Whatever you think of opera, the annual Grimeborn Festival will make you think again. This summer it brings an impressive line-up of bold new versions of classic operas, along with rarely-seen and long-forgotten works, and brand new pieces from the most exciting international up-and-coming composers, musicians and companies to the Arcola Theatre in east London.
The highlight of the programme, however, which runs until 26th August, is without doubt A Fantastic Bohemian, the first production of Opera MIO, founded in London by Mexican artistic director and producer María Inés Olmedo. Opera MIO reimagines the operatic experience for the 21st century by pushing the boundaries of what opera is and can be, by breaking down traditions and introducing contemporary theatre practices.
Not only interested in introducing a new way to experience opera and classical music, Olmedo also aims to produce work that promotes a strong intercultural relationship between Mexico and the UK, forming diverse international teams to create productions that cut across cultural and geographical borders.
Based on Jacques Offenbach’s ‘opéra fantastique’ The Tales of Hoffmann, A Fantastic Bohemian is a tantalising new abridged English-language production, which transports you to Mexico City during the Golden Cinema Age of the 1940s, mixing Offenbach’s music with traditional ‘Danzón’.
Starring sensational performers Lucy Mellors, Eduard Mas Bacardit, Ed Ballard, Robert Barbaro, Meriel Cunningham, Stuart Orme and Lawrence Olsworth-Peter, the audience is invited to join the great bohemian artist Hoffmann, played by Eduard Mas Bacardit, on a journey to uncover the mysteries of his three lost loves.
Accompanied by live piano, cello, violin and clarinet, you will step into Salón MIO, inspired by Mexico’s most emblematic dance hall Salón Los Ángeles, where vice, love, death and passion are fused across three spaces throughout one enticing evening.