fri 22/03/2019

Opera North

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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'Bringing things to life is what opera is all about': Robert Howarth on a 'Magic Flute' with a difference

I’m here in Leeds at the end of five weeks of quite intense rehearsals for Opera North's new production of Mozart's The Magic Flute. Our director James Brining and his amazing team (including assistant director Deborah Cohen, set and costume...

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Tosca, Opera North review - exciting update, strong on sonic thrills

Puccini’s Tosca isn’t a subtle work, and this, Opera North’s fourth production since the company’s founding in 1978, is occasionally too loud and crude. But it’s undeniably powerful. Edward Dick’s 2017 Hansel and Gretel left me a little...

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Kiss Me, Kate, Opera North, London Coliseum review - Cole Porter delivered in true company style

First palpable hit of the evening: a full orchestra in the pit under hyper-alert Opera North stalwart James Holmes, saxophones deliciously rampant. Second hit: they've got the miking of the voices right (very rare in West End shows). Third: the...

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Berlin to Broadway with Kurt Weill, Opera North, City Varieties Music Hall review - life as a cabaret

Peer at the small print and it’s clear that Berlin to Broadway with Kurt Weill is actually a spruced-up repackaging of a show originally devised by Gene Lerner and arranger Newton Wayland, about whom Opera North’s programme tells us nothing. The...

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Un ballo in maschera, Opera North review - decent, no more

You’d expect a degree of mischief and bafflement in an opera about mistaken identity, closing with a scene set at a masked ball. But Tim Albery’s new Opera North Un ballo in maschera is confusing for the wrong reasons, its shortcomings all the more...

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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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Best of 2017: Opera

It may not have been the best year for eye-popping productions; even visionary director Richard Jones fell a bit short with a tame-ish Royal Opera Bohème, though his non-operatic The Twilight Zone is something else. Instead there's been time to...

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Osud/Trouble in Tahiti, Opera North - swings and roundabouts in a surprising double-bill

It was a topsy-turvy evening. Sometimes the things you expect to turn out best disappoint, while in this case the relatively small beer yielded a true "Little Great" of a production and the best singing in Opera North's latest double bill (subject...

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Cavalleria Rusticana/Trial by Jury, Opera North review - sombre triumph and pale froth

Pairing Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana with Gilbert and Sullivan’s Trial by Jury makes for a pleasingly schizoid evening in the latest of Opera North's The Little Greats series. Mascagni’s crashing final chords precede a longish interval, and when...

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Pagliacci/L’enfant et les sortilèges, Opera North review - off and on with the motley

The first two one-acters in Opera North’s season called The Little Greats were unveiled on Saturday. There are six in all, scheduled on a mix-and-match basis so Leeds opera-goers can choose their own tapas menu: grab one show, choose from various...

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