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Regional Opera, 2011-12 Season | reviews, news & interviews

Regional Opera, 2011-12 Season

Regional Opera, 2011-12 Season

Leeds, Cardiff and Glasgow companies push hits and rarities to the country

Maria Bjørnson's 'Cunning Little Vixen' designs: Scottish Opera, January 2011, in Glasgow and Edinburgh

Opera outside London flourishes in the hands of Opera North, Welsh National Opera and Scottish Opera. In 2011 the popular hits such as Carmen, The Merry Widow and La Traviata intermingle with rarer landmarks such as From the House of the Dead, Orlando and Intermezzo. Wagner has a fine showing in the North and West from Opera North and Welsh National Opera.

A true rarity is Opera North's British premiere of a Polish opera on a Gogol story, The Portrait, directed by the great David Pountney, whose wonderful Cunning Little Vixen production with the late Maria Bjørnson is revived at Scottish Opera.


Opera North


Merry_Widow_Op_NorthSix productions in six months range from new stagings of favourites such as The Merry Widow and Carmen to the demands of Beethoven's Fidelio and Janáček's From the House of the Dead. Also notable is the British premiere of a rediscovered Polish opera about a cursed portrait, championed by great opera producer David Pountney. The first in the planned four-year Ring cycle begins in summer, visiting four cities.

  • Bizet's Carmen (New Production), 17 Jan-11 Feb (7 perfs), Leeds Grand Theatre; 15, 17 & 19 Feb, Theatre Royal Newcastle; 22 & 26 Feb, Theatre Royal Nottingham; 1 & 5 Mar, Lowry Salford. Cond Andreas Delfs, dir Daniel Kramer; Heather Shipp/Sandra Piques Eddy (Carmen), Peter Auty (José), Kostas Smoriginas (Escamillo), Anne Sophie Duprels (Micaela)
  • Weinberg's The Portrait, 2, 4, 10 & 12 Feb, Leeds Grand Theatre; 18 Feb, Theatre Royal, Newcastle; 24 Feb, Theatre Royal, Nottingham; 3 Mar, The Lowry, Salford. First British staging of Polish composer Mieczysław Weinberg’s little-known opera, based on a Gogol story about a cursed picture, Dorian Gray-style. Cond Rossen Gergov, dir David Pountney; Paul Nilon (Chartkov), Katherine Broderick (Liza), Richard Burkhard (Nikita)
  • Franz Lehár’s The Merry Widow (New Production - pictured above), 3 & 8 Feb, Leeds Grand Theatre; 16 Feb, Theatre Royal Newcastle; 23 & 25 Feb, Theatre Royal Nottingham; 2 & 4 Mar, Lowry, Salford. Second half of the 2010-11 run of the party hit as a widow considers her potential second husbands. Cond Wyn Davies, dir Giles Havergal. Stephanie Corley (Hanna Glawari), William Dazeley (Danilo)
  • Beethoven's Fidelio, 14 Apr-13 May (5 perfs) Leeds Grand Theatre; 18 & 21 May, The Lowry, Salford; 25 & 28 May, Theatre Royal, Nottingham; 4 Jun, The Sage, Gateshead. A political prisoner's wife disguises herself as a man to find and liberate him. Cond Sir Richard Armstrong/Matthias Bamert; Emma Bell (Leonore), Steven Harrison (Florestan)
  • Janáček’s From the House of the Dead (New Production), 5, 7, 12 & 14 May, Leeds Grand Theatre; 19 May, Lowry Salford; 26 May, Theatre Royal Nottingham, 3 June The Sage, Gateshead. Prison camp tragedy based on Dostoevsky. Cond Richard Farnes, dir John Fulljames; Jeffrey Lloyd-Roberts (Filka Morozov), Alan Oke (Skuratov), Robert Hayward (Siskov), Roderick Williams (Goryanchikov)
  • Wagner’s Das Rheingold, 18 Jun, 1 July, 8 Sep, Leeds Town Hall; 24 June, Birmingham Symphony Hall; 26 June, The Sage, Gateshead; 10 Sep, The Lowry, Salford. Developing the opera-in-concert series, the first in a whole Ring cycle being conducted by music director Richard Farnes over the next four years, mentored by world-famous British Brünnhilde Dame Anne Evans. Cond Richard Farnes, staging/lighting Peter Mumford; Michael Druiett (Wotan), Joachim Seipp/Peter Sidhom (Alberich), Yvonne Howard (Fricka), Wolfgang Ablinger-Sperrhacke (Loge), Andrea Baker (Erda)

Opera North website for more details


Scottish Opera


Scottish_Opera_Orlando_posterA Blitz-era setting for Handel's Orlando, the return of the classic Pountney production of Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen, and Richard Strauss's marriage breakdown, Intermezzo, make three adult counterpoints to a family double bill based around Hilaire Belloc's horrid children and a night-time voyage into dreams at bedtime. Rigoletto tours in the summer to Aberdeen and Inverness, as well as the usual Glasgow and Edinburgh.

  • Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen, 21 & 22 Jan, Theatre Royal, Glasgow; 27 Jan, Festival Theatre, Edinburgh. A collaboration with the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama reviving the landmark Scottish Opera/Welsh National Opera co-production by David Pountney, with designs by Maria Bjørnson. Cond Timothy Dean
  • Stephen Deazley’s Dr Ferret's Bad Medicine Roadshow/ Orlando Gough’s On the Rim of the World, 5 & 6 Feb, Citizens Theatre, Glasgow. World premiere of Dr Ferret, inspired by Hilaire Belloc’s Cautionary Tales, coupled with Gough’s community commission with Citizens Theatre. Cond Oliver Rundell/Chris Gray, dir Andy Manley/Elly Goodman & Neil Packham
  • Handel’s Orlando, 15, 19, 26 Feb, Theatre Royal, Glasgow; 3 & 5 Mar, Festival Theatre, Edinburgh. Cond Paul Goodwin, prod Harry Fehr; s Tim Mead (Orlando), Sally Silver (Angelica)
  • Richard Strauss’s Intermezzo (New Production), 26 & 30 Mar, 2 Apr, Theatre Royal, Glasgow; 7 & 9 Apr, Festival Theatre, Edinburgh. Cond Francesco Corti, dir Wolfgang Quetes; s Roland Wood (Robert Storch), Anita Bader (Christine Storch)
  • Verdi’s Rigoletto, 11, 15, 18, 21 May, Theatre Royal, Glasgow; 24, 26 & 28 May, Festival Theatre, Edinburgh; 2 & 4 Jun, His Majesty’s, Aberdeen; 9 & 11 Jun, Eden Court, Inverness. Cond Tobias Ringborg, dir Matthew Richardson; Eddie Wade (Rigoletto), Nadine Livingston (Gilda)

Scottish Opera website for more details and booking


Welsh National Opera


WNO_picFresh from winning the South Bank Sky Arts Award for Best Opera Production 2010 for Die Meistersinger, WNO announces two major new productions in the 2011/2012 season, Mozart’s Don Giovanni, directed by John Caird, with WNO music director Lothar Koenigs conducting, and Puccini's La Bohème, directed by Annabel Arden, and conducted by Carlo Rizzi. Further Mozart productions of Così fan tutte and The Marriage of Figaro return, as well as Wagner's Tristan and Isolde and Janáček’s Katya Kabanova (with Amanda Roocroft). Two WNO commissions: a new oratorio by Welsh composer Pwyll ap Sion, Gair ar Gnawd (literally, Word on the Skin), inspired by William Morgan, the first person to translate the whole Bible into Welsh from Greek and Hebrew in the 16th century; and The Face in the Mirror (working title) by composer Lynne Plowman and librettist Martin Riley, which will be given its world premiere by WNO Singing Club in June 2012.

  • Johan Strauss’s Die Fledermaus: 12 Feb-5 Mar (6 perfs), Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff; 9 & 11 Mar, Birmingham Hippodrome; 17 & 19 Mar, Venue Cymru, Llandudno; 23 & 25 Mar, The Mayflower, Southampton; 30 Mar & 1 Apr, Bristol Hippodrome; 6 & 8 Apr, Theatre Royal Plymouth; 13 & 15 Apr, Milton Keynes Theatre. Cond Thomas Rösner/Andrew Greenwood, dir John Copley; Nuccia Focile (Rosalinda), Mark Stone (Eisenstein)
  • Verdi’s Il Trovatore, 24 Feb-4 Mar (4 perfs), Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff; 10 & 12 Mar, Birmingham Hippodrome; 18 Mar, Venue Cymru, Llandudno; 24 & 26 Mar, The Mayflower, Southampton; 31 Mar & 2 Apr, Bristol Hippodrome; 7 & 9 Apr, Theatre Royal Plymouth; 14 & 16 Apr, Milton Keynes Theatre. Cond Andrea Licati, prod Peter Watson (Scottish Opera); Gwyn Hughes Jones (Manrico), Katia Pellegrino (Leonora), Patricia Bardon (Azucena)
  • Puccini's Turandot, 28 May-5 June (4 perfs), Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff; 8 & 10 June, Birmingham Hippodrome. Cond Lothar Koenigs, prod Christopher Alden; Anna Shafajinskaia (Turandot), Gwyn Hughes Jones (Calaf), Rebecca Evans (Liù)
  • Mozart's Don Giovanni (New Production), 16 Sep-5 Oct (5 perfs), Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff. Cond Lothar Koenigs, dir John Caird, des John Napier; David Kempster (Don Giovanni), David Soar (Leporello), Camilla Roberts (Donna Anna), Nuccia Focile (Donna Elvira), Claire Ormshaw (Zerlina)
  • Rossini's The Barber of Seville, 22 Sep-7 Oct (4 perfs), Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff. Cond Alexander Polianichko, dir Giles Havergal; Andrew Kennedy (Count Almaviva), Anna Grevelius (Rosina), Jacques Imbrailo (Figaro)
  • Janáček’s Katya Kabanova, 6 October, Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff. Cond Lothar Koenigs, dir Katie Mitchell; Amanda Roocroft (Katya), Andrew Rees (Vanya Kudrjash), Leah-Marian Jones (Kabanicha), Stephen Rooke (Tikhon)
  • Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro, 25 February, Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff. Cond Anthony Negus, dir Lluis Pasqual; Rebecca Evans (Countess), David Soar (Figaro), Elizabeth Watts (Susanna), Cora Burggraaf (Cherubino), Dario Solari (Count)
  • Verdi's La Traviata, 11 Feb-2 Mar (4 perfs), Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff. Cond Julia Jones, dir David McVicar; Joyce El-Khoury (Violetta), Carlos Asuna (Alfredo)
  • Berlioz's Beatrice and Benedict, 17 February, Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff. Cond Michael Hofstetter, dir Elijah Moshinsky; Sara Fulgoni (Beatrice), Robin Tritschler (Benedict)
  • Wagner's Tristan and Isolde: 19 May 2012, Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff. Cond Lothar Koenigs (debut), dir Yanis Kokkos; Ann Petersen (Isolde),  Jay Hunter Morris (Tristan)
  • Puccini's La Bohème (New Production), 1 June 2012, Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff. Cond Carlo Rizzi, dir Annabel Arden; Anita Hartig (Mimì), Alex Vicens (Rodolfo), David Kempster (Marcello)

Welsh National Opera website for more information and booking

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