Shih Tzu from Seaham to star in Empire show

Shih Tzu from Seaham to star in Empire show

An adorable Shih Tzu called Bella Bear is set to take centre stage as a guest star at Sunderland Empire this month.

The search has been on to find a North East pooch to take their place in the spotlight when the beautiful and romantic opera La Bohème hits the Sunderland Empire stage this month (Saturday 11 March).

Following a flood of entries the Edwardian theatre has announce that Bella Bear, a seven year old Shih Tzu from Seaham will tread the boards as Musetta's dog in the cafe scene.

Bella Bear is a very relaxed pooch and likes nothing more than sleeping and people watching out of the window. Bella is owned by Kelly Monahan, a local teacher. Kelly brought Bella from the famous Santosha Shih Tzu Kennels and apparently Bella is a distant relative of the Queen Mother’s dog! Bella was a bridesmaid at Kelly’s wedding last year, so has experience being around lots of people and music and is not fazed by crowds, noise or light. Kelly will be appearing with Bella as Musetta's maid.

Puccini La Bohème is one of the most romantic operas ever written and introduces the International soprano Alyona Kistenyova as Mimi and starring Olga Perrier, the international French Soprano as Musetta. The new tour is traditionally staged featuring beautiful sets and costumes, with the set reflecting the Bohemian art of the period and will include a brass band, snow effects and Musetta’s dog will also make an entrance.

Set in Paris, it focuses on the love between seamstress Mimi and poet Rodolfo and this classic tale of Parisian love and loss features many famous arias including ‘Your Tiny Hand is Frozen’, ‘They Call Me Mimi’ and ‘Musetta’s Waltz’.

Sung in Italian with English surtitles.

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L.S. Lowry spent his holidays in Sunderland at Seaburn, painting scenes of the coast, port and coal mines. The city is the home to one of the best collections of L.S. Lowry paintings in England.

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