Tuesday 8 May 2012

Opera North new season

Opera North have announced their 2012/13 season; its slightly shorter than usual because they are changing what is mean by their season. (From 2013/14 the season will be aligned with their financial year). So this announcement starts with the premiere of the new production of The Makropulos Case at the Edinburgh Festival to the final Otello in Nottingham in March 2013.

The Autumn tour (Leeds, Salford Quays, Newcastle and Nottingham) consists of The Makropulos Case, Don Giovanni and Faust.

For The Makropoulos Case Richard Farnes conducts a new production by Tom Cairns with a very strong cast including the Swedish soprano Ylva Kihlberg making her UK debut, with Paul Nilon as Albert Gregor, Robert Hayward as Jaroslav Prus and James Crewell Dr Kolenaty.

Don Giovanni is another new production, directed by Alessandro Talevi conducted by Tobias Ringborg.William Dazely is the Don with Meeta Raval as Donna Anna, (Raval impressed when I saw her performing with British Youth Opera and she has gone on to do interesting things including her appearance at the Cardiff Singer of the World), Elizabeth Atherton as Donna Elvira and Alistair Miles as Leporello. Quite a striking cast indeed and with Talevi in charge it should be rather exciting.

A third new production, Faust is being directed by Rob Kearly and Ran Arthur Braun and is promised to be a high tech production. Interesting? Still Peter Auty is Faust with James Creswell and Juanita Lascarro.

The early 2013 tour (Leeds, Newcastle, Salford Quays and Nottingham) consists of Otello, La clemenza di Tito and a double bill of La voix humaine and Dido and Aeneas.

The new production of Otello will be the first time the opera has been performed at Opera North. Tim Albery directs, Richard Farnes conducts and Ronald Samm sings the title role. Samm sang the role in Birmingham Opera Company's 2009 production; he is from Trinidad and is that rare thing, an afro-caribbean opera singing singing Otello. Jago is David Kempster, Desdemona is Elena  Kelessidi, a name I have to confess that is new to me.

For La Clemenza di Tito we have another new production, another first for the company. Directed b John Fulljames, conducted by Douglas Boyd, Vitellia will be sung by Annemarie Kremer who recently made quite a stir as Norma with the company. Tito is Paul Nilon and Servilia is Fflur Wyn with Estonia mezzo-soprano Helen Lepalaan as Sesto. I have always had a soft spot for Mozart's take on opera seria and certainly hope to be able to catch this new production.

For the double bill, La voix humaine is new, with Lesley Garrett as Elle. Aletta Collins's Dido and Aeneas is being revived, with Pamela Helen Stephen as Dido. A slightly odd combination of works, but then Dido has always been a tricky partner.

It is quite an amazing season, especially as its not quite a complete season. In this era of cutting down, the seem to have managed to put together some rather neat plums.

Their press release also includes some information about the following season. This will include their concert staging of Siegfried. There is a new children's opera from David Bruce, The FIrework Maker's Daughter based on Philip Pullman's book, directed by John Fulljames. Britten takes centre stage for his centenary year, with productions of Peter Grimes, Death in Venice, Albert Herring and A Midsummer Night's Dream. Albert Herring and A Midsummer Night's Dream are new, the other two are revivals. And the other good news is that Josephine Barstow will be Lady Billows. I can't wait!

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