Well, after ten weeks rehearsing and performing in Leeds, here we are again on tour at the Lowry, Salford Quays, picking up where we left off in March, so some notes from the bunker are in order

Several Opera North old lags are back for another stretch, which makes for very jolly evenings in the From the House of the Dead. It’s always good to have Jeff Lloyd-Roberts back, and Roddy Williams, and Rob Hayward, Alan Oke, Stephen Richardson – yes all of you, don’t be offended if I’ve missed your name off, I’m on a tight word-count here. However, at the Lowry there is no natural light or fresh air for the Company Manager, which leaves me longing for my freedom…….

In case you hadn’t realised, this season is all about imprisonment, liberty, love, death, and scratchy grey uniforms for the gentlemen of the chorus. Don Jose is sent to jail for dereliction of duty; Florestan is imprisoned by his political enemies; Goryanchikov, a toff, is sent to a tough gulag in Siberia – shades of M. Strauss-Kahn do we think? I love the way life reflects art, but it’s sobering to think that nothing changes in the world.

It’s only a short tour this time – a week at the Lowry and a week in Nottingham – with the added interest of two concert stagings (From the House of the Dead and Fidelio) at The Sage in Gateshead, while the Newcastle Theatre Royal undergoes renovation. Of course, they won’t be JUST concert performances, so we’ll be turning up in force.

The Company Office on tour is never dull: people asking questions, needing hotels or transport, ringing to say they’re ill or delayed, asking for tickets, changing rehearsals, having meetings, trying to get online…. And we’re trying to sort out a chorus of 24 children for The Queen of Spades which starts rehearsing in August, so lots of emails flying around about audition arrangements.

And just when you thought it was safe to go back to Leeds at the end of it all, what happens? Das Rheingold, that’s what, just one of the biggest things we could do without a stage, with a completely different set of people needing accommodation, transport, tickets…..

Jane Bonner, Company Manager

Remaining tour dates:

Theatre Royal, Nottingham- 24 – 28 May

The Sage, Gateshead – 3 – 4 June