Sunday, 24 June 2012


David Johnson, Managing Director of Rex Johnson & Sons with
Lorraine Payne, a Midland Opera Principal Soloist at The Crescent Theatre.
Birmingham-based Midland Opera is adding extra sparkle to its production of Puccini's 'Turandot' thanks to a sponsorship deal with leading local jewellers Rex Johnson & Sons. 

The family business has teamed up with the city's non-professional grand opera company to support what is usually among the largest-scale shows in the repertoire.

The popular Ancient-Chinese-themed opera is based on an edict that any prince seeking to marry Princess Turandot must answer three riddles – and if he fails, he will die. 

Famous for its aria 'Nessun Dorma', which has gained pop classic status, Turandot runs from October 9 to 13 at the Crescent Theatre, Birmingham (

Rex Johnson's sponsorship will enable Midland Opera to professionally reduce the score to suit a smaller theatre and help meet its costume and set-building costs. 

The long-established retailer has shops in Birmingham and Dudley, offering gold buying, cheque cashing and a short-term cash loans service.

Retailer, Curzon's Chinese antiques - opposite the Crescent Theatre - donated jacket and fans for use as props in this photo, and wishes Midland Opera well in their endeavours.

Midland Opera will be performing Turandot in English with a double cast, a number of professional singers from London, and a large chorus from across the West Midlands.

It will also mark the company debut of Alasdair Cowie-Fraser as musical director and Producer, Sarah Helsby-Hughes. Former MD of award-winning opera company Dragon Opera'r Draig, Alasdair, lives in London and will lead the company and conduct. Whilst Sarah, also Artistic Director of acclaimed Heritage Opera, will breathe life into the story

Lorraine Payne, a Midland Opera Principal Soloist, said: “Turandot is rarely staged in smaller theatres because of its usually massive scale. Rex Johnson's wonderful support will enable us to scale down the orchestral forces and make it accessible to regular theatre-goers as well as opera enthusiasts.”

She added: “We are looking to the Chinese community for their help with a children’s choir and extras, and we seek muscle-bound men for Princess Turandot’s slaves.”

David Johnson, Managing Director of Rex Johnson & Sons, added: “As a long-standing patron of the arts, we are delighted to be sponsoring an event that is sure to be of interest to our valued customers and will help bring opera to a wider audience.”   

Midland Opera has been giving music lovers across the region the chance to fulfil their dreams of performing in a full scale opera for more than 60 years.

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