belgrade Theatre

Passion and Heartbreak: Russian State Opera present a sumptuous double-bill at the Belgrade Theatre

A double-bill of operatic masterworks is headed for the Belgrade Theatre this summer when Russian State Ballet and Opera house present a pair of lavish new productions.

Following the success of their touring ballet productions, the internationally acclaimed company return to Coventry this August with two of history’s most enduringly popular and accessible operas – Bizet’s Carmen and Verdi’s La Traviata – both accompanied by a sumptuous 30-piece orchestra.

On Thursday 30 August, intense passions and fierce jealousies blaze in Georges Bizet’s fiery Carmen. First staged in 1875, this thrilling story has stood the test of time thanks to its strong-willed, independent heroine, nail-biting confrontations and instantly recognisable melodies, including the famous “Toreador” aria.

Set against the heady backdrop of 19th-century Seville, it tells of a naïve soldier, Don José, who falls deeply in love with the free-spirited, seductive gypsy, Carmen. Unable to resist her allure, he abandons his childhood sweetheart and deserts from his military duties, only to lose her love to the glamorous toreador, Escamillo. This production is sung in French with English surtitles.

Then on Friday 31 August, audiences are invited to experience the quintessential operatic tragedy in Giuseppe Verdi’s beguiling La Traviata. Based on Alexandre Dumas’ 1848 novel La Dame aux Camelias, it follows the story of a high-class courtesan who sacrifices her own happiness for the man she loves.

Amidst the splendour and gaiety of 19th-century Paris, Violetta lives a whirlwind life of endless parties, until she falls head over heels for a young nobleman, Alfredo Germont. But after Alfredo convinces her to move away and live with him in the country, his father arrives to complain that the affair is besmirching the family’s honour. Determined to save Alfredo from disgrace, Violetta leaves her newfound rural idyll and returns to Paris, where tragedy is bound to follow.

Brimming with heartbreak and pathos, this resonant morality tale features a familiar narrative and some of Verdi’s most beautiful and memorable music, including “Sempre libre” (“Always Free”) and “Libia mo ne’ licit calici” (“Let’s Drink from the Joyful Cups”), making it an ideal introduction to opera for newcomers. This production is sung in Italian with English surtitles.

Producer Alexej Ignatow said, “With extensive national tours that get our productions seen the length and breadth of the country, we are able to offer national audiences an unforgettable experience at a fraction of the price of the major opera houses, all without sacrificing quality.

“No experience of opera 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.”

Russian State Opera perform Carmen and La Traviata at the Belgrade Theatre Coventry on Thursday 30 and Friday 31 August respectively. Tickets are available to book now by calling the box office on 024 7655 3055, or visiting where prices are even cheaper.

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