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Opera North is heading west for first performance

Opera North returns to Newcastle Theatre Royal next month with the three of the company's first productions of 2014

The Girl of the Golden West by Puccini
The Girl of the Golden West by Puccini

Opera North returns to Newcastle Theatre Royal next month with the three of the company’s first productions of 2014.

First up is a long-awaited and critically acclaimed new production of Puccini’s opera of the American West, The Girl of the Golden West.

Dubbed ‘the original Spaghetti Western,’ this is a story of true love and second chances, set in a tough mining camp during the California Gold Rush.

Puccini’s melodic gift and rich orchestral score offers an ideal soundtrack for the love triangle between Dick Johnson, also known as the bandit Ramerrez, the embittered Sheriff Jack Rance, and Minnie, the Girl in the title, who runs the Polka saloon.

Promising “a dramatic and stunningly beautiful love story”, the production features powerful performances from Lancastrian soprano Alwyn Mellor, as Minnie, Mexican tenor Rafael Rojas as Ramerrez, and baritone Robert Hayward as Jack Rance.

Next is director Tim Albery’s gripping production of Macbeth, which returns to the company following the huge success of Albery’s Otello in Winter 2013.

This modern-dress production depicts the vivid world of the supernatural through the “bleak and elegantly styled” design of Johan Engels.

Verdi described Shakespeare’s play as ‘one of mankind’s greatest creations,’ and filled his opera with music of extravagance and true originality, of which the famous chorus of Scottish refugees, ‘Patria oppressa!’ is just one of the highlights.

The Hungarian baritone Béla Perencz, returns to Opera North to sing Macbeth with American soprano Kelly Cae Hogan taking on the role of Lady Macbeth.

Opera North completes this visit to the Theatre Royal with a charming journey through the music of the city of romance, in From Paris with Love: Puccini to Piaf.

This special theatrical concert explores the music that helped create the iconic images of Paris as the most romantic city in the world, and the heart of all things bohemian.

Richard Mantle, Opera North’s general director said: “Not since the mid-1980s have Opera North audiences had the opportunity to revel in the exhilarating score Puccini created for the rip-roaring tale of The Girl of the Golden West, for which we are delighted to welcome back Aletta Collins, one of the most imaginative young British directors working in theatres today.

“For Tim Albery’s gripping production of Macbeth the central roles will be performed by Béla Perencz and Kelly Cae Hogan, who gave sensational performances as Wotan and Brünnhilde in our Die Walküre last year.

“We also look forward to whisking our audiences off to the quintessential city of romance.”

Opera North are at Newcastle Theatre Royal from March 11 to 15. For tickets, call 08448 11 21 21 or visit www.theatreroyal.co.uk

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