Comedian Chris Addison is making his opera debut in a new adaptation of Emmanuel Chabrier’s L’Etoile at Royal Opera House (ROH). A new part has been written especially for Addison, whose character Smith will provide a running commentary on the opera’s farcical story.
‘I am stupidly excited to be appearing at ROH in L’Etoile, a production which combines two of my great loves: insanely beautiful opera and deep, joyful silliness,’ said Addison, who joked that his only previous singing gig was described as ‘certainly unique and borderline terrifying’ by a local newspaper.
Addison is best known for his role as Ollie Reader in TV political satire The Thick of It and film follow up In the Loop, where he appeared alongside Sopranos’ star James Gandolfini. He has also featured in UK cult hit Doctor Who, and his standup act has twice been nominated for a Perrier Award.
Addison is joined by French actor Jean-Luc Vincent, who appears in a second new role as Dupont. Vincent’s character provides a French counterpoint to Smith’s English perspective on the unfolding events.
L’Etoile was first performed in 1877 and is a darkly anarchic fairytale that makes fun of royalty and power. Musical highlights include Trio de chatouillement, Duetto de la Chartreuse verte and Couplets de pal.
The production stars bass-baritone Simon Bailey as Siroco, tenor Christophe Mortagne as King Ouf and soprano Hélène Guilmette as Princesse Laoula. Director Mariame Clément has adapted the text, with Mark Elder conducting. It is the first timeL’Etoile has been performed at ROH.