wed 24/05/2017

Leeds

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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Murray, National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, Collon, Leeds Town Hall

The National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain’s standard of playing is consistently impressive, so much so that it’s easy to forget that the ensemble is effectively reconstituted from scratch each autumn. Last night’s fresh incarnation, deftly...

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Orchestra of Opera North, Farnes, Leeds Town Hall

The few ensemble lapses and moments of insecurity during the first half of this concert had nothing to do with Richard Farnes’s conducting, or with the playing of an augmented Orchestra of Opera North. It’s in rude health; Farnes has refined and...

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The Flying Dutchman, Opera North

We’ve been spoilt over the past few summers in Leeds; Opera North’s semi-staged Ring has been a triumph, and the whole cycle will be performed complete in June 2016. To fill the Town Hall in 2015 we’ve got concert performances of Wagner’s The Flying...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Nielsen, Choir of Gonville & Caius College, St Peter's Singers

 Nielsen: Symphonies 2 and 6 Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra/Sakari Oramo (BIS)Few composers' music can blow away the cobwebs quite like that of Carl Nielsen, and David Fanning's sleeve note to this BIS disc rightly describes him as “the...

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Špaček, Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, Bělohlávek, Leeds Town Hall

You’ve booked the iconic Czech Philharmonic Orchestra and their charismatic chief conductor Jiří Bělohlávek to do a whistle-stop UK tour. Hoorah. But what do you get them to play? The mind boggles with programming possibilities. A symphony by...

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La Vida Breve/Gianni Schicchi, Opera North

The good news first: director Christopher Alden’s new production of Gianni Schicchi is quite brilliant, and one of the funniest, cleverest things you’ll see in an opera house. Puccini’s taut one-acter is difficult to mess up, but it takes some skill...

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CD: Kaiser Chiefs - Education, Education, Education & War

By the time I reached “Coming Home” - the second track on Kaiser Chiefs’ fifth album, and the band’s "comeback" single - I was predicting not a riot exactly, but certainly a few snide comments below re: my knowledge of the Leeds lads’ back catalogue...

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