The fabulous folks at Opera North kindly invited me to review their new show, a double bill of the operas La Vida Breve and Gianni Schicchi but unfortunately, my kids still weren’t 100% after all the bugs we’ve been enduring, so I had to trade tenors for Calpol and my parents headed to the opera instead of me (the perks of being the parents of a blogger huh!)

I was really disappointed to miss the production, I’m besotted with the opera (it truly nourishes the soul), so the idea of two outstanding pieces performed back to back was classical music to my ears. And the feedback from my mum was that it really didn’t disappoint!

My Mum’s also a big opera fan and has been attending since her teens, but this was first time she’d seen either of these shows and also the first time she’d seen a Spanish Opera (she loved the flamenco music throughout) and it played to an absolutely full to the brim, packed house.

LA VIDA BREVE_OPERA

Photo credit: Bill Cooper

The first show in the double bill was La Vida Breve, which is an all encompassing tragedy of a woman who loves a worthless man (we’ve all made that mistake at some point!) set in a Spanish clothing factory at the beginning of the century.

My mum reports that the performances are utterly spellbinding throughout with the lead’s performance –  the French Soprano, Ann Sophie Duprels –  particularly powerful.

LA VIDA BREVE_OPERA NORTH, Salud; Anne-Sophie Duprels, La abuela; Elizabeth Sikora, Carmela; Beth Mackay, Paco; Jesús Álvarez, Manuel; Gavan Ring, Uncle Salvador; Brian Bannatyne_Scott, Singer; Quirijn de Lang,

Photo credit: Bill Cooper

As you can see from the photos, La vida breve is a tragic, violent and emotive opera that won’t fail to move you.

The second show, Gianni Schicchi, in contrast is a light hearted, witty comedy by Giacomo Puccini and a welcome antidote to the earlier tragedy.

 Gianni Schicchi

Photo credit: Bill Cooper

Set in Florence, the opera takes place in the bedchamber of Buoso Donati, a wealthy aristocrat who has recently passed away.

It is a classic comedy of errors and upon hearing that Donati has left his fortune to the nearby monastery, his family descend into chaos, farce and much hilarity to try and recoup his money for themselves!

GIANNI SCHICCHI _OPERA NORTH, Gianni Schicchi; Christopher Purves, Lauretta; Jennifer France, Rinuccio; Jesús Álvarez, Nella; Victoria Sharp, La Ciesca; Claire Pascoe, Zita; Elizabeth Sikora, Gherardo; Daniel Norman, Marco; Peter Savidge, Ser Amantio d

Photo credit: Bill Cooper

As with all Opera North productions, both the costumes and set design were captivating and I for one, cannot wait for our house to be rid of illness so I can view this masterpiece for myself.

Opera North’s La Vida Breve and Gianni Schicchi is showing at The Grand in Leeds on 20th, 25th and 28th February.

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