GIUSEPPE Verdi’s Macbeth was the composer’s breakthrough piece inspired by Shakespeare, his literary hero.

It's a work of highly distilled drama and violent contrast, with three main protagonists: the flawed, murderous hero, his vicious, tortured wife and the witches who play with their ambitions.

English Touring Opera returns to Ulverston on Tuesday, March 19 (7.30pm), to perform Verdi's great work.

The Olivier Award winning-company will bring a cast combining internationally celebrated opera stars with exciting young talent to the Coronation Hall, supported by a full scale orchestra and large chorus, conducted by Gerry Cornelius.

Apparently, appearing alongside ETO will be a local youngster, who will perform a small but pivotal role in the opera as Macduff’s son.

Making his ETO debut as director, James Dacre will have the task of bringing to life what was Verdi’s first masterpiece and the first of his many great adaptations of Shakespeare.

James, artistic director at the Royal and Durngate, returns to Shakespeare following his critically acclaimed 2015 Globe Theatre production of King John. The distinguished director's extensive CV includes The Accrington Pals at Manchester's Royal Exchange Theatre, which landed a TMA Award for best design, and was nominated for MEN Award for best production. His productions in the West End include the Olivier Award-winning The Mountaintop.

James says that Verdi's Macbeth has such powerful resonances for today both in its portrayal of a nation on the brink but also in its intimate depictions of the inner psychological turmoil of our leaders: "Trapped in a swamp of intrigue, murder and betrayal, ours is a modern Macbeth fighting to protect his fragile grip on power in this extraordinarily theatrical opera full of demonic energy and drive.”

Verdi himself wrote that the play was "one of the greatest creations of the human spirit," and oversaw the Italian translation and libretto meticulously. He placed such emphasis on the dramatic arc of Shakespeare’s tragedy that he revolutionised the art form of opera with the extent to which he designed the score so as to completely serve the drama. This approach became a hallmark of Verdi’s later Shakespearian works: Othello and Falstaff. ETO will perform Andrew Porter’s English version of the libretto, which preserves much of the original Shakespeare.

Grant Doyle takes the role of Macbeth. As a regular with English Touring Opera, he has sung the title role in The Barber of Seville, Orestes in Gluck's Iphigénie en Tauride, Marcello La boheme, Hector King Priam, Eduardo L'assedio di Calais, Paolo Simon Boccanegra, Emireno Ottone, Tiridate Radamisto, and Nello in Pia de' Tolomei, a UK stage premiere.

He played Abraham in James MacMillan's Clemency directed by Katie Mitchell for ROH2 and revived for Scottish Opera at the 2012 Edinburgh Festival. Born in Adelaide, Grant graduated with honours from the University of Adelaide, winning the Elder Scholarship to continue his studies on the Opera School at the Royal College of Music, subsequently winning a place on the Jette Parker Young Artists Programme at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.

He has made several recordings and as a busy concert soloist performances include Carmina Burana with the Australian Ballet.

He also played the lead role of Arthur Stace in the Channel Four/ABC film Jonathon Mills' The Eternity Man, which won the 2009 Rose d’Or Award for Best Performing Arts programme; he also recorded the Forester for the BBC animated film of The Cunning Little Vixen with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin as well as taking the role of Carlo in Judith Weir’s film opera Armida for Channel Four.

Tanya Hurst sings the part of Lady Macbeth. Winner of the Czech Song Prize at the Emmy Destinn Young Singer’s Award and finalist for the Wagner Society of England’s Singing Competition, the Australian soprano is a graduate of the Royal Northern College of Music gaining a master of music with distinction and is under the tutelage of Raymond Connell and Nick Powell.

Tanya has appeared at English National Opera, West Green House Opera, Grimeborn Festival and Festival d'Aix-en-Provence. Operatic credits include Gerhilde Die Walküre for Grange Park Opera, Flowermaiden Parsifal for Elemental Opera, and Kate Pinkerton Madama Butterfly, an Ormond Opera production. Her concert performances have involved Strauss' Vier Letzte Lieder at St James's Piccadilly, 4 Primo Levi Settings by Simon Bainbridge at Wigmore Hall and Beethoven's 9th at Colston Hall.

Tanya has performed with English Voices at Festival d'Aix-en-Provence, in Zürich with the Zürcher-Sing Akademie and has toured throughout the UK with the Armonico Consort. Tanya completed her time at the RNCM on a high after being awarded the Claire Croiza Prize for French Song.

Winner of the 2014 Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in Opera, English Touring Opera is the most prolific touring opera company in the UK, travelling each year to around 70 venues, more than any other English opera company. With its mission to offer opera to everyone, the company presents as many as 140 performances per year. ETO’s outreach programme focuses on creative work, and ranges from community operas and music theatre workshops to productions for young people and their families, featuring artists from the company’s main-stage shows, touring to schools across the UK. ETO is the only UK opera company nominated in the Education and Outreach category for the 2019 International Opera Awards. The company is also a national leader in the provision of arts for dementia sufferers. It has also helped launch the careers of many distinguished singers, including Amanda Echalaz and Dame Sarah Connolly and gave the world première of Alexander Goehr’s opera Promised End in 2010.

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