Two leading arts organisations in Leeds have collaborated with Opera North for the Company’s latest season which features a bewitching coming-of-age adventure, a tempestuous tragedy, and a double bill of iconic ballet and wickedly funny opera.

Opening the season is a new production of The Magic Flute, Mozart’s epic tale about Prince Tamino’s quest to rescue Pamina, the daughter of the Queen of the Night, held captive by the Priest of the Sun. Directing opera for the first time will be James Brining, Artistic Director at the Leeds Playhouse, who joins forces with set and costume designer Colin Richmond, recreating the partnership that was responsible for the critically-acclaimed West Yorkshire Playhouse/Opera North co-production of Sondheim’s Into the Woods in 2016.

A very different production follows with Katya Kabanova, Janáček’s wildly beautiful tale of temptation, passion and guilt in a small-minded community. With a weak-willed husband and overbearing mother-in-law, Katya does her best to conform to society’s expectations but, when her husband goes away on business, temptation proves impossible to resist. As Katya’s world unravels and the insidious effects of guilt take hold, Janáček’s music beautifully captures the tension and barely suppressed eroticism.

Completing the season is a dance/opera double bill created in association with Phoenix Dance Theatre in the first ever collaboration between the two Leeds-based companies. The newly choreographed version of Stravinsky’s ground-breaking The Rite of Spring will be performed by Phoenix’s ensemble with the full Orchestra of Opera North playing the unmistakable modernist score. The piece shocked audiences when it was first performed in 1913 and is set to do so again as it is reimagined by internationally-acclaimed Haitian choreographer Jeanguy Saintus in his UK debut, with a focus on the crushing power of nature, the relentless growth of capitalism and technology, and the inevitable fate of the sacrificial victim.

Enabling audiences to experience two art-forms in one evening, The Rite of Spring is paired with Puccini’s short – and only – operatic comedy Gianni Schicchi. Scheming relatives gather round the deathbed of a rich man, each laying claim to a chunk of his fortune, before they make the questionable decision to call in local conman Gianni Schicchi for help. Based on an episode in Dante’s Inferno, Puccini’s mini masterpiece is rich with vivid characterisation and colourful music.

The 2019 Winter season opens at Leeds Grand Theatre with The Magic Flute on Saturday 19 January

Sat 19 Jan         Mozart               The Magic Flute                                 7.00pm             NEW

Sat 2 Feb           Janáček             Katya Kabanova                               7.30pm              REVIVAL

Sat 16 Feb         Stravinsky        The Rite of Spring/                        7.30pm              NEW

                        Puccini               Gianni Schicchi                                                      REVIVAL

Further details: https://www.operanorth.co.uk

(Picture by Guy Farrow)


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