THEATRE / The Almeida's USSR-friendly nights at the opera

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A TOKEN reminder of the anything-goes new music festival it used to house, the Almeida Theatre's contemporary opera season is now in its third year with a notable, if not always laudable, track record. This year there are two new works: from Friday, The Nightingale and the Rose, based on the Oscar Wilde story, by Elena Firsova, the most distinguished of the ex-Soviet composers living in this country; and from Friday 15 Jul, Siren Song (with Niall Morris and Omar Ebrahim, above) by Jonathan Dove and playwright Nick Dear, whose Cheek by Jowl version of A Family Affair was set for the Almeida last year. Around them is a concert package of music from the remoter corners of the former USSR and, on 23 Jul, recent scores by the suddenly ubiquitous whizz-kid of British contemporary music, Thomas Ades. (Almeida Theatre, Almeida St, London N1, 071-359 4404, Fri to 23 Jul.)

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