Friday, 8 August 2014

What Price Love? Opera North's Autumn season

Opera North autumn season
Opera North's Autumn season contains three fairly mainstream operas, La Traviata, The Coronation of Poppea and The Bartered Bride. But taken together they make an interesting combination of ideas about women and relationships. And with some interesting young singers and directorial choices, there is plenty for both the newcomer and the seasoned opera goer to enjoy.

The young South African director Alessandro Talevi (who directed two of WNO's Tudor Trilogy last year), returns to Opera North for La Traviata with Gianluca Marciano conducting (Marciano conducted this year's La Traviata at Grange Park Opera - see our review), Hye-Youn Lee sings the title role (she sang Blanche in Grange Park Opera's Carmelites last year - see our review) with Ji-Min Park and Roland Wood.

The company's first ever production of Monteverdi's The Coronation of Poppea, which is being sung in an English translation, will be directed by Tim Albery (who has directed Otello and Giulio Cesare for Opera North), and the conductor will be Lawrence Cummings, the artistic director of the London Handel Festival. The role of Nerone will be sung by counter-tenor James Laing (nice to hear it done this way for a change) with Poppea sung by Sandra Piques Eddy, the cast also includes Katherine Manley, Catherine Hopper and James Creswell. One note, the role of Arnalta which is normally sung by a man, is sung by Fiona Kimm. Productions of the opera always involve cuts (the full version is very long), so it will be interesting to see what Albery and Cumings come up with.

The trilogy of operas is completed with a revival of Daniel Slater's 1998 production of Smetana's Bartered Bride, with Slater returning to direct. The production sets the piece in Czechoslovakia in 1972. Kate Valentine will sing Marenka, with Brendan Gunnell as Jenik, Nicholas Watts as Vasek and James Crewell as Kecal. Anthony Kraus conducts. One of the matinees in Leeds will be a schools only performance, the first time Opera North has devoted a whole performance to school groups.

The operas open in Leeds in September and October and then tour to Newcastle, Salford Quays and Nottingham. Further information from the Opera North website.

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