Classical and Opera Features

Preview: Opera North looks to the future and provides sustenance for the present



Lockdown can’t stop music, as some upcoming online treats from Opera North tease

The Seven Deadly Sins

The Seven Deadly Sins (Photo: Tristram Kenton)

Never an organization to rest on its laurels, Opera North announces livestreams of two major productions, an online film for the festive season, and a replacement for the 2021 Parsifal. The company is determined to keep making and sharing music for and with people across the North of England and beyond, and as the route to easing lockdown restrictions becomes clearer, they intend to announce a return to live performance at Leeds Grand Theatre and on tour in early 2021.

On Saturday November 21st there will be a livestream performance of Brecht and Weill’s The Seven Deadly Sins, direct from Leeds Playhouse at 18.00; it will be Opera North’s first fully-staged opera since the start of the pandemic in March. Those who experienced Gary Clarke’s production of Street Scene in January this year will be eager to see this version of Weill’s ‘sung ballet’ – especially as the musical direction is in the hands of James Holmes, who also conducted Street Scene. The performance will be available to watch live or on demand for 48 hours for £10.

Three weeks later, the company offers a dramatic concert performance of Beethoven’s Fidelio, at 19.00 on Saturday December 12th. It will be available to watch live or on demand for seven days for £15, and stars Rachel Nicholls as Leonore, Toby Spence as Florestan and Brindley Sherratt as Rocco, and it will be conducted by Mark Wigglesworth. The 24-strong chorus and 33-piece orchestra will form one of the largest on-stage ensembles since the outbreak of Covid-19.

“The company is determined to keep making and sharing music for and with people across the North of England and beyond…”

As always, Opera North considers the needs of children and young people, continuing its work in schools and with youth ensembles on a digital basis. Complementing this, and aimed at younger children and their families who will not be able to attend a pantomime this year, the company is planning to film its Whistle Stop Opera: Cinderella and to make it available online for free during December. Directed by John Savournin and with Marie Claire Breen as the heroine, Amy J Payne as Prince / Stepmother and Julia Mariko Smith as Fairy Godmother, the piece is a magical tour of several different musical versions of the fairy tale, including Rossini’s La Cenerentola and Rodgers and Hammerstein’s musical Cinderella.

The tour of Wagner’s Parsifal has had to be postponed to a future year, and to replace it Opera North will present an evening of music from the Ring, conducted by Richard Farnes and with singers who were to have appeared in Parsifal. The company’s renowned 2016 complete Ring cycle is still available to watch online for free. It certainly seems as if Opera North is staying true to its purpose of creating extraordinary experiences with music and opera, both locally and well beyond.

Further details can be found here.


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