sun 25/06/2017

Opera North

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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Hansel and Gretel, Opera North

Opera North’s updated version of Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel takes place in what looks like a down-at-heel Leeds housing estate, the titular siblings shown filming the story using simple domestic props and back projections. Quite how the...

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The Snow Maiden, Opera North

Late January, and the soul longs for winter's end. Which is why Rimsky-Korsakov's bittersweet fairy story about the fragile daughter of Spring and Frost whose heart will melt when she discovers true love, allowing the sun to bring back warmth to...

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Best of 2016: Opera

It was the best and worst of years for English National Opera. Best, because principals, chorus and orchestra seem united in acclaiming their Music Director of 14 months, Mark Wigglesworth, for his work at a level most had only dreamed of (“from the...

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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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Il Tabarro, Suor Angelica, Opera North

Just two thirds of Puccini’s Il Trittico still makes for an involving evening’s entertainment. Without Gianni Schicchi there’s an awful lot of misery and heartache, though director Michael Barker-Caven does manage to inject some black comedy into...

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Götterdämmerung, Opera North, Southbank Centre

And so it ends: Hagen drowns, Valhalla burns, and the ring returns to the Rhine, while somewhere beneath – Wagner’s dawn trumpets sounding faintly in the distance – the dwarf Alberich continues his lonely scheming. It would be hard to find a more...

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Siegfried, Opera North, Southbank Centre

For some of us, Siegfried is a perfect opera. Like L.627 it stubbornly observes the Aristotelian rules of space and time to cut a generous slice of life. There are almost no set-pieces to break the flow of one-on-one conversations, accusations,...

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Die Walküre, Opera North, Southbank Centre

Enter the human - and superhuman demands for at least four of the singers - in the second, towering instalment of Wagner's Ring cycle. It says so much for Opera North's achievement so far that no one fell in any way short of the sometimes insane...

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Das Rheingold, Opera North, Southbank Centre

They promised Wagner for everybody at the Southbank Centre, and so far they're delivering. Community events cluster around a livescreening of each Ring instalment in the Clore Ballroom. We privileged few in the Festival Hall wondered how newcomers...

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Best of 2015: Opera

How ironic that English National Opera turned out possibly the two best productions of the year after the Arts Council had done its grant-cutting worst, punishing the company simply, it seemed, for not being the irrationally preferred Royal Opera....

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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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