Wednesday 31 January 2018

Fatal Passions in Leeds, Salford, Nottingham and Newcastle

Verdi and the Naples censor when preparing "Ballo", 1857–58, caricature by Delfico
Verdi and the Naples censor when preparing
Un ballo in maschera, 1857–58, caricature by Delfico
Opera North's first ever production of Verdi's Un ballo in maschera opens at the Grand Theatre, Leeds on Saturday 3 February 2018. The production is directed by Tim Albery and conducted by Richard Farnes and features Rafael Rojas (whose recent appearances with Opera North have included Giordano's Andrea Chenier and Puccini's Turandot), Phillip Rhodes (recently seen in Cav & Pag in Opera North's Six Little Greats), Adrienn Miksch (the Hungarian soprano who won 1st prize at the 6th annual Renata Tebaldi International Voice Competition), and Patricia Bardon.

Verdi's opera treats the assassination of King Gustav III of Sweden, a subject which caused immense problems with the censors in Naples where the opera was due to be premiered. In the end, the premiere was moved to Rome, and the location of the opera from Sweden to Boston, Massachussets with the Duke of Boston being assassinated. Whilst some companies still present the piece in its American setting, most choose to use the Swedish original. The opera represents Verdi's synthesis of his own style with the French Grand Opera, creating something which includes both an historical setting and grand set pieces, but making the whole essential to the drama and creating characters who are just as vivid and direct as his earlier operas.

Opera North is performing Un ballo in maschera with revivals of Tim Albery's production of Puccini's Madame Butterfly and Alessandro Talevi's production of Mozart's Don Giovanni.
After opening in Leeds, the three productions will tour to The Lowry in Salford Quays, Nottingham Theatre Royal and Newcastle Theatre Royal.

Full information from the Opera North website.

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