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North East & Yorkshire

Ensemble 360: Music in the Round – Sheffield Crucible Studio

Reviewer: Ron Simpson Ensemble 360’s opening concert of the Spring season of Music in the Round deployed nearly all the group’s musical forces, only the piano being missing from its 11 members. The five pieces on the programme had plenty of variety, but the spirit of the dance and the folk music of Northern and Eastern Europe underlay much of ...

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Nanook of the North – Howard Assembly Room, Leeds

Film Director: Robert Flaherty Live Performer: Tanya Tagaq Reviewer: Ron Simpson This, a typically enterprising programme in Opera North’s Howard Assembly Room, brought together two pioneering artists, nearly a century apart, linked by the Inuit people of the Arctic. Robert Flaherty produced what is often considered the first full-length documentary film, Nanook of the North, about the Inuit in 1922. ...

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The Snow Maiden – The Grand, Leeds

Music:  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov               Director: John Fulljames Reviewer: Dawn Smallwood Opera North is staging for the first time Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Snow Maiden and is part of the company’s fairy tale season this winter.  The Russian opera premiered in 1882 and was revised in 1898, and is based on Snegurochka, a Russian folk tale.  It follows the story of the Snow Maiden ...

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Hamlet – Lawrence Batley Theatre, Huddersfield

Writer: William Shakespeare Director: Max Lewendel Set Designer: Curtis C. Trout Costume Designer: Isabella van Braeckel Reviewer: Ron Simpson Icarus Theatre Collective claim that this is Hamlet for the Game of Thrones generation. It’s difficult to work out what this means, but the production style is self-consciously dramatic, the narrative and characters both undeveloped. Of the ideas that Max Lewendel ...

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Orchestra of Opera North: Viennese Whirl – Huddersfield Town Hall

Conductor: Aleksandar Markovic Soloists: Ellie Laugharne (soprano) & Heather Lowe (mezzo soprano) Reviewer: Ron Simpson As with Opera North’s Christmas Concert at Dewsbury, the company’s Viennese Whirl took a popular form and tweaked it, giving the less familiar material an airing and slipping in the occasional more challenging piece before serving up helpings of Sachertorte as 9:30 pm approached. Vienna-style New ...

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Peter Pan – The Alhambra, Bradford

Writer: Michael Harrison and Alan McHugh, adapted from Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie Musical Director: James McCullagh Choreographer: Stillie Dee Director: Ed Curtis Reviewer: Sue Collier A delightful children’s choir and a wonderful Santa gives a great welcome to the Alhambra. 3D glasses are clutched in excited anticipation in a theatre packed with children and adults, all eagerly awaiting the ...

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Cinderella – Lawrence Batley Theatre, Huddersfield

Writer: Andrew Pollard Music: Rebekah Hughes Director: Joyce Branagh Reviewer: Ruth Jepson If there is a classic in the land of pantomimes, then it has to be Cinderella. The rags to riches tale of a poor girl, banished to the kitchens by her evil stepsisters, with only the mice and her good friend Buttons for company. That is, until her ...

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Winter Wonderland – Howard Assembly Room, Leeds

Musical Director: David Le Page Reviewer: Ron Simpson There are many different types of Christmas celebration concert and Winter Wonderland was the sort that provides more breadth than depth, 15 named items in a programme of some 70 minutes, very accomplished playing in a variety of styles. It’s no wonder that, in the musicians’ biographies, one commented that since she ...

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