Marina Medvetskaya’s Saint Petersburg Classic Ballet

Present Swan Lake

Saturday 7th January 2017

Symphony Hall, Birmingham

Swan Lake is the story of the Prince and the Swan Princess, a tragic tale of love that triumphs over evil, set to Tchaikovsky’s sublime, soaring dramatic score performed by a live orchestra.

Following a triumphant premier UK tour earlier this year, Saint Petersburg Classic Ballet makes its debut here at Symphony Hall. Under the direction of Marina Medvetskaya, SPCB has won plaudits across Russia, Scandinavia and the USA.

Demonstrating the superb technique and artistic heritage from the cradle of Russian ballet – the City of St. Petersburg – and presenting the best-loved Russian ballet titles, Saint Petersburg Classic Ballet’s performances have an air of magic, along with outstanding young soloists who will take your breath away!


Interview with Natalia Romanova, by Andy Coleman, WeekendNotes:

Click here for full interview

“Principal dancer Natalia Romanova, who joined the company in 1998, talks about her career and how the dancers prepare for a big production.

Natalia Romanova, Marina Medvetskaya's Saint Petersburg Classic Ballet, Birmingham Symphony Hall, Swan Lake, Tchaikovsky, Swan Lake,

Why did you decide to become a professional ballerina?

I have wanted to be a dancer ever since I can remember. Dance, particularly ballet, is a huge part of our culture, dating back to the 17th century, so we all learn about it in school and it’s a big part of our lives.

Natalia Romanova, Marina Medvetskaya's Saint Petersburg Classic Ballet, Birmingham Symphony Hall, Swan Lake, Tchaikovsky, Swan Lake,      ” …


Sue Perkins Live!

In Spectacles

Sunday 18th September, 2016

Birmingham Town Hall


Doors open: 7PM
Event start time: 7:30PM
Interval: Time TBC
Approx finish time: 10PM

A rare chance to enjoy an evening with Sue Perkins packed full of sparkling wit, great stories, a user’s guide to Mary Berry and the very best bits from her hilarious best-selling memoir Spectacles.

Sue is best known for being one quarter of double act Mel and Sue. In 2008 she won the BBC show Maestro culminating in her conducting at The Last Night of the Proms. She has collaborated with food-critic Giles Coren on the Supersizers series, created the acclaimed travel documentary The Mekong River with Sue Perkins and is a regular contributor to Have I Got News For You, Just a Minute, Qi and The News Quiz.

Oh, and apparently she does some cake show on BBC1.

Read more about the tour by clicking here.

Each ticket will include a copy of Sue’s new book Spectacles (RRP £7.99) to be collected on the night. Sue will be signing copies after the show.

Spectacles is as charming and funny as Perkins herself. Like going for a long, slightly drunken lunch with your naughtiest friend.

RED magazine

Warm, crisp and beautifully layered – like its author, Spectacles is a complete delight.

Independent on Sunday

Il Trittico

Saturday 2nd March 2013

Giacomo Puccini’s Il Trittico

Puccini’s trio of operas inspired by the work of Dante

Birmingham Conservatoire

Michael Seal – Conductor

Director – Michael Barry


Il Tabarro –

Michele’s barge on the Seine in Paris


Michele – Wesley Biggs

Luigi – Bo Zhang

Tinca – Christopher Griksaitis

Talpa – Hedd Owen Griffiths

Giorgetta – Amelia Burns

Frugola – Urzsula Bock

Song Vendor – Edward Harrisson

Lover – Tamara Peters

Lover – Robert Tilson

Stevedores – Charles Allison, James Rowland, Harvey Seale, Andrew Wilson, Joe Zainul

Midinettes – Kendal Bradshaw, Sarah Gallop, Heather Heighway, Alexandra Soiza


Sour Angelica –

A convent


Suor Angelica – Elizabeth Ryder

Principezza – Ellie Edmonds

Abbess – Lucy Stabler

Monitor – Eleanor Hodkinson

Mistress of Novices – Victoria Adams

Genovieffa – Louise Martyn

Osmina – Jessica Friend

Dolcina – Rachel Crisp

Nursing Sister – Rosie Walker

1st Tourière – Yi Ling Chaing

2nd Tourière – Sarah Burke

Other nuns, lay sisters, novices, etc

Naomi Berry, Esther Beard, Davina Brownrigg, Helen Cooper, Antonia Gentile, Ellen Hunter, Rachel Jonas King, Alexandra Soiza, Daniella Varadi, Kirsty Williamson

Suor Angelica’s Child – Oscar Cawthorne

Virgin Mary – Chloe Keenan


Gianni Schicchi –

The Palazzo of Buoso Donati in Florence


Gianni Schicchi – Matthew Durkan

Lauretta – Sophie Pullen

Zita – Claire Barnett-Jones

Rinuccio – Gyula Rab

Gherardo – Brock Roberts

Nella – Sarah Richards

Gherardino – Antonia Gentile

Betto – Tom Ping

Simone – Samuel Oram

Marco – Tom Considine

La Ciesca – Victoria Aindow

Spinelocchio – William Gee

Notario – George Stuart

Pinellino – Daniel Wyman

Guccio – Harvey Seale

Buoso – Andrew Wilson


Gianni Schicchi – Samuel Oram

Simone – William Gee

Marco – Andrew Wilson




Review by Richard Bratby, Birmingham Post:

Click here for full review

…     “But the revelation tonight was Suor Angelica – usually viewed as the  problem piece of the three. With Elizabeth Ryder in the title role, it was  overwhelming. Her Senza mamma  was piercing in its controlled intensity, and her stand-off with the coolly  sadistic Principezza (powerfully characterised by Ellie Edmonds) became the  dramatic climax of the evening – lifted to a shattering level by the conducting  of Michael Seal.

Alert and urgent, masterfully paced, and with a  near-perfect balance between singers and orchestra, it was hard to believe that  this was Seal’s first ever full-length opera. An on-form student orchestra  responded with some really sumptuous playing.”


Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty

Tue 5 – Sat 9 Feb

New Adventures’ 25th birthday culminates with the world premiere of Matthew Bourne’s latest re-imagining of a ballet classic.
Sleeping Beauty sees Bourne return to the music of Tchaikovsky to complete the trio of ballet masterworks that started with Nutcracker! and the international smash hit, Swan Lake.Our story begins in 1890 at the christening of Princess Aurora, a time when fairies and vampires fed the gothic imagination, before moving forward in time to the modern day.Featuring designs by Olivier Award winners Lez Brotherston (Set and Costumes), Paule Constable (Lighting) with Sound Design by Paul Groothuis, which will take the audience into the heart of Tchaikovsky’s magnificent score in specially recorded surround sound.Matthew Bourne’s haunting new production is a Gothic Romance for all ages; a supernatural love story that even the passage of time cannot hinder.

Sound Design by Paul Groothuis Lighting Design by Paule Constable Set and Costume Design by Lez Brotherston Directed and Choreographed by Matthew Bourne

WATCH… …Channel 4’s report on the brand new production HERE. …The BBC’s report HERE. …Matthew Bourne talk to the BBC about his wide appeal HERE.READ… **** Review from The Guardian HERE. …The Sunday Times’ interview with Matthew Bourne HERE.
****’ ‘WONDERFUL. Bourne’s clever gothic re-write has discovered something beguiling and true’ The Guardian‘A production with a beating heart and a twinkle in its eye’ Daily Telegraph‘A tightly choreographed delight’ Metro‘The great showman of British dance, with an instinctive understanding of what audiences want’ Daily Telegraph

‘Demolishing conventions, bestriding art forms from ballet to musical comedy to film, Bourne’s work isn’t just high-brow or low-brow. It’s all-brow’ Time Magazine






Review by Roger Clarke, BehindTheArras:

Click here for full review

…     “A novel feature was the use of two travelators, those moving pavements that do the walking for you at airports, moving in opposite directions at the rear of the stage, producing fascinating movement all helping to emphasise we are in a land of make believe and fairy stories.

As always long time collaborator Les Brotherston’s sets are just dazzling whether the opulent black and gold velvet draped palace, with columns holding up a ceiling detail stretching  right across the flies, to the elegant garden party with its stately home on the hill.

There is a wonderful star lit forest that has grown up in the palace grounds during the century of sleep or the neon, scene of a dreamlike sleepwalking scene, one of Bourne’s favourites, and, down-market, the tacky headquarters of the bad fairy lot – all beautifully lit by Paule Constable.”     …

The Infernal Comedy

Starring John Malkovich

Confessions of a Serial Killer

Birmingham International Concert Season 2011/12

Saturday 26th May 2012

Symphony Hall

Written by Michael Sturminger
Based on an idea by Birgit Hutter and Martin Haselböck
Music concept and conductor Martin Haselböck
Stage director Michael Sturminger
Costume designer Birgit Hutter
Wiener Akademie
Martin Haselböck conductor
John Malkovich actor
Louise Fribo soprano
Marie Arnet soprano

Music includes:

Vivaldi Aria Sposa son disprezzata  
Beethoven Scene and Aria Ah, perfido  
Haydn Scena di Berenice  
Weber Scene and Aria Ah se Edmundo fosse l’uccisor!  
Mozart Recitative, Aria and Cavatina Ah, lo previdi  

The running time is approximately 1 hour 40 minutes with no interval.
Supported by Birmingham Repertory Theatre

John Malkovich stars in a stage play for baroque orchestra, singers and actor, based on the real-life story of convicted serial killer Jack Unterweger. Malkovich’s monologues journey through the life and mind of this notorious Viennese womaniser, writer and murderer, illustrated with music embodying joy, hatred, love, grief, and desire. Sometimes darkly comic, sometimes bleakly brutal, it’s a fascinating, provocative and sometimes controversial insight into the twisted mind of, as Malkovich says, “a bad, bad guy.”

Review by Diane Parkes, BehindTheArras:

Click here for full review

…     “Malkovich is the perfect actor for the part of Unterweger blending charm and charisma with calculation and a chilling disregard for the hopes, dreams and lives of others. It is a difficult role but one he carries off incredibly convincingly.”

Article by Marion McMullen, Birmingham Mail:

Click here for full article

…     “The 58-year-old actor started his performance by striding onto the stage and announcing – in a strong Austrian accent – “Hi, we’re at the Symphony Hall.. not the Hippodrome.”

He also dropped in references to Villa Park and even left the stage to walk down the aisles and sit among the audience in his guise as the charming and chilling killer Jack.”     …


Blog post by EnglishChouChou:

Click here for full post

A Round Heeled Woman

The Play, starring multi award-winning actress Sharon GlessJane Prowse’s stage adaptation is based on Jane Juska’s book A Round-Heeled Woman: My Late-Life Adventures in Sex and Romance.

The play runs at the Aldwych Theatre, London, WC2B 4DF

until 14 January 2012.

Check out website links at to book tickets  or click here. Also worth checking for great deals on tickets for this fabulous, heart-warming, funny, poignant play. Sharon Gless is superb! The supporting cast are great too.


Sharon Gless – Jane Juska

Barry McCarthy – Jonah, Sidney, and others

Beth Cordingly – Nathalie, Miss MacKenzie, and others

Gwyneth Strong – Celia, Jane’s mother, and others

Michael Thomson – Graham, Andy, and others

Neil McCaul – Eddie, Robert, John, and others

(and about time the whole lot of Cagney and Lacey were on DVD – fill this in –  )

Blog review by Alison:

Click here for full blog post

…     “Sharon Gless was outstanding in the role. I have to admit I only really knew of her as Christine Cagney and wasn’t aware of what a varied and accomplished career she has had to date. Her character is the central focus of the play and is on stage the whole time. She’s got great comic timing, but that’s only one aspect of a complex role. She gave a very ‘real’ performance which was in turns funny, touching and heart-breaking, and which had the audience completely taken along on Jane’s journey, particularly as they were regularly addressed which lead to a very intimate feel to the play.”     …

Blog review by “TheatreandMe”:

Click here for full blog post

…     “Now onto Sharon Gless. I love her. She’s marvellous. She owns the stage. (and she’s never off it for two hours!) Every wink, every innuendo is perfectly placed, enhances the text of the play, makes you laugh at all too crass descriptions. She is a wonderful actress who is a master of the tricks of the trade.”     …