mon 27/01/2020

Leeds

Street Scene, Opera North review - a true ensemble achievement

Kurt Weill’s “Broadway opera” – his own preferred description – is an extraordinary and brilliant piece of work. Its music ranges from the seriously dramatic to fun numbers like the "Ice Cream Sextet" and the jitterbug dance song “Moon Faced, Starry...

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Dinosaur Pile-Up, O2 Institute, Birmingham review - grungy punk poppers end the weekend on a high

Dinosaur Pile-Up may have been around for more than a decade, but it would be fair to say that their career has been something of a slow burn. Indeed, while thanking tonight’s support acts, main man Matt Bigland claimed that they’d supported more...

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CD: Biscuithead & the Biscuit Badgers - Thought Porridge

I was hooked after perusing Thought Porridge’s track listing; who wouldn’t want to hear songs with titles like “The British Cactus & Succulent Society” or “Mournful Colouring Book”? The latter is laugh-out-loud funny, its downbeat list of...

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The Greek Passion, Opera North - pertinence and power

Martinů's The Greek Passion is a bold choice as a season opener, all the more so given that Opera North are staging the rarely-seen original version of his 1957 opera. Commissioned for Covent Garden then shabbily ditched, this is faster moving and...

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'This goes beyond music and drama': tenor Nicky Spence on Martinů's 'The Greek Passion'

I’m a big fanboy of Czech music, Janáček and Martinů especially, but I’d never seen The Greek Passion before being cast as Manolios in Opera North’s new production, as it remains quite a rarity in the opera house. For those who don’t know the...

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Aida, Opera North review - militarism soundly subverted

Opera North created something approaching a new art form when they performed Wagner’s Ring in "concert stagings", putting their large orchestra in full view, with singers symbolically dressed and given limited front-of-stage space, and a continuous...

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'The orchestra becomes the landscape': Annabel Arden on Opera North's concert staging of Aida

This will be the latest in Opera North’s acclaimed concert stagings of large-scale works, which have previously included Wagner’s Ring cycle, Puccini’s Turandot and Strauss’s Salome. For Verdi’s Egyptian epic, we’ve recreated the team which brought...

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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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