• A co-production with Britten Pears Arts, the opera will open the Aldeburgh Festival on Friday 7 June at Snape Maltings Concert Hall
  • ETO will also tour the production as part of a double-bill in their Autumn 2024 season

English Touring Opera today [13 March] announced the casting for their new production of Dame Judith Weir’s Blond Eckbert. A co-production with Britten Pears Arts, the opera will open the 75th Aldeburgh Festival on Friday 7 June as part of the festival’s focus on Dame Judith’s music, before touring around the country later in the year during ETO’s Autumn 2024 season.

Baritone Simon Wallfisch sings the title role, returning to ETO for the first time since 2015 where he sung Pelléas in Pelléas et Mélisande and Albert in Werther, with his performance in the former role described by the Evening Standard as “one of the most beautifully sung accounts of the role that I have come across”. Soprano Aoife Miskelly sings the role of Bird, a role she recently performed to critical acclaim at Potsdamer Winteroper in 2023 – Opera magazine stated that she “sang most engagingly as Bird, her clear voice a constant joy”.

The cast is completed by “vocally dazzling” (Independent) mezzo-soprano Flora McIntosh as Berthe, and tenor William Morgan – recently seen as Freddy in the UK premiere of Jonathan Dove’s Marx in London – who performs the roles of Walther, Hugo and Old Woman.

Blond Eckbert is a haunting tale of isolation and enigma, based on a supernatural short story by the Romantic author Ludwig Tieck. ETO’s General Director Robin Norton-Hale will direct the production, and Gerry Cornelius, ETO’s Music Director, conducts.

Blond Eckbert will also tour across the country as part of a double-bill in ETO’s Autumn 2024 season, which also includes a new production of Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Snow Maiden – further details and venues will be announced in due course.

Robin Norton-Hale, General Director of English Touring Opera, said: “Blond Eckbert’s desire for human connection leads him to share his darkest secrets, setting in motion a train of paranoia and guilt. A Hitchcockian sense of foreboding pervades Judith’s wonderfully precise and evocative score from the first phrase, and I’m looking forward to immersing myself in it with this talented team.”

English Touring Opera also brings two new productions to Snape Maltings Concert Hall as part of its Spring 2024 season, with Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress and Puccini’s Manon Lescaut on 22 and 23 March respectively – more information and tickets can be found on the ETO website.

Tickets for Blond Eckbert at the Aldeburgh Festival are now on sale on the Britten Pears Arts website.