OPERA returns to Huddersfield this spring and with it one of the town’s best known young singers.
Professional opera productions have long been one of the must-have, must-see parts of the Lawrence Batley Theatre’s programming.
Its seasons usually include at least a couple of professional opera productions which do well at the box office and the theatre hosts a regular Opera Circle where opera buffs can share their knowledge and learn still more.
In the new spring season, the theatre welcomes two opera productions.
One is among the most popular of all productions, Mozart’s Figaro. The other is a modern work based on a story by the award-winning writer Philip Pullman.
Best of all for Huddersfield audience perhaps is that the cast of one of the productions includes soprano Sarah Ogden who is well-known to local music audiences.
Sarah, who lives in Shelley, is a regular soloist with choirs in the area and has had many successes in competitions, including being awarded the title of Kirklees Young Musician 2006.
She is musical director of Hade Edge Community Choir and Denby Dale Ladies Choir.
Last summer, Sarah sang with new opera company, Young Opera Venture in Opera Appetizers, singing arias from four favourite operas at venues including Cawthorne, Wakefield and Barnsley,
Now she is back with the company and is delighted to be bringing a full opera to Huddersfield which will see her singing on stage in front of a home audience at the Lawrence Batley Theatre.
Sarah will play the Countess in Figaro which is at the LBT on February 22.
The production will also be playing venues in Stamford, Barnsley, Middlesbrough and Wakefield.
What is on offer is a chance to see Mozart’s great comic masterpiece, with its witty and complex plot, great music, and characters in hilarious and dangerous situations, presented by a company of young professional opera singers.
The other production in the spring brochure offers musical fireworks of a different kind.
The Opera Group and Opera North have been working on a co-production of The Firework-Maker’s Daughter.
This promises a gripping tale of friendship and adventure based on Philip Pullman’s award-wining children’s novel.
This new opera is a vivid re-telling of Pullman’s story with a libretto by Glyn Maxwell.
David Bruce’s music, bursting with colour and energy, sparkles with humour and musical fireworks of its own and is brought to life by magical puppetry.
Its central character is Lila who desperately wants to be a firework-maker like her father.
But when he refuses to teach her, Lila runs away from home to discover the three gifts of firework-making for herself.
With the help of her friends, Chulak and Hamlet, the love-sick elephant, Lila faces pirates, tigers and the terrifying Fire-Fiend on her perilous quest to find out what the three gifts really mean.
For those new to opera or for those who are devotees of this enduring art form, there is much to look forward to.
The production is by The Opera Group and Opera North in association with ROH2 and Watford Palace Theatre and was co-commissioned by The Opera Group and ROH2.
It opens in Hull in late March and arrives in Huddersfield on March 30 before continuing its national tour.
The opera is directed by John Fulljames and the conductor is Geoffrey Paterson.
For more details or tickets, call the LBT box office on 01484 430528 or go online, www.thelbt.org