Wednesday 13 May 2015

Opera North 2015/16

Opera North 2015/16
Opera North's 2015/16 season is, of course, notable for the fact that they will be giving complete performances of Wagner's Ring in Peter Mumford's concert staging, conducted by Richard Farnes. Whilst this is a delectable treat to look forward to, there are in fact lots of other goodies on offer in a season full of variety. It is clear from the selection of works on offer, that the performances of the Ring are taking something of a financial toll on the season, but general director Richard Mantle has managed to craft a season of interest. There will be a new production of Giordano's Andrea Chenier directed by Annabel Arden, and a new opera Pleasure from Mark Simpson, plus revivals of Tom Cairns' production of Janacek's Jenufa, as well as Rossini's The Barber of Seville, Mozart's Cosi fan tutte, and Donizetti's L'elisir d'amore. On the lighter side, there is a new staging of Cole Porter's Kiss me Kate and a new collaboration with the West Yorkshire Playhouse with James Brining directing Sondheim's Into the Woods.

Kiss me Kate is conducted by David Charles Abell, who has prepared a new critical edition of the score, and will be directed by Jo Davies with choreography by Will Tuckett, and will feature Jeni Bern, and Quiryn de Lang. Annabel Arden will direct Opera North's first ever production of Giordano's Andrea Chenier with Rafael Rojas in the title role and Robert Hayward as Gerard (the two appeared against each other in Opera North's 2014 production of Puccini's The Girl of the Golden West), with Annemarie Kremer (who has sung Norma and Vitellia for the company) as Maddalena. Olivier von Dohnany will conduct. Mark Simpson's new (and first) opera Pleasure is directed by Tim Albery and conducted by Nichols Kok, and will feature soprano Lesley Garrrett. Into the Woods will be directed by James Brining, artistic director of the West Yorkshire Playhouse.

Wagner's Ring is double or triple cast with Katherine Broderick, Kelly Cae Hogan and Alwyn Mellor sharing Brunnhilde, Daniek Frank and Mati Turi sharing Siegfried and Michael Druiett, Robert Hayward and Bela Perencz sharing Wotan. Susan Bickley and Yvonne Howard share Fricke, whilst Lee Bisset and Alwyn Mellor share Brunnhilde. Richard Farnes conducts all performances.

Katie Bray, Nicholas Watts and Gavan Ring star in the revival of Giles Havergal's perennial production of The Barber of Seville, conducted by Stuart Stratford and Timothy Burke.Ylva Kilhlberg, who sang Emilia Marty in Opera North's 2012 production of Janacek's Makropoulos Case, returns for the title role in Jenufa with Tom Cairns returning to revive his production, conducted by Aleksandar Markovic, with Susan Bickley as Kostelnicka, Ed Lyon as Steve and David Butt Philip as Laca. The lovers in Tim Albery's production of Cosi fan tutte will include Helen Sherman, Nicholas Watts and Gavan Ring, with Ellie Laugharne and William Dazeley as Despina and Don Alfonso.  Donizetti's L'Elisir d'Amore in Daniel Slater's production, will feature Richard Burkhard as Dulcamara with Gabriela Istoc, Jung Soo Yun and Duncan Rock. Rock and Istoc both appeared in the 2014 production of La Boheme.

The Ring is being taken on a grand tour of Leeds, Nottingham, Salford, London and Gateshead, whilst the remaining operas are on the usual circuit of Leeds, Newcastle, Salford Quays and Nottingham. Pleasure plays at the Howard Assembly Room before moving to Liverpool, Aldeburgh and the Lyric Hammersmith.

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