The Little Greats expected to have a big impact

Opera North, an innovative regional company based in Leeds, UK, will pack a punch this autumn with a festival promising “intensity … like no other”. The Little Greats season will present six new productions of short operas bursting with passion in easy to manage hour-long formats.

The pocket-friendly operas will be an aural travelogue of historical and geographical moments, sweeping scenes from Italian classics to American jazz, Hollywood and musical theatre fusions. The programme features Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci, conducted by Tobias Ringborg and directed by Charles Edwards; Mascagni’s Cavalleria rusticana, conducted by Ringborg and directed by Karolina Sofulak; Gilbert and Sullivan’s operetta Trial by Jury, featuring a cast entirely comprised of Chorus of Opera North, conducted by Opera North’s chorus master Oliver Rundell and directed by John Savournin.

Dean Robinson from the Chorus of Opera North who sings Konečký in Osud © Richard Moran
Dean Robinson from the Chorus of Opera North who sings Konečký in Osud © Richard Moran

Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortilèges will be conducted by Martin André and directed by Annabel Arden, the pair will also tackle Janáček’s Osud (destiny). The show-stealer for the series is a centenary celebratory production of Bernstein’s 1950s American satire Trouble in Tahiti, directed by Matthew Eberhardt and conducted by Ringborg.

Annabel Arden, director, L’enfant et les sortilèges and Osud, said: “The Little Greats aren’t stuffy or about big sets and costumes; what they are about is telling a story with music and moving our audience to tears — and laughter.”

The six operas will be sold on a mix-and-match basis at the festival in Leeds, with ever-changing double-bill pairings elsewhere. The idea is to give new audiences the opportunity to find their feet in the genre, with newcomers able to plot their own journey through the greats with £10 tickets, made possible by the Opera North Future Fund. Following its Leeds run, The Little Greats will move on to Hull, Nottingham, Newcastle and Salford.

Leeds Grand Theatre: 16 – 21 October
Hull New Theatre: 26 – 28 October
Theatre Royal Nottingham: 1 – 4 November
Theatre Royal Newcastle: 8 – 11 November
The Lowry, Salford Quays: 15 – 18 November