sat 23/03/2019

Leeds

The Rite of Spring/Gianni Schicchi, Opera North review - unlikely but musically satisfying pairing

Stravinsky acknowledged that his orchestra for The Rite of Spring was a large one because Diaghilev had promised him extra musicians (“I am not sure that my orchestra would have been as huge otherwise.”) It isn’t huge in Opera North’s production...

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Katya Kabanova, Opera North review – a grim tale

A sad tale’s best for winter, and Opera North have returned to Janáček’s lyrical taken on a classic Russian drama of domestic abuse, guilt and suicide for this ingredient of their current season. Director Tim Albery and designer Hildegard Bechtler...

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Kes, Leeds Playhouse review - seminal Yorkshire story soars

Robert Alan Evans’ adaptation of Kes is a dark, expressionist reworking of Barry Hines’ novella. It pays lip service to Ken Loach’s iconic film version, and most of the memorable bits are present and correct here: the wince-inducing rant from head...

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DVD/Download: Lies We Tell

The story behind the making of first-time director Mitu Misra’s Lies We Tell is often easier to make sense of than what happens in the film: Misra realised the project with money from his double-glazing business and plenty of bull-headed persistence...

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Having a Verdi ball: conductor Richard Farnes on Opera North's upcoming production

Commentators have, over the years, variously described Un ballo in maschera (A Masked Ball) as all things to all people: Verdi’s Tristan und Isolde, Verdi’s masterpiece, Verdi’s Don Giovanni, a pure love poem, and much more. It seems to me to be one...

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Love, Lies & Records, BBC One review - Ashley Jensen too good to be true

Love, Lies & Records (BBC One) is one of those bathetic titles that are very Yorkshire. See also Last Tango in Halifax, which didn’t do badly. Sleepless in Settle is surely in development. This is the new drama from Kay Mellor, who set Band of...

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‘A massive party full of treats and surprises’: Annabel Arden on six mini masterpieces at Opera North

The first day of rehearsals for The Little Greats was thrilling and terrifying in equal measure: the casts of six shows, the whole chorus, all the creative teams and management milling around and talking nineteen to the dozen in the big, reverberant...

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Turandot, Opera North

I’ve seen the future, and it’s semi-staged. The gains here are far more significant than the losses. And where Opera North’s minimalist Leeds Town Hall Ring let Peter Mumford’s video projections fill in the gaps, this new production of Turandot...

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Romeo and Juliet, West Yorkshire Playhouse

Amy Leach’s energetic Romeo and Juliet is fast, furious and a little breathless, the setting transposed from Verona to a fairly grim contemporary Leeds. Think West Yorkshire Side Story. Leach’s starting point was hearing about conflict resolution in...

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Alan Bennett’s Diaries, BBC Two

Gather round the fire, friends: no Santa down the chimney this Christmas Eve, but the curiously comforting Alan Bennett, with his sardonic and occasionally optimistic diaries. The latest published instalment has the slightly wry title Keeping On...

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Strictly Ballroom, West Yorkshire Playhouse

Baz Luhrmann’s Strictly Ballroom started life as a short stage play in 1984, drawing on its creator’s own experiences in the heady world of amateur ballroom dancing. That the iconic 1992 film exists at all is something of a miracle; production...

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Billy Budd, Opera North

"That cursed mist" may hide the French from the crew of the HMS Indomitable and cause far more deadly damage to moral certainty. But clarity and strength are the assets of Orpha Phelan's new production for Opera North: no gimmicks, superb company...

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