fri 06/12/2019

Leeds

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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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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