Opera North visit Newcastle twice a year and in a few short
days offer an interesting, professional and downright appealing to eyes and
ears and thoughts, programme. Including dance this time was an imaginative
combination.

Last night at Theatre Royal, I thoroughly enjoyed a double
bill.

The first was a re-interpretation of the dance component of Prokofiev’s
“Rite of Spring” by Haitian choreographer Jeanguy Saintus who reaches back into
his own cultural past including experience of vodou and then marrying that up
with Russian sentiment from 100 years ago. It was a fabulous performance by an
energetic eager and enthusiastic cast from the Phoenix Dance group wrapped around and into a tale of offerings and
possession, and ultimately finding a better place, so to speak. The discordant
(to first hearing as it does grow on one quickly) music is darn good too and
not just because it caused a near riot when first played in Paris. Live music was and is far superior to recordings. More about the show here

Attending an early show of “Rite of Spring” way back in 1913 was Puccini
whose work included a very funny comedy “Gianni Schicchi” which formed the 2nd part of the entertainment last night. He described the
Prokofiev work as being that of a madman and the music for these two shortish
shows (in one night) could not have been different. Expressions of love and
romance sung in Italian (English subtitles) sound and feel much more intense. The
combination with comedy; magical.

The previous night, I enjoyed in equal measure, Mozart’s
Magic Flute with a cast of nearly 60 plus orchestra who sang beautifully and
enchanted totally this delightful tale.

For all three shows the sets and costumes were excellent. Looking forward to their return visit and programme.

NEXT WEEK’S outings includes Ballet Boyz at Northern Stage