Emotions run high this Winter as Opera North returns to stages across the North of England with three passionate and powerful Italian greats. The season opens with the Company’s critically-acclaimed production of Puccini’s much-loved Madama Butterfly, followed by Un ballo in maschera, Verdi’s insightful look at the tragic consequences of mixing politics and passion, and finishing with a whirlwind of seduction on a grand – and ultimately deadly – scale in Mozart’s tale of the irredeemable hedonist, Don Giovanni.

Richard Mantle, General Director, Opera North, said:

“Our Winter Season lays bare the fatal consequences of wayward passion. All three operas feel particularly pertinent in today’s world with their exploration of the misunderstandings that arise between different cultures, and the effect the misuse of power has on both the individual and society. Together, they make a gripping introduction to the art-form for newcomers, and give more seasoned opera-goers the chance to compare three Italian masterpieces in a compelling start to 2018.”

A deeply poignant tale of love and betrayal, Madama Butterfly is an iconic example of Puccini’s dramatic genius. A young Japanese girl, Cio-Cio-San, falls in love with, and marries, a U.S. naval officer, only to be cruelly deserted by him when he returns to his homeland. Together with Pinkerton’s child, she patiently awaits his return, not realising that her husband has taken an American wife in the intervening years.

French soprano Anne Sophie Duprels sings the tragic role of Cio-Cio-San alongside the Lithuanian tenor Merūnas Vitulskis who makes his UK and Opera North debut as Pinkerton. Following her appearances in Osud and L’enfant et les sortilèges during the recent Little Greats season, Ann Taylor returns as Cio-Cio-San’s maid, Suzuki. Tim Albery directs, while Puccini’s remarkable score is brought to life by the Orchestra of Opera North conducted by Martin Pickard.

Political subterfuge takes centre-stage in the Company’s first ever production of Un ballo in maschera (A Masked Ball). Verdi’s opera is based on a real-life event: the assassination of King Gustav of Sweden in 1792. At the heart of all the political intrigue however lies an unrequited love triangle which ultimately sets the seal on the fate of the King, despite his having decided that duty and loyalty must come before affairs of the heart.

After his success with the Ring cycle in 2016, Opera North’s former music director Richard Farnes returns to conduct an international cast including Mexican tenor Rafael Rojas as Gustavus, Hungarian soprano Adrienn Miksch as Amelia, and Irish mezzo Patricia Bardon as Madame Arvidson. Tim Albery directs his second opera of the season.

Passion of a different hue leads to cold-blooded murder in Mozart’s masterful re-telling of the story of Don Juan and his licentious lifestyle, Don Giovanni. This revival of Alessandro Talevi’s witty and compelling production takes the audience on an exhilarating trip through different eras, each of which is brought imaginatively to life through set and costumes designed by Madeleine Boyd.

William Dazeley takes on the role of the dissolute Don, with Alastair Miles as Leporello, Elizabeth Atherton as Donna Elvira, and Kathryn Rudge as Zerlina. They are joined by young Irish soprano Jennifer Davis and British bass James Platt both making Opera North debuts as Donna Anna and the Commendatore.

The Opera North Season Opens at The Grand Theatre on 19 January and runs until 3 March. To book and for performance details visit operanorth.co.uk or call the box office on 0844 8482720.

Picture by Robert Workman


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