On Tour

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The Independent Culture
Just now I'm somewhere up the A1, in a Travel Lodge. Last night was a concert in Colchester then, today, up to the accountant in Welwyn Garden City, then on to Hatfield House, then back to London to work with the Countess for Marriage of Figaro, then a production meeting for Figaro, then back home.

We always do popular operas: it's risky not to since we are entirely commercial. I think we share the honour with Glyndebourne Festival in being the only professional companies without an Arts Council grant. We average around 125 performances a year. There was a time when I drove the truck, put up the set, lit the stage, rehearsed the cast and sang Figaro in the Barber of Seville that evening. It's a sort of Fawlty Towers production, set in a Spanish hotel - so it felt quite in character rushing madly around.

I think we must have played in at least 100 different venues, from elegant theatres like Buxton or the Swan in Stratford to church halls and even the middle of a field in Milton Keynes.

I've translated and directed all our 12 productions as well as coaching and singing. I remember a week when I did four different roles in five days. At the moment it's only Germont in La Traviata.

I get my energy from ginseng, royal jelly and going to the gym. If you push yourself to the limit physically then the exertions and emotions of rehearsing, performing and touring just fall into place.

Peter Knapp is the artistic director of Travelling Opera, at the Barbican, London EC2 (071- 638 8891) with 'La Traviata' 7.30pm 26, 27, 29 Aug; 'The Magic Flute' 7.30pm 28 Aug

(Photograph omitted)

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