Opera comes back to town

TALES of doomed and forbidden love are to be told in Ipswich with the arrival of the passion and magnificence of opera.The Chisinau National Opera are returning next week, bringing with them Verdi's Aida and Vincenzo Bellini's Norma.

By Jo Macdonald

TALES of doomed and forbidden love are to be told in Ipswich with the arrival of the passion and magnificence of opera.

The Chisinau National Opera are returning next week, bringing with them Verdi's Aida and Vincenzo Bellini's Norma.

Aida, which takes to the stage on October 10, is arguably one of the most popular operas ever written and tells a story of war, jealousy and revenge centring on the doomed love of Ethiopian slave girl, Aida, and Egyptian hero, Radames.

The role of Aida will by sung by Japanese soloist Manami Hama, Romanian diva Mariana Colpos and Polish soprano Monika Chabros and that of Radames by Bolshoi star Serghey Kunaev in his British debut and Akhmed Agadi.

And the company will be bringing dancers from its own ballet company for a lavish sequence and an enchanting children's ballet.

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Aida will be followed on October 11 by Norma, the opera which gave Maria Callas her most famous and demanding role.

The opera tells of the tragedy that results from the forbidden love of the Druid High Priestess Norma , played by soprano Natalia Margarit, for the Roman Officer Pollione.

It is traditionally set in the time of the Druids and the Roman occupation of Gaul in the 1st Century AD but Ellen Kent, of Opera International which is bringing the shows to town, wanted to create a new production set in Britain against the backdrop of Stonehenge.

She said: "The irony is that the Druids had nothing to do with the building of Stonehenge. The stones date back tot he late neolithic and early bronze age, but in the 18th century the belief grew that the Druids had put them on Salisbury Plain and many artists, including Bellini, were inspired by this myth."

Opera International have organised a competition for the Evening Star.

First prize is an Aida chess set, a bottle of Russian Methode champagne, a pair of top price tickets and a souvenir programme. Second prize is a bottle of Russian Methode champagne, a pair of top price tickets and a souvenir programme.

Three runners up will each receive a pair of top price tickets.

To be in with a chance of winning call 01634 820228 by Monday and leave your name, a daytime telephone number and your answer to the following question on the voicemail: Who composed the opera Norma?

n Verdi's Aida will be at Ipswich Regent on October 10 and Bellini's Norma on October 11. Tickets cost between £19 and £30 and are available at the Central Box Office, Princes Street, Ipswich or by calling 01473 433100.

Both operas will be sung in Italian and accompanied by surtitles .

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