World-class opera featuring a pet dog from Hull

Published: Wednesday 15th March 2017 by Courtney Farrow

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A trio of exciting operas is coming to Hull next week. We spoke to Ellen Kent, Director and Producer, to find out more.

“We’ve got three big shows visiting Hull City Hall, and each is absolutely breathtaking,” Ellen tells us. “It’s almost like an opera festival.”

Opera and Ballet International brings La Boheme, Nabucco and Aida to one of the city’s finest venues over three consecutive nights. Each performance offers audiences a completely different and equally fascinating experience.

“Puccini’s La Boheme is set in early 19th century Paris. It’s very romantic and popular amongst opera fans,” Ellen explains.

La Boheme (pictured above) might also be right up your street if you love dogs:

“We had 62 dogs apply for a role as Musetta’s pet,” says Ellen. “Harry, a four-year-old crossbreed Cocker Spaniel from Hull, eventually landed the role.”

Owner Samantha Myers, who also features in the show as Musetta’s maid, will guide the dog around the stage throughout his performance.

“People say never work with children or animals, but I love to do both,” chuckles Ellen.

“Many years ago we asked local people to volunteer their pets for La Boheme and it was a huge success. I’ve worked with horses, dogs, goldfish and even a golden eagle!”

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In contrast, Nabucco has a more serious tone: “It’s a historical opera based on the ancient Babylonians and focuses on the burning down of the temple in Jerusalem.”

“It follows the enslavement of the Hebrews,” adds Ellen. “It’s very spectacular. We have a fantastic set designed by Set-Up (Scenery), who also build for the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden.”

The director explains that Nabucco has a lot of striking special effects, including the realistic burning down of the Jewish temple.

The final opera is one of the most famous pieces of all time:

Aida is an ancient Egyptian story and has an incredibly fabulous set. We have nine-foot-high statues, a fire spinner and cascades of gold falling from the sky.”

Ellen is excited to be bringing these performances to the UK City of Culture 2017:

“What better way to celebrate culture than by having three major operas come to the city in the same week?”

Meanwhile, if you’re completely new to opera, Ellen thinks that these shows are a wonderful entry into the art:

“All three are perfect for a first-time opera-goer. La Boheme is certainly a great introduction to opera. It’s a classic, it’s romantic and it’s easy to watch.”

Nabucco is definitely very interesting. And Aida is an extremely popular performance, loved by everyone.”


In short, for those who love uplifting music, inspiring acting and just want to try something new, Opera and Ballet International’s shows are a fantastic choice.

La Boheme will be performed on Tuesday 21 March, Nabucco on Wednesday 22 March, and Aida will conclude the festival on Thursday 23 March.

To book tickets, please call the box office on 01482 300306 or book online.

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Published: Wednesday 15th March 2017 by Courtney Farrow

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