In best showbiz tradition . . .

La Traviata will be at Dunstable's Grove Theatre on March 11
La Traviata will be at Dunstable's Grove Theatre on March 11

Opera lovers – and La Traviata fans in particular – will be delighted to hear that the Ellen Kent production of Verdi’s powerful masterpiece will be staged, as planned, next Wednesday (March 11) at Dunstable’s Grove Theatre.

In best theatrical tradition, the show will go on – in spite of the team being given just 48 hours to leave their Ukraine studio and workshop as the civil war raged all around them.

Ellen, 65, said: “We quickly packed everything into two 45ft lorries.

“The street fighting kicked off quite quickly and we could hear the bombs and planes overhead. It took us 24 hours to get to Moldova but we were determined the show would go on.

“You always worry the borders will be closed or you’ll have aggro getting through.”

Her mantra through all the anxiety was the Russian phrase ‘Dalsha, dalsha’ which means ‘Carry on, carry on.”

She said: “It’s a human tragey and a tragedy for opera. But opera has triumped over war and the show is fantastic – the reviews have been stunning.”

Ellen has had a base in Eastern Europe for more than two decades and says the quality of set and costume design and manufacture is second to none. “I don’t know where we’ll find it again,” she confessed sadly.

> La Traviata is at the Grove Theatre on Wednesday March 11 at 7.30pm. Tickets cost from £17.50. Call the Box Office on 01582 602080.