As work ramps up on the trio of innovative productions comprising Opera North’s first sustainable season, the Company has revealed some of the transformations it is making in search of more environmentally responsible ways to bring its operas to the stage.
The Green Season will open this September at Leeds Grand Theatre with Olivia Fuchs’ new production of Verdi’s Falstaff, conducted by Music Director Garry Walker, with Henry Waddington in the title role and Kate Royal as Alice Ford. James Hurley’s new production of La rondine, conducted by Kerem Hasan, transplants Puccini’s shimmering tale of careless love to 30s Paris and the Riviera, with Galina Averina as Magda and Sébastien Guèze as Ruggero.
Completing the season, Masque of Might is a new work from one of the world’s most eminent opera directors, Sir David Pountney: a contemporary ‘eco-entertainment’ told through the music of Henry Purcell. Harry Bicket conducts a cast including Anna Dennis as Elena/Witch, Callum Thorpe as Diktat, and Andri Björn Róbertsson as Nebulous/Activist/Wolf.
The Leeds-based Company’s work on the season is being guided by the Theatre Green Book, an industry standard brought together during lockdown by theatre-makers and sustainability experts.
Co-founder and General Manager of Sustainable Arts in Leeds (SAIL) Jamie Saye is acting as Opera North’s Sustainability Champion for the season. “The Theatre Green Book pulls together existing guidance and creates a shared standard for environmentally responsible theatre”, he explains. “It helps us to look at every aspect of our productions, buildings and operations – and even the ways in which our audiences get to and from our performances.
“Sustainability begins at the outset, with the concept and vision, and it’s critical that the whole Company works together on achieving it. It’s literally built into the fabric of these productions: one of our first tasks was to put together a materials inventory that lists the sources of everything used in sets, props and costumes, and planned disposal routes after the show”.
Pictured above part of the witch’s costume in Masque of Might made entirely from recycled bits of tablecloths and curtains, plastic bottles, forks and remants.