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The Golden Cockerel

Presented by English Touring Opera

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The Golden Cockerel


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English Touring Opera returns to Norwich with a poetic production of the most popular of operas, and a lively new production of a comic Russian fantasy by Rimsky-Korsakov.

The Golden Cockerel was the final – and favourite – opera of Rimsky-Korsakov, the brilliant Russian whose exotic orchestration has made similar works such as Scheherezade so popular. A daring satire on the last days of the Romanov empire, and in particular the debacle of the Russo-Japanese War, it is as explosive as it is charming.

Led by new ETO Music Director Gerry Cornelius and ETO Director James Conway, with Grant Doyle (most recently ETO’s Macbeth) in the role of the sleepy Emperor Dodon, this should be an evening of fantasy, mischief, and enough musical delight to ice a lemon cake!

Important information

Running time: 3 hours (including an interval)

Special Offer: Buy tickets to The Golden Cockerel and receive £10 off band A – C for La Bohème!

Pre-show talk – FREE – 6:30pm – Please reserve here.

Make your theatre trip extra special…

Why not visit our restaurant, Prelude, a fresh and contemporary space inspired by the building’s art deco heritage.

With the hassle taken out, relax and enjoy our seasonal set price menu in Prelude. Your table is reserved for the whole evening, so you can enjoy your dessert and drinks in the show interval. Plus, Theatre Royal Friends can enjoy a 10% discount!

Book A Table


An Astrologer advises though what will follow is a tale from long ago, it will have a moral relevant to today.

Act I
King Dodon believes that his country is in danger from a neighbouring state. His sons offer conflicting advice on tactics, to the disgust of his general.

An Astrologer appears, offering the gift of a strange Cockerel of Gold, who will cry out when danger is near. The delighted Dodon offers the Astrologer any reward he cares to name – and the Astrologer asks for an IOU which he can redeem at a later date.

Dodon has some sweets and a nap, tended by his Nanny, Amelfa.

The Cockerel cries danger, and the General confirms that the enemy approaches. Dodon sends the army into battle, led by his two sons.

Act II
The army has been laid waste on the battlefield. Dodon’s two sons manage to kill each other in the confusion. As Dodon prepares to lead the remaining forces – and as he watches the great cannon splutter – a tent is seen. From the tent emerges the Queen of Shemakha, Dodon’s beautiful foe. Her erotic song, and his not very erotic dance, induce King Dodon to propose marriage to her – and realising that she can thus take over Dodon’s country without a fight, she accepts.

The citizens are anxious about the consequences of the war.

The King and Queen arrive in curious splendour to celebrate their wedding.

The Astrologer arrives, and calmy claims his prize: the Queen of Shemakha. The petulant Dodon strikes dead the Astologer; the vengeful Cockerel pecks Dodon to death.

It is suddenly dark; when the light returns, the Cockerel and Queen are gone.

The Astrologer reminds the audience that the story was an illusion – but that he and the Queen alone were real people!



Eat & Drink

Fresh, seasonal, and locally sourced produce. Enjoy the best in food and drink  at our restaurant Prelude or a quick delicious bite before the show.

Getting here

Directions to  the Theatre Royal. Where to park near the theatre, drop-off & disabled parking plus public transport information.

Access Information

Up-to-date information on access our building, accessible performances and details on personal assistant tickets.