English Touring Opera: Puccini Opera Gala
Type: Concert
Date: Thursday 16 June 2011

English Touring Opera: Puccini Opera Gala

Soprano: Julie Unwin
Tenor: Charne Rochford
Baritone: Simon Thorpe
Narrator: Johnny Langridge
Piano: Timothy Carey


Extracts from Il Tabarro (The Cloak)
MICHELE Simon Thorpe GIORGETTA Julie Unwin LUIGI Charne Rochford

La Bohème Act 3:
Mimì! - Speravo di trovarti qui/Marcello, finalmente!/Mimì è una civetta/Mimì è tanto malata! - to end of trio
MIMI Julie Unwin RUDOLFO Charne Rochford MARCELLO Simon Thorpe

La Bohème Act 4:
O Mimì, tu più non torni
RUDOLFO Charne Rochford MARCELLO Simon Thorpe

Tosca Act 2:
Salvatelo! ... Lo? ... Voi!/Se La Giurata Fede Debbo Tradir ... Già Mi Struggea L'amor/Vissi D'arte
TOSCA Julie Unwin SCARPIA Simon Thorpe

Madama Butterfly Act 1:
Vieni La Sera/Bimba Dagli Occhi Pieni Di Malia/Vogliatemi Bene, Un Bene Piccolino
CIO-CIO-SAN Julie Unwin PINKERTON Charne Rochford


This was the first time ETO had been invited to perform at the Festival. The Puccini programme was both imaginative and accessible. Puccini is the most popular of opera composers, with readily recognisable music, and as such attracted first time audience members to the Festival

The evening began with a concert version, in costume, of one of his less well-known one-act operas Il Tabarro (The Cloak). The company of three principal singers, (Julie Unwin, Simon Thorpe, Charne Rochford) who had been touring the full opera for some months, gave an intense, rich and varied portrayal of the pathos, despair, erotic passion and tenderness required of this work. The setting was a gloomy barge on the river Seine and we, the audience, were soon eased in to their world and emotionally engaged with the slow build up of tension that led to a full-blooded melodramatic finale. Indeed, because of the intimacy of the space, it felt as if we were on stage with the characters. An audience member commented on feeling emotionally drained at the end.

The second half of the evening was made up of well-known arias, duets and trios taken from La Bohème, Tosca and Madama Butterfly. It concluded with the three singers sharing an encore of Nessun Dorma (Turandot Act 3). In addition, to provide a moment of both contrast and calm in the programme, the extremely able accompanist Timothy Carey entertained us with two delightful melodies that included The Intermezzo from Manon Lescaut.

The English Touring Opera is a class act, travelling to all parts of the country with their performances. We are delighted they made a date to open this year’s Shaldon Festival with a feast of the glorious music of Puccini.

Leon Winston

Parking Map for St Peter's Church, Shaldon


St Peter’s Church, Bridge Road, Shaldon, TQ14 0DB


1. Long Stay Public Carpark ½ mile from the church, reached through the village or off the A379 coast road to Torquay, postcode TQ14 0HP – 381 spaces, “pay & display” during the day but free after 6.00pm. Allow 15 minutes for the blue walking route shown.
2. Short Stay Public Carpark, opposite the church, postcode TQ14 0BP – 48 spaces, “pay & display” subject to a short stay 4 hour limit during the day but free after 6.00pm.
3. Extra parking – limited space adjoining the recreation ground reached from Ringmore Road but with easy pedestrian access to the Church along the estuary embankment. If using this area, please park “tidily” to maximise the usable space; this area is only available for parking as a special arrangement for the Festival.


Please telephone Malcolm Watson on 01626 873492 if you need help with letting someone alight at the church and/or need seating space for a wheelchair. In addition, there are a very few parking spaces close to the church which we can reserve for those with mobility difficulties on a first come, first served, basis.