Before the pandemic, I was lucky enough to have the chance to review opera for The Culture Vulture,  a Leeds-based net magazine.  It was a joy – the music, the performances, the stage design, the production, all of it. Over this period I reviewed a handful of other cultural events in my home town, Sheffield. Links to all of the reviews follow.

Turandot A concert staging from Opera North, at Leeds Town Hall

Julius Caesar Sheffield Crucible Theatre production, starring Samuel West as Brutus.

Pagliacci/L’Enfant et les sortileges Opera North Little Greats production of two short operas, by Leoncavallo and Ravel respectively, at Leeds Grand Theatre.

Osud/Cavalleria Rusticana Opera North Little Greats production of two short operas, by Janacek and Mascagni respectively.

Trouble in Tahiti/Trial by Jury  Opera North Little Greats production of two short operas, by Bernstein and Gilbert & Sullivan respectively.

Un Ballo in Maschera   The first in Opera North’s Fatal Passions season, and their first production of Verdi’s masterpiece.

Madama Butterfly  The return of Opera North’s acclaimed production of Puccini’s best loved work.

Don Giovanni – A brilliantly inventive production of Mozart’s masterpiece from Opera North.

Salome – a powerful concert staging of Richard Strauss’s potent and thrilling treatment of Wilde’s play.

Leeds chamber choir Cantabile‘s tenth anniversary celebrations – 800 years of new music and a special new commission.

Kiss Me, Kate – Opera North’s sizzling hot production of Cole Porter’s tune-filled musical.

2018/19 Season

Tosca – an intense and dramatic new production from Opera North of this great favourite from Puccini.  First operatic outing of the 2018/19 season and a tremendous way to begin!

In sharp contrast to Tosca’s dark tragedy, a sparkling production of Lehar’s The Merry Widow. 

Back to Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre for a magical Midsummer Night’s Dream

Staying in Sheffield, unusually, for my next review.  This was an extraordinary event, a performance of Terry Riley’s minimalist classic, In C, in the University’s Arts Tower, making use of the famous paternoster lifts!

UK premiere of Kevin Puts’ powerful evocation of the WWI Christmas truce, Silent Night in a concert staging at Leeds Town Hall.

Back to Leeds Grand for a captivating new production of Mozart’s Magic Flute.

Janacek’s dark and tragic Katya Kabanova broke our hearts.

An unusual double bill at Leeds Grand – Phoenix Dance Theatre’s performance of Rite of Spring, paired with Puccini’s cynical comic short, Gianni Schicchi.

And the final production of the 2018/19 season, a stunning concert staging of Verdi’s Aida.

2019/20 Season

A bold move for the 2019/20 season opener – Martinu’s 1957 opera The Greek Passion. A powerful and timely allegory.

A complete change of style – back to baroque for Handel’s take on the story of Caesar & Cleoopatra: Giulio Cesare.

Puccini favourite, La Boheme, in a revival of Phyllida Law’s 1993 production (last seen here in 2014).

Sadly, I was unable to go to the performances in January/February 2020 due to a family bereavement. And then, of course, the world changed. ON at Leeds Grand will return, along with live theatre and chamber music at the Crucible, and across the country and the world we will again enjoy the privilege of being there in person to share these wonderful experiences. Here’s hoping.

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