Opera North's spring season in Newcastle

Peter Lathan

Opera North will bring fatal passions to Newcastle Theatre Royal in March. The season of that name includes revivals of Madama Butterfly (Puccini) and Don Giovanni (Mozart) and a new production of Verdi’s Un ballo in maschera.

“The Season lays bare the fatal consequences of wayward passion,” said Richard Mantle, the company’s General Director. “All three operas feel particularly pertinent in today’s world with their exploration of the misunderstandings that arise between different cultures, and the effect the misuse of power has on both the individual and society. Together, they make a gripping introduction to the art-form for newcomers, and give more seasoned opera-goers the chance to compare three Italian masterpieces in a compelling start to 2018.”

In Madama Butterfly, French soprano Anne Sophie Duprels sings Cio-Cio-San alongside the Lithuanian tenor Merūnas Vitulskis who makes his UK and Opera North debut as Pinkerton. Tim Albery directs while Martin Pickard conducts.

Albery also directs Un ballo in maschera and Richard Farnes conducts. The cast includes Mexican tenor Rafael Rojas as King Gustavus, following his most recent appearances as Calaf in Turandot (2017) and New Zealand-born baritone Phillip Rhodes plays Count Anckarstroem after singing Silvio in Pagliacci and Alfio in Cavalleria rusticana during Opera North’s autumn season, The Little Greats.

Hungarian soprano Adrienn Miksch, makes her UK and Opera North debut as Amelia.

The revival of Alessandro Talevi’s 2012 production of Don Giovanni reunites William Dazeley as the Don, Alastair Miles as Leporello and Elizabeth Atherton as Donna Elvira. They are joined for this revival by young Irish soprano Jennifer Davis and British bass James Platt both making Opera North debuts as Donna Anna and the Commendatore respectively. Matthew Kofi Waldren conducts for the Newcastle performances.

Details of the Newcastle season are:

  • 13 March at 7:30 : Madama Butterfly
  • 14 March at 7:00 : Don Giovanni
  • 15 March at 7:30 : Madama Butterfly
  • 16 March at 7:00 : Don Giovanni
  • 17 March at 7:00 : Un ballo in maschera

Later in the year, Opera North returns to the region with a concert version of Strauss’s Salome which will play at The Sage in Gateshead for one night only, on Saturday 5 May at 7:30.

Sir Richard Armstrong will conduct and, for the Gateshead performance, Giselle Allen (Santuzza in Cavalleria rusticana and Míla in Osud) will sing Salome. Dutch tenor Arnold Bezuyen makes his Opera North debut as Herodes; Swedish mezzo Katarina Karnéus sings Herodias, while Jokanaan is sung by Robert Hayward, most recently seen as Wotan in Die Walküre (2016).