BY day, it’s the civic hub of Huddersfield.
But tonight, it becomes Paris’s Latin Quarter in the 1840s.
Huddersfield Town Hall has been transformed for a one-night-only production of Puccini’s opera, La Bohéme.
Slaithwaite Philharmonic Orchestra opens its new season tonight with the challenging fully-staged version of the tragic love story.
It meant a lot of hard work for the set-builders, who have had to adapt the hall’s traditional stage to hold the Parisian sets.
Accomplished London director Keith Cheetham has joined forces with Slaithwaite conductor Benjamin Ellin to provide a driving force to stage the performance.
The play revolves around bohemians Mimì, a seamstress, and the poet Rodolfo and their trials, tribulations and romances.
It will be sung by seven principals with a 15-strong chorus and 60 piece orchestra.
Keith said: “We’ve been working on it since June so it’s been quite a challenging time scale.
“The town hall is a concert venue so we have had to build the set off site.
“We have decided to have the orchestra on the stage rather than in a pit so it enhances the feeling of community.
“The orchestra will also be in costume which, in itself, will add a new dimension.
“It is an absorbing production and has some of the most wonderful melodies for a tragic love story.
“It’s so different from playing symphonies and concerts.”
The performance will see a mix of home-grown talent and trained opera singers from across the country to take to the stage.
Keith added: “It is a very young cast. “The lead singer is 25.
“But it’s exciting for people to go out on a limb, it’s really brave.
“If you go home with a dry eye, I’ve failed.”
Slaithwaite Philharmonic Orchestra violinist Richard Bottom said: “I have been with the orchestra for 20 years and its just a chance to do something different.
“The music keeps you on your toes as the speed is constantly changing, every bar is different.”
Opera singer Alex Poulton, 33, who plays bohemian Marcello, told the Examiner: “Marcello is desperately in love with Musetta but because he is too poor it is a very volatile relationship.
“She needs luxuries and he is a struggling painter.
“It is a fantastic opera as it has the perfect recipe.”
l See Monday’s Examiner for a review of the performance.