Poet launches ice cream opera

English poet Ian McMillan, best known for his programmes on BBC Radio 4, is set to make his opera debut. Written by McMillan, Ice Cream: The Opera will have its world premiere on 30 July at Bradford Festival.

The opera uses Romeo & Juliet as its starting point, but rather than competing families from fair Verona instead McMillan’s opera deals with two rival ice cream retailers. One family is of Italian origin, the other Indian, but one thing is for sure: they both take ice cream very seriously. While the families fight over territory, Geetha and Romano – a daughter and son from each side of the squabble – end up falling in love.

“I’m very excited that the Ice Cream Opera I wrote the words for is going to be produced in Bradford,” said McMillan. “I think that opera is the perfect form for our angry and excitable times, and this one can’t be licked. It’s so hot it’ll melt your heart.”

Not only does the production deal with ice cream turf wars, but it is actually staged in and around two ice cream vans, which will be parked in Bradford’s Centenary Square. Directed by Tom Wright, the chamber opera features mezzo soprano Hannah Mason, soprano Tara Mansfield, baritone Spiro Fernando and tenor Joseph Doody.

Ice Cream: The Opera is produced by Skipton Building Society Camerata and Freedom Studios in association with Spin Arts for Bradford Festival.