Ten Australians form the backbone of award winning English Touring Opera.

Hidden in the back streets of Bermondsey in South London is English Touring Opera’s rehearsal studio. The hard work behind mounting an opera is certainly not glamorous nor was the location of their warehouse, however, last year ETO won a coveted Olivier Award for outstanding achievement in Opera and I am interested to explore what made that possible and why so many Australian singers are an essential part of the current tour.

This season ETO will be reviving their acclaimed production of Donizetti’s rarely performed The Siege of Calais(L’assedio di Calais) and the equally obscure The Wild Man of the West Indies(Il Furiouso all’isola di San Domingo). It will be a feast for Donizetti lovers, a rare chance to see professional productions of the two operas and a great opportunity for ten Australian singers to make their mark as chorus and soloists.

I am shown to the Green Room created out of junk furniture. It has basic tea and coffee making facilities, but also provides a very warm welcome. The sound of rehearsals drift in through makeshift walls, costume rails line the corridor and tired...