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North East & Yorkshire Reviews

Aida – The Alhambra, Bradford

Music:   Giuseppe Verdi Lyrics:   Antonio Ghislanzoni   Director:  Ellen Kent Reviewer:  Dawn Smallwood Opera &Ballet International opens Ellen Kent’s Aida on its first evening of its UK Spring Tour at Bradford’s Alhambra Theatre.  Verdi’s opera, premiered at Cairo’s Opera House in December 1871, stars an international cast of artists and members of the critically acclaimed Moldovan orchestras. A year before ...

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The Chef Show – Marsden Mechanics Hall

Writer: Nick Ahad Director: Stefan Escreet Designer: Martin Johns Reviewer: Ron Simpson The Chef Show is almost impossible to rate as a theatre production. It is not the most challenging script or production you will come across, but in its own field it’s a five-star top-of-the-range effort: it is beyond doubt the best “fusion of play and cookery demonstration” this ...

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Hansel and Gretel – The Grand, Leeds

Music: Engelbert Humpadinck Lyrics: Adelheid Wette Director: Edward Dick Conductor: Christoph Altstaedt Choreographer: Gary Clarke Reviewer: Sue Collier Having previously neither seen nor heard a production of Engelbert Humperdinck’s opera Hansel and Gretel, a reviewer is able to truly explore the strengths of this performance with a completely open mind. The story is a fairy tale opera in three acts, ...

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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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