An illicit affair is the starting point for Richard Strauss’s comic masterpiece Der Rosenkavalier (The Rose-Bearer), which opens the season on Wednesday, November 16.
As she faces up to the relentless passage of time, a 30-something aristocrat sets up a meeting between her toy boy lover, the 17-year-old Octavian, and a beautiful younger woman – with inevitably heart-breaking results.
Der Rosenkavalier is the perfect choice for those who enjoy rom-coms, with a beguiling love story, comic twists and turns, sumptuous stage design and breathtakingly beautiful music.
A double-bill of short operas by Puccini delivers two short, sharp bursts of dramatic tension and emotional power, at under an hour each.
The evening begins with the dramatic intensity of Il Tabarro (The Cloak), a dark and brooding thriller set on the banks of the Seine, which charts the terrible consequences when a husband discovers that his wife is having a secret affair. Il Tabarro is paired with Suor Angelica (Sister Angelica), Puccini’s personal favourite among his operas, which tells the story of a young woman, kept in a convent against her will, whose illegitimate child has been kept secret to preserve a powerful family’s reputation.
Only after another harrowing secret has been revealed is she finally set free. This is vintage Puccini – think Tosca and Madame Butterfly, packed up small.
Completing the Season of Secrets is a brand new production of Benjamin Britten’s Billy Budd, which returns to Opera North after an absence of over 20 years. One of the greatest 20th century British operas, it is a haunting, deeply atmospheric and psychologically powerful work, performed by an all-male cast and a large-scale chorus. An aging captain in the navy reflects on events he has kept hidden for most of his life, centred around a handsome young sailor named Billy Budd, who joined the crew of the HMS Indomitable. Radiating goodness, Billy attracts both the secret desires and the implacable hatred of the ship’s feared Master-At-Arms, Claggart.
As these hidden truths are revealed to devastating effect on stage, Opera North will be celebrating its Season of Secrets by sharing a host of trade secrets, operatic know-how and backstage photos. People will be able to visit Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Playbuzz to discover, amongst other things, how many hours are spent perfecting each note before an opera even reaches the stage, how to make a wig look fantastic night after night, and the best way of achieving a truly convincing stage death.
£10 tickets for anyone aged under 30 will be available for all performances, with a complimentary drink in the interval of the Puccini double bill on Friday, November 18. To sign up for Opera North’s Under 30 scheme, visit https://www.operanorth.co.uk/under-30s
For ticket details for the performances, go to www.trch.co.uk
Photo by Clive Barda shows Billy Budd.