Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper

Barefoot Opera’s new La Traviata tour begins in St Leonards

HOT’s Judy Parkinson has packed her opera glasses and cocktail gloves ready for this year’s Barefoot Opera production of Verdi’s La Traviata.

Barefoot Opera’s annual Young Artists Tour returns this year with Verdi’s La Traviata, one of the world’s most popular operas, with an international cast, featuring Turkish rising star soprano Beren Kader Fidan as Violetta and South African-born tenor Tylor Lamani as Alfredo. The 12-night tour across London and the South East debuts in St Leonards on Friday 21 June.

Tylor Lamani in rehearsal as Alfredo

Each year Barefoot Opera throw their net far and wide to attract young up-and-coming singers to join the cast. “No amount of study can teach an artist the reality of living a role,” says Jenny Miller, artistic director. “Years ago, I created opportunities for students, then for young professionals, to become truly able to perform Conte, Figaro, Susannah and all the other essential operatic characters in the opera lexicon.

“It is rewarding to watch a gifted young artist become a fully-fledged Traviata or Alfredo and know they can carry this invaluable experience into the bigger and biggest opera houses.”

Beren Kader Fidan in rehearsal as Violetta

La Traviata is an exhilarating, devastating love story, with a plot that has inspired Hollywood movies from Pretty Woman to Moulin Rouge, whilst Verdi’s sweeping melodies have accompanied scenes in countless films and tv commercials. This opera is as relevant today as ever, weaving together themes of scandal, hypocrisy and toxic masculinity to the heart-rending classic tale of love and loss.

Living life on her own terms, glamorous Violetta falls in love with young poet Alfredo. But their intoxicating romance takes a devastating turn when Violetta becomes the target of society’s double standards. Faced with an impossible choice, she sacrifices what may be her only chance of real love. When all is revealed, will it be too late?

“This opera grabbed hold of its audiences when it was written in 1853…and has never let go”, says producer Anthony Flaum. “We’re excited to give it a present-day spin.”

Based in St Leonards-on-Sea and London, Barefoot Opera was founded in 2011 to produce high-quality, inclusive performances, train emerging young professionals and engage new audiences and participants.

“It’s a delight to bring our production of La Traviata to venues, towns and cities new to our company, as well as our regular destinations,” says Jenny Miller. “Our incredible cast of established and up-and-coming singers will thrill opera fans and newcomers alike. We’re working with Michael Spenceley and young director Alfie Chesney, who are co-directing the show. Both have impressed with their drive and determination to bring this daring interpretation of this classic opera to the stage.”

Barefoot Opera adds its signature twist with physical theatre, movement and stripped-back staging, whilst the cast is accompanied by a small group of musicians on piano, clarinet, double bass and accordion, collectively known as the Barefoot Band, who will perform a new interetation of Verdi’s score, aiming to capture the essence of the opera and create an intimacy with the audience, rearranged by long-term Barefoot Opera collaborator and musical director Laurence Panter

Audiences will see singers from local choirs and schools performing on the stage alongside the professional cast for the overture and famous first chorus. Participants include singers from the Marsh Choir in Rye, Tunbridge Wells Choral Society, Hackney Voices in London, and many more.

“It’s fundamental to Barefoot Opera that we immerse people in our productions, as actors, as singers…and of course, the audience,” says Jenny Miller. “We’re aiming for the entire show – the performers, our participants, the Barefoot Band, the staging and costume – to bring people more closely into the experience of opera.”

Just as last year’s Young Artists Tour with Rossini’s La Cenerentola wowed audiences in London and the South East with transcendent singing, vibrant costumes and bold performances by young operatic performers, audiences will be amazed by more of the same with this year’s La Traviata.


  • St. John the Evangelist’s Church, St Leonards-on-Sea – Friday 21 June (featuring Voiceworks Choir and Bexhill College)
  • Crowhurst Place, Lingfield – Saturday 22 June (outdoor performance featuring East Grinstead Choral Society and Imberhorne School)
  • Rye Creative Centre – Saturday 29 June (featuring the Marsh Choir)
  • Findon Place, West Sussex – Friday 19 July (outdoor performance featuring Harmonessence Choirs and Voices, and Brighton and Hove Sixth Form College)
  • Down House, Lamberhurst – Saturday 14 September (with Tunbridge Wells Choral Society)
  • Maidenhead Music Society at Nordon Farm, Maidenhead – Tuesday 17 September
  • St. Michael All Angel’s, Brighton – Saturday 21 September (featuring Cardinal Newman School and Harmonessence Choirs and Voices)
  • Grimeborn Festival, Arcola Theatre, Dalston – 24/25/27/28 September (with Hackney Voices for one performance)
  • Bourne End, Wooburn Festival – Saturday 5 October

See website for details.

Instagram: @barefootopera

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Posted 20:07 Thursday, Jun 13, 2024 In: Community Arts

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