Discover opera with The Little Greats

Published: Wednesday 25th October 2017 by Courtney Farrow

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Leeds-based company Opera North returns to Hull New Theatre for the first time in over a decade to present a festival of short operas.

The Little Greats programme includes three exciting double bills, a family-friendly matinee and five brand new bite-size operas.

“Our ambition is to reach out to an audience that hasn’t been before. The format is perfect for those who want to try out something new and sample a different art form,” explains Charles Edwards, Director of Pagliacci.

The three-day event takes place at the newly refurbished Hull New Theatre from Thursday 26 to Saturday 28 October. There’s something for everyone, whether you want to experience the passion of an Italian classic or enjoy a jazzy-inspired 1950s satire.

“With an opera, there’s a lot of emotion and energy. It’s kind of like a musical, except there are 60-70 people in the orchestra and 40-50 people on stage – it’s very powerful. I think a lot of people find the idea a bit daunting, but we are just telling a story through singing, in a similar way to a musical.”

Pagliacci opens on the first evening, followed by Cavalleria Rusticana.

“These are traditional operas. They are intense and perhaps the ones I would recommend for those who already love opera,” Charles explains.

Pagliacci follows the story of an opera company, but by the time they get on stage the theatre becomes the scene of a bloody reckoning. Meanwhile, Cavalleria Rusticana features instantly recognisable music that has been featured in films such as The Godfather and Raging Bull. This time, the script has been adapted and is set in Poland in the late 1970s, which certainly makes it more interesting for those who have seen it before.

On Saturday 28 October, there will be a child-friendly performance of the enchanting show The Child and the Magic Spells (also known as L’Enfant et les Sortileges). Charming characters such as a teapot, an armchair and a grandfather clock come together in this fascinating, playful 45-minute piece.

Full of glamour and vibrancy, Trouble in Tahiti is set in 1950s Hollywood and takes a closer look at the American Dream. In the meantime, Gilbert & Sullivan’s Trial by Jury cleverly combines opera with satirical wit and a sophisticated plotline.

“If you love West Side Story, you will love Trouble in Tahiti. It’s quite serious, but there is a lot of sarcasm and humour,” Charles points out.

On top of all this, The Octagon Centre on Thornton Estate will host the free Whistle Stop Opera. The half-hour of tragedy, comedy love and deceit will keep audiences of all ages on the edge of their seats.

Opera North’s The Little Greats comes to Hull New Theatre from Thursday 26 until Saturday 28 October. You can book tickets by calling 01482 300306, or you can book online.

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Published: Wednesday 25th October 2017 by Courtney Farrow

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