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Opera North's new Music Director, Aleksandar Markovic, opens 2016/17 Season


Autumn arrives at Opera North with a revival of Strauss’s comic masterpiece Der Rosenkavalier before heading into darker territory with two of Puccini’s compelling one-act operas, Il tabarro and Suor Angelica, followed by a new production of Britten’s rarely performed masterpiece, Billy Budd.


Der Rosenkavalier pits the intensity and eagerness of romantic young love against the wisdom of age and experience. In this critically-acclaimed production, the action is played out in a richly imagined period setting which perfectly complements Strauss’s exquisite score. Conducting will be Aleksandar Markovic, who appears for the first time in his new role as Opera North’s Music Director.


Aleksandar Markovic, Music Director, Opera North,comments:

Der Rosenkavalier is arguably Strauss’s most popular masterpiece. Due to its perfect balance of humour, sweeping romanticism, brilliant scoring, an ingeniously witty text, and moments that are bluntly grotesque contrasted with those of the deepest sincerity, this opera offers such a wide spectrum of expression, seducing the audience with its irresistible charm and sensual appeal. Unfolding Rosenkavalier’s magic is a great challenge for everyone involved, but an even greater gratification!


A correspondingly intense exploration of love and its many manifestations can be found in Puccini’s Il tabarro and Suor Angelica. Originally seen as part of Opera North’s award-winning ‘Eight Little Greats’ season, Il tabarro tracks the rapid disintegration of a marriage into violence and despair as a chance sighting sets in action a sequence of disturbing events. It is left to the second offering in the double-bill, Michael Barker-Caven’s new production of Suor Angelica, to offer a glimpse of hope and redemption.


Equally thought-provoking in its exploration of human weakness is Britten’s Billy Budd, brought back to the Opera North stage for the first time in over twenty years in a brand new production. A tale of distrust and betrayal set on a naval ship, Britten’s haunting opera provides a penetrating insight into innocence versus evil and the corrosive nature of power.


Billy Budd director, Orpha Phelan, comments:

It’s not often one gets to work with the intensity of an all-male cast on arguably the greatest operatic work of the twentieth century. The power and force of Billy Budd will certainly leave us quaking in our boots. But while there’s lots of action, what attracts me more is the introspective nature of the opera. This is a memory piece - we are looking back on Vere’s ghosts as he himself approaches death.

As we embark on this journey with him, we come up against fascinating themes like impressment, flogging and homosexuality on a Man of War as well as many interesting religious parallels. For me, it’s more about the ‘what ifs’ and ‘why nots’. Could Vere have saved Billy? Why didn’t he? Charting Vere’s own personal psychological trauma should be as heart-breaking for us as losing our much loved Billy.”



Opera North’s Autumn 2016 season opens at Leeds Grand Theatre with Der Rosenkavalier on 17 September before all shows tour to Theatre Royal Newcastle, The Lowry Salford Quays, and Theatre Royal Nottingham. Billy Budd and the Puccini double-bill also tour to Edinburgh’s Festival Theatre.

• Tickets start from just £16.50
• £10 tickets available for members of Opera North’s Under 30s scheme
• Over 10,000 tickets are available at under £30 across the season

The tour is accompanied by a wide range of Opera North’s Education and community outreach activity in each city, from interactive workshops which introduce the story and characters of Billy Budd to community groups, to local schoolchildren taking part in a Singing Sea Shanties project alongside the Chorus of Opera North.


Der Rosenkavalier (2002) - credit Stephen Vaughan