New Opera North season - from decadence to downfall

From the world's most performed opera, La Traviata, to one of the earliest ever composed, the new Opera North season has them both.

The Bartered Bride by Smetana (left) and The Coronation of Poppea will be performed by Opera North this autumn

From the world’s most-performed opera to one of the earliest ever composed, Opera North’s new season offers a real mix of romance, comedy and spine-chilling drama.

First up on Saturday, September 20, at Leeds Grand, is Verdi’s La Traviata, the blockbuster of the opera world with instantly recognisable music and a moving storyline.

The production is being directed by South African Alessandro Talevi, who has previously staged Don Giovanni and Turn of the Screw for Opera North. He has set La Traviata amid the vitality and elegance of the Belle Epoque, the golden age of Parisian art at the turn of the 20th century.

La Traviata, which is the tragic love story of a young courtesan, Violetta, and her nobleman admirer, Alfredo, is based on La dame aux Camélias, an 1852 play adapted from the novel by Alexandre Dumas.

Italian conductor Gianluca Marciano conducts two young South Korean singers in the leading roles. Soprano Hye-Youn Lee sings Violetta in her first role for Opera North, while the tenor Ji-Min Park sings Alfredo.

The Coronation of Poppea, which opens on October 4, is next in the season, bringing one of the genre’s oldest operas to life.

Written by Monteverdi in 1643, the work is loosely based on real events in early Rome, charting the all-consuming obsession of the infamously cruel emperor Nero for the beautiful Poppea Sabina.

Never before staged by Opera North, this work is directed by Tim Albery and will be conducted by Laurence Cummings, a leading specialist in Baroque music.

The last opera in the season, opening on October 18, is The Bartered Bride by Smetana.

A revival of the successful 1998 production by its original director Daniel Slater, the comedy is aimed at the family audience.

A simple tale of love and trickery, with a fun-filled circus, the opera is set in Czechoslovakia in 1972, sung in English and enriched with Czech folk melodies. For the first time ever Opera North is presenting a matinee performance entirely for school groups (October 22).

The season at Leeds ends on November 1, after which Opera North takes the three productions on a national tour.

Ticket and performance details from www.operanorth.co.uk

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