This weekend, Ellen Kent Productions are back at the New Theatre in Oxford's city centre with two magnificent and hugely popular productions: Tosca and Carmen (15 and 16 April, respectively).
Puccini’s Tosca is a study in love, torture and treachery. Set in Rome in 1800, it tells the story of Floria Tosca, an opera singer; her lover, the painter Mario Cavaradossi; and the jealous and corrupt Chief of Police, Baron Scarpia, who is determined to win Tosca for himself. When Cavarodossi is accused of treachery, Scarpia offers Tosca a choice; Cavaradossi’s life in exchange for Tosca’s love. Will she give herself to the arch-manipulator or allow her lover to be killed?
The set promises a stunningly lavish reimagining of early 19th century Rome, inspired by the city’s iconic churches. Look out for the two greyhounds who appear courtesy of the West Yorkshire Greyhound Trust, accompanying Scarpia’s entrance in Act One. Ellen Kent is a passionate campaigner for animal welfare and there will be a collection after the performance.
On Saturday, Bizet’s much-loved Carmen takes the stage. More love, more jealousy and some truly unforgettable – and doubtless familiar – arias. This time, the set takes us to Seville with its Roman and Moorish influences, and we meet Don Jose, a soldier, entranced by the infamous and exotic factory-worker Carmen. But, she loves another; Escamillo the bull-fighter. Don Jose’s jealousy comes to a head in the fatal final act.
Each as dramatic as anything Netflix might have to offer but nothing beats a night at the theatre. If you like to follow the action, there are English surtitles throughout. Tickets are still available, from £13.00