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Performer: Craig Smith

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Humdinger of a Gianni Schicchi from ETO

Craig Smith (Michele) in Il tabarro © Richard Hubert Smith
A great return appearance for English Touring Opera's Puccini double bill opening its spring tour at the Hackney Empire.
****1
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Puccini without passion: a bloodless Tosca

Craig Smith (Scarpia) and Paula Sides (Tosca) © Richard Hubert Smith
Blanche McIntyre's new production for ETO proves a disappointment, saddled with a trip hazard of a set. 
**111
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Kill or be killed: Gluck's Iphigénie en Tauride

Catherine Carby (Iphigénie) © Richard Hubert Smith
English Touring Opera gives Gluck's reformist masterpiece a suitably blood-spattered outing in a production which keeps the opera in touch with its classical roots. 
***11
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Something old, something new: Donizetti's Pia de' Tolomei

Elena Xanthoudakis (Pia) © Jane Hobson
Donizetti's back catalogue proves just as rich as his well-loved works, with this blisteringly good foray into an extraordinary opera whose UK premiere is 179 undeserved years late. 
*****
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The Wild Man stumbles into Hackney

Donizetti’s Il furioso all’isola di San Domingo hasn’t strayed onto UK shores for decades, but is given a spirited performance by English Touring Opera. 
***11
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