Pre-festive opera treat

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Emmanuel Chabrier’s ravishing and riotous 1877 operetta L’Etoile becomes New Sussex Opera’s pre-Christmas treat.

In Lucky Star, its English title, lovable rogue Lazuli falls in love with beautiful Princess Laoula who is pledged to the clownish King Ouf. Lazuli is to be beheaded as part of the King’s birthday celebrations, but his court astrologer Siroco advises against it and the king unwittingly brings the couple together.

King Ouf is sung by tenor Neil Jenkins, Lazuli by rising mezzo Katie Bray fresh from Glyndebourne, Opera North and ETO, and Laoula by Stephanie Corley, recently The Merry Widow for Opera North.

Spokesman Neil Fraser-Smith said: “The pantomime theme includes the character Tapioca!

The production is directed by Susannah Waters following her triumph with Imago at Glyndebourne.

“Nicholas Jenkins, currently assisting Sir Mark Elder and Sir Simon Rattle, conducts St Paul’s Sinfonia and NSO Chorus.”

Director Susannah Walters describes it as ‘wonderfully silly, Monty Python-esque, yet with all the grace and precision of Chabrier’s delicate music.’

Performances are at:

Eastbourne: Sunday, November 24, 3pm Devonshire Park Theatre, £30 £25 £19 students/children £12 from Congress Theatre or 01323 412000 or

East Grinstead: Wednesday, November 27, 7.30pm Chequer Mead, £25 £20 £15 (students/children £12) from Chequer Mead box office.