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Tuesday, 18 February 2020

Preview: Opera North at Newcastle Theatre Royal


From Broadway To Britten: Opera North Brings Its New Season To Newcastle Theatre Royal

Opera North
Newcastle Theatre Royal
Tuesday 3 – Saturday 7 March 2020

Simmering tensions in 1940s New York, madcap capers and a spine-chilling ghost story make up Opera North’s compelling new season which plays Tuesday 3 – Saturday 7 March 2020.

Opera North’s production of Kurt Weill’s Street Scene
Michelle Andrews as Mae Jones and 
Rodney Vubya as Dick McGann
Photo : Clive Barda

Opera North has long championed the work of Kurt Weill and, to start the season, the Company brings a new production of Street Scene to town (Tuesday 3 & Friday 6 March 2020). In the show the composer considered to be his masterpiece, the spotlight is turned on a Lower East Side tenement building on a stiflingly hot summer’s day as the residents struggle with their individual desires, dreams and disappointments. Opera North favourites Giselle Allen and Robert Hayward take on the roles of Anna and Frank Maurrant, alongside members of the Chorus of Opera North, including Gillene Butterfield as their daughter, Rose, and local man Alex Banfield from Morpeth, as her lover, Sam.


Opera North’s production of Kurt Weill’s Street Scene
Photo : Clive Barda
With operatic arias rubbing shoulders with music from Broadway, it is no surprise that the opera won Best Original Score at the very first Tony awards in 1947.  Conducting the piece will be James Holmes, one of the world’s leading interpreters of the composer’s work, while the director is Matthew Eberhardt, whose production of Bernstein’s Trouble in Tahiti was a highlight of Opera North’s The Little Greats season in 2017.

Opera North’s production of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro
Máire Flavin as Countess Almaviva, 
Heather Lowe as Cherubino and Fflur Wyn as 
Photo : Robert Workman
Jo Davies’ witty interpretation of The Marriage of Figaro showcases Mozart’s joyous farce of mistaken identity and misunderstandings (Wednesday 4 & Saturday 7 March 2020). We join Figaro on his wedding day, but preparations are not progressing as planned. His master, Count Almaviva, is keen to take advantage of an ancient feudal right to seduce Susanna, Figaro’s bride-to-be. Meanwhile, the heartbroken Countess finds herself the object of the page-boy Cherubino’s infatuation and, to top it all off, if Figaro cannot repay a debt to the housekeeper Marcellina, he will have to tie the knot with her instead!

Opera North’s production of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro

Photo : Robert Workman
In this fast-paced comic opera, New Zealand baritone Phillip Rhodes and Welsh soprano Fflur Wyn make their role debuts as Figaro and Susanna, while Quirijn de Lang makes a welcome return as Count Almaviva alongside Máire Flavin as the Countess. Mozart’s sublime score is conducted by James Hendry on the Wednesday and Opera North’s new Principal Guest Conductor, Antony Hermus on the Saturday, with the high-spirited action taking place against the backdrop of Leslie Travers’ timeless designs.

Opera North’s production of The Turn of the Screw.
Photo : Bill Cooper
Alessandro Talevi’s production of The Turn of the Screw (Thursday 5 March 2020) chilled many a spine when it was first performed in 2010. Based on the novella by Henry James, this tale of strange happenings in a remote country house reaches new levels of terror and claustrophobia as Britten’s disturbingly beautiful music ratchets up the tension at each twist and turn of the plot. 

Opera North’s production of The Turn of the Screw.
Photo : Bill Cooper
Nicholas Watts is the spectral Peter Quint, while Sarah Tynan returns to Opera North to play the Governess appointed to take charge of the orphaned Flora and Miles with Leo McFall conducting. Are they really at the mercy of strange and menacing spirits or is it all in her troubled mind?

Tickets:
Opera North is at Newcastle Theatre Royal Tuesday 3 – Saturday 7 March 2020. Street Scene plays Tuesday 3 & Friday 6 Mar (7.00pm); The Marriage of Figaro plays Wednesday 4 & Saturday 7 Mar (7.00pm) and The Turn of the Screw plays Thursday 5 Mar (7.30pm).
Tickets from £18.50 can be purchased from the Theatre Royal Box Office on 08448 11 21 21 (Calls cost 7ppm plus your phone company’s access charge) or book online at www.theatreroyal.co.uk


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