The Spiders' Revenge from Opera North Children's Chorus

Peter Lathan

Opera North Children’s Chorus is to perform Peter Maxwell Davies’s The Spider’s Revenge in Durham Town Hall this weekend.

This musical theatre work tells the story of two children who struggle to understand why the insects in the garden exist and so delight in tormenting them as part of their games. Eventually, the spiders decide to open the youngsters’ eyes to the wonders of the mini-beasts’ kingdom, capturing them in their webs before showing them that every creature has its place on earth, however small and insignificant they may at first appear.

“Despite being composed more than 25 years ago,” said Jacqui Cameron, Opera North Education Director, “the issues which Peter Maxwell Davies explores in this short piece are still hugely relevant today, with its plea for everyone to respect each other and to try and live together in harmony. It seems very fitting that children from two cities are joining forces for this performance with young people from both the Leeds and Newcastle choruses taking part.”

Opera North launched the Newcastle branch of its Children’s Chorus over a year ago. The group of 8- to 12-year-olds meets weekly at the city’s Theatre Royal to perfect their vocal technique and master all aspects of musicianship with the help of Opera North’s professional artists.

In this concert, the children of the Newcastle Opera North Children’s Chorus will be joined by their counterparts from Leeds in a semi-staged production directed by John Wilkie.

The performance lasts around half an hour and will be conducted by Opera North’s James Bingham with accompaniment provided by pianist Jenny Martins. It starts at 4PM in Durham Town Hall in the city’s Market Place. Tickets cost £3 for adults (£1 for under-16s) and are available from Opera North's web site.

Next week sees Opera North returning to Newcastle’s Theatre Royal with its Little Greats season, featuring Pagliacci and Cavalleria rusticana, Janáček’s Osud (Destiny) and Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortilèges followed by Trouble in Tahiti and Trial by Jury.