Opera North celebrates 40 years since its establishment as the opera company for the North of England with a season of contrasts at the Theatre Royal, Nottingham, from November 7, pairing an acclaimed new production of Tosca with a revival of its lavish staging of The Merry Widow.
Following his 2017 production of Hansel and Gretel, director Edward Dick stages Puccini’s popular melodrama as a high-octane political thriller whose themes of love and lust, cruelty, self-sacrifice and the abuse of power are as keenly felt today as they ever were.
A spectacular set by Tom Scutt brings together ancient and modern beneath a monumental gilt and frescoed dome, which rotates to frame the action.
Tosca’s tragedy is followed by a revival of Lehár’s effervescent operetta, The Merry Widow. Hanna Glawari is a young, beautiful and stupendously wealthy widow visiting Paris. Suitors clamour for her hand but the fate of her near-bankrupt home nation of Pontevedro depends on the choice she makes.
Director Giles Havergal’s witty yet stylish production is complemented by Leslie Travers’s fin-de-siècle set and costume designs.
Once again, Opera North’s visit to the Theatre Royal will be preceded by a free performance of its latest Whistle Stop Opera, which pops up at the newly-reopened Malt Cross on Monday, November 5.
Directed and narrated by bass baritone John Savournin, this fun 30-minute taster packs in comedy, tragedy and beautiful music from The Merry Widow, Tosca and The Magic Flute, performed by three singers and an accordion player. Newcomers to the art form can whet their appetites for the mainstage performances later in the week, when John can be seen as Angelotti, the prisoner whose desperate escape provides Tosca’s powerful opening.
Richard Mantle, general director, Opera North, commented: “Opera North’s purpose is to create extraordinary experiences every day, using music and opera to entertain, engage, challenge and inspire. In this, our 40th year, we seek to reinvigorate our incredible art form for the 21st century, and to share our work in new ways with more people across the whole of the North of England and beyond.”
For more information and booking, visit trch.co.uk or contact box office on 0115 989 5555.
Photo credit: Robert Workman