Strictly speaking, this is a world operatic premier

Opera Come Strictly premiers in Aylesbury this weekend
Opera Come Strictly premiers in Aylesbury this weekend

The world premier of Opera Come Strictly takes place at Aylesbury Waterside Theatre tonight (Saturday).

The highly anticipated show combines the talents of award--winning international dancers Michael and Martina Burton with one of the UK’s best tenors Andrew Amdur and his daughter Anabella.

“It makes opera more colourful and a little bit more for everybody,” said dancer and show co-creator Martina Burton – who believes the never-been-tried-before format will prove popular when the curtain lifts on Saturday.

Audiences can expect to hear opera classics such as Nessun dorma performed by Mr Amdur and a 15-piece orchestra. In between songs they can enjoy glamorous latin and jazz ballroom displays – and at times there will be singing and dancing taking place on the stage at once.

Co-dancer Michael Burton said: “Within the show there is a bit of a storyline. There is a bit of narration to tell the actual story of the act and how it came together.

“There has been shows which have done the jazz stuff and top hat and tails and more strictly stuff, but this is something that’s different. It has never been done before and it’s exciting.”

Michael and his wife Martina started out as dancing partners 10 years ago, before falling in love a year into their professional relationship. Since then the couple have competed across Europe, Singapore Indonesia, China and Malaysia.

Michael said: “I think it’s a good thing being able to work together. You are not working separately and see lots of each other. Of course it depends on how the shows and competitions are going,” he jokes.

The idea for Opera Come Strictly emerged when the pair met opera singer Andrew Amdur, who has performed with many of the world’s greats and sang the National Anthem at Twickenham in front of a TV audience of millions.

“Obviously it’s a joint effort, it’s us and Andrew and his daughter. But we all had ideas towards it,” said Martina. “We have classical pieces, opera pieces and cross-over pieces that are more jazzy.

“We have different costumes for each dance, it’s going to be very colourful and beautiful. There are about 10 or 11 costumes which were specially selected for the show.”

Michael believes TV programmes such as Strictly Come Dancing are the reason for the worldwide resurgence in ballroom dancing. “I think we will get a range of people, both strictly and ballroom fans but also people interested in opera,” he said. “It’s really a mixture of stuff.”

> Opera Come Strictly comes to Aylesbury Waterside Theatre on Saturday at 7.30pm.

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