Mix-and-Match Festival of Six Short Operas with Huge Emotions


The seductive style of Mad Men meets the powerful emotion of opera this Autumn, as Opera North brings 1950s glamour to theatres across the North of England with its first ever staging of Trouble in Tahiti, Leonard Bernstein’s sparkling satire on the American Dream. What’s more, with opera novices able to get tickets for £10 during the opening run in Leeds, there has never been a better time to try something new.

Young married couple, Sam and Dinah, are sitting down to breakfast as they start their day in 1950s suburbia. All looks idyllic in their ‘little white house’, but it soon becomes clear that their marriage is far from perfect as they both struggle to recapture their lost intimacy. Sam escapes to the competitive world of the office and the gym, while Dinah loses herself at the movies, watching the ominously-titled Trouble in Tahiti. As the day unfolds, neither remember to attend their son’s school play.

Trouble in Tahiti is the perfect introduction to opera and to Bernstein in his centenary year, featuring all the intensity of a longer work in just 45 minutes. Sung in English, it vividly captures the spirit of the age with its dazzling fusion of opera, Hollywood, musical theatre and jazz. Canadian mezzo-soprano Wallis Giunta, and Dutch baritone Quirijn de Lang, who both charmed audiences in Opera North’s production of Cinderella earlier this year, return to the stage as Dinah and Sam. As Wallis says:

The opera is being performed as part of Opera North’s festival of The Little Greats which brings together six shorter operas – each of which packs a huge emotional punch in around an hour – in a series of double-bills. Trouble in Tahiti is joined by the raw, hot-blooded passion of Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci and Mascagni’s Cavalleria rusticana, and the popular charm and unmatched comic style of Gilbert and Sullivan’s operetta Trial by Jury. Completing the set are two rarely performed gems: Ravel’s fantastical L’enfant et les sortilèges (The Child and the Magic Spells) and Janáček’s ground-breaking and cinematic Osud (Destiny).

The Little Greats season opens from 16 September 2017 at Leeds Grand Theatre, where the six operas are presented in a unique ‘mix-and-match’ rotation, creating an ever-changing series of new and unusual pairings. Tickets for each short opera are sold separately, giving audiences the flexibility to choose their own path through the season. Anyone who has never tried opera before can take advantage of a new £10 ticket offer in Leeds, generously funded by the Opera North Future Fund, which will make the best available seats cheaper for newcomers at every single performance.

Performance Diary and Box Office: or 0844 848 2720

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