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The Rite of Spring / Gianni Schicchi

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Leeds Grand TheatreLeeds, Yorkshire and the Humber, LS1 6NZ, United Kingdom
February 16, 23, 28, March 02 at 19:30
Performers
Opera North
Garry WalkerConductor
Christopher AldenDirector
Charles EdwardsSet Designer
Doey LüthiCostume Designer
Richard BurkhardBaritoneGianni Schicchi
Tereza GevorgyanSopranoLauretta
Diego SilvaTenorRinuccio
Leah-Marian JonesMezzo-sopranoZita
Victoria SharpSopranoNella
Dean RobinsonBassBetto di Signa
Stephen RichardsonBassSimone
Peter SavidgeBaritoneMarco
Claire PascoeMezzo-sopranoLa Ciesca
Tim ClaydonActorBuoso Donati
Aled HallTenorGherardo
Richard Mosley-EvansBaritoneGuccio
Ross McInroyBassMaestro Spinelloccio
Gordon ShawBassPinellino
Orchestra of Opera North
Chorus of Opera North
Phoenix Dance Theatre
Jeanguy SaintusChoreography
Adam SilvermanLighting Designer
Richard MooreLighting Designer
Yann SeabraCostume Designer

The Rite of Spring

For the first time, Opera North collaborates with Leeds-based, internationally-renowned Phoenix Dance Theatre in a new production of a work that revolutionised 20th-century music and dance.

The premiere of The Rite of Spring in Paris on 29 May 1913 was a succès de scandale, Stravinsky writing in a letter home that ‘things got as far as fighting’, whilst the impresario Serge Diaghilev claimed that the audience’s riotous reaction to the music and – especially – to Nijinsky’s choreography was ‘exactly what I wanted’. 

Structured in two parts, ‘The Adoration of the Earth’ and ‘The Sacrifice’, the ballet draws on Russian folklore to conjure up a world of primitive religious ceremony, ancestor worship and ritual sacrifice. Whereas conventional ballet aspired to free dancers from gravity, Nijinsky’s choreography and Stravinsky’s music rooted them in the earth. Stravinsky wedded the shifting metres of Russian folk music to a modernist harmonic language, with stamping bass-lines and off-the-beat accents generating a pulverizing rhythmic energy.

 Frequently heard in the concert hall, The Rite of Spring sounds eternally modern. This new production returns the ballet to its true home in the theatre.

Gianni Schicchi

Sung in Italian with English titles

Inspired by an episode in Dante’s Inferno, Puccini’s short opera Gianni Schicchi is an irresistible satyr play, set around the death-bed of a rich man. The scheming relatives who vie for a chunk of the dead man’s fortune are all too recognisable, revealing the greed and avarice which lie just below the thin veneer of their family loyalties. With its vivid characterisation and the spontaneity of its musical invention, Gianni Schicchi is a comic masterpiece in miniature which also contains one of Puccini’s best known arias, ‘O mio babbino caro’. 

Christopher Alden’s witty and imaginative contemporary staging, first seen in 2015, is revived in a double-bill with Stravinsky’s avant-garde ballet The Rite of Spring, co-produced with Phoenix Dance Theatre. Written just five years apart, premiering either side of the First World War, both works are modernist and experimental in tone, offering very different reflections on the decline of an old order, and the beginning of the new. Scottish conductor Garry Walker conducts both pieces, returning to Opera North following Billy Budd (2016). 

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