tue 22/10/2019

Opera North

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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'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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