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Opera Della Luna Make Their First Trip To Storyhouse This Autumn

Comic opera company Opera della Luna are making their first visit to Chester's exciting new Storyhouse venue with a new production, presented by the city's very own Jeff Clarke at the helm.

They present two hilarious one-act comedies in one unforgettable evening by the French master of comic opera with Tales Of Offenbach, with performances of Croquefer and L'Ile de Tulipatan.

Opera della Luna bring Tales Of Offenbach to Storyhouse on Friday 22 September and Saturday 23 September. Tickets are on sale now.

Sung in English in a completely new version by Chester's very own Jeff Clarke, the production was premiered last Autumn in London's Wilton's Music HalL. Clarke also directs the show.

Croquefer has imprisoned the daughter of his arch-rival Mousse-a-Mort, with whom he has been at war for 23 years. Despite having lost most of his body parts, including his tongue at the Crusades, Mousse-a-Mort is determined to fight one last battle to save his daughter.

Their bloody final fight to the death is only prevented by the deft interference of Croquefer's housekeeper, who cunningly poisons the water, thereby inflicting on all residents of the castle devastating episodes of loose bowels!

In the second comedy and on the island of Tulipatan, King Cacatois XXll is unaware that his only son and heir, Alexis, is in fact biologically his daughter. Knowing how desperate he was for a son, the doctors concealed the child's true sex from the King, who has grown increasingly despairing of his son's gentle disposition.

Coincidentally, in order to avoid her child being conscripted into the army, the wife of the King's Field Marshall has also lied to her husband about their daughter, who is in fact a boy. How extraordinary it would be if these two bizarrely brought-up children were to meet and somehow fall in love.

Opera della Luna was created in 1994 and is the country's only full-time comic opera company. It presents over 100 shows each year including performances at The Lowry, Iford Festival, Theatre by the Lake, Oxford Playhouse, and Lighthouse Poole. It performs many works by Gilbert & Sullivan, as well as Offenbach and Strauss. Recent productions have included Orpheus in the Underworld, Ruddigore, The Merry Widow, and Die Fledermaus.

Jeff Clarke is a writer and director and hails from Chester. He was educated at The King's School before studying Music and English at St Andrew's University. He has been Artistic Director of Opera della Luna since its launch in 1994, and has worked for the Royal Opera House Convent Garden, Sydney Opera House, Scottish Opera, Lyric Opera of Queensland, and the State Opera of Australia.

Writer and directed Jeff Clarke commented: "Chester has waited such a long time to have a state-of-the-Art Theatre so it is a real thrill for me that my company, Opera della Luna, will be appearing in its very first season.

"The first theatre that I ever went to as a small boy in Chester was the lovely old Edwardian Royalty Theatre on City Road. It inspired a life in the theatre and it's where my arts journey really started. Now I am delighted the city has a magnificent venue we can be proud of, and I am excited to bring my work to my home city."

As well as his many productions for Opera della Luna, Jeff has also directed productions of The Barber of Seville (Kuala Lumpur), Sweeney Todd and Romeo and Juliet (Brussels), The Marriage of Figaro (Opera East), Rusalka, Lucia di Lammermoor, The Rake's Progress (Iford Festival), Princess Ida, The Yeomen of the Guard, Ruddigore and The Gondoliers (Buxton G&S Festival) and Pagliacci at the Hanoi Opera House, Vietnam. He has directed many musicals including Annie, Lock Up Your Daughters, and Cabaret.

Jeff has translated many operas and his version of The Tales of Hoffmann was recently staged by English Touring Opera. He also composes and his children's opera, The Spotted Cow & The Pianoforte, was staged by the Concordia Foundation at Wilton's Music Hall in 2010. Plans include a national tour of The Daughter of the Regiment, and a London season of Orpheus in the Underworld in 2018.

The Tales Of Offenbach cast includes Anthony Flaum, Paul Featherstone, Lynsey Docherty and Caroline Kennedy. Joining director Jeff Clarke is conductor Michael Waldron, designer Elroy Ashmore, lighting designer Nic Holdridge, Isobel Pellow on costumes, and choreographer Jenny Arnold.

Tickets from £16.50 to £29.50. Storyhouse has a dynamic pricing policy on the majority of shows, ensuring that the earlier you book your tickets, we guarantee you of the cheapest and best seats available.

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