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Postponed, date tba: Bernstein double bill

Theatre Royal100 Grey Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, North-East, NE1 6BR, United Kingdom
On Saturday 7 November 2020 at 19:30
Performers
Phoenix Dance Theatre
Jonathon HeywardConductor
Matthew EberhardtDirector
Charles EdwardsSet Designer
Hannah ClarkCostume Designer
Quirijn de LangBass-baritoneSam
Sandra Piques EddyMezzo-sopranoDinah
Orchestra of Opera North
Aletta CollinsChoreographyWest Side Story: Symphonic Dances
Tim ClaydonMovement director
Opera North

The American Dream turns suffocatingly sour in Bernstein’s unsparing examination of a marriage falling apart in 1950s suburbia. Sam and Dinah appear to have the perfect life in their ‘little white house’. But their growing failure to connect exposes a mutual feeling that they are trapped in a life that has turned into a lie. 

Bernstein’s score is heavily influenced by the syncopated rhythms of jazz and by the distinctive American vernacular of musicals and the movies. A highlight of Opera North’s Little Greats season of short operas in 2017, Matthew Eberhardt’s production of Trouble in Tahiti is deeply touching, whilst giving full value to the Hollywood pizzazz of Dinah’s showpiece number ‘Island Magic’.

‘Gently satirical but also wryly sympathetic about a marriage that has gone dead in the water, it is clothed in music of jazzy lyricism not many miles from West Side Story. ...I loved every minute and recommend it warmly.’ 

Rupert Christiansen, Daily Telegraph

At a stroke, Bernstein’s West Side Story redefined musical theatre when it opened on Broadway in 1957. It broke new ground in several ways, not least in responding to the newly contemporary issue of gang violence in American cities, and in the way that the story-telling was driven by dance. 

Bernstein himself arranged the Symphonic Dances from West Side Story as a work to stand on its own terms, free of the story of the show from which the music is derived. Taking this as her cue, choreographer Aletta Collins creates a dance work which interprets Bernstein’s thrilling, poignant music outside of the narrative of West Side Story. This entirely new piece will explore the experience of young people through themes of group identity and family, conflict and violence, but also the dream of a better life, somewhere.

This is the second major collaboration between Opera North and Leeds-based, internationally-renowned, Phoenix Dance Theatre, following our hugely successful work together last year on Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring.

‘Intoxicatingly good, and brilliantly played to boot.’ 

Graham Rickson, The Arts Desk, on The Rite of Spring, 2019


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