Hello! It’s me again, Charlie (from Marketing). Told you I’d be back, didn’t I!
So, lots has been going on since my last post in the way of sifting through the new season’s brochure, sorting which super-duper deals we can spring on you this, well, Spring! We’ve got a great variety of genres available to Under 26 members, including lots of dance, enthralling drama, and riveting opera. Check out the huge range of deals we’re offering anyone aged from 16 – 25 here.
For now though, let me take you on a brief journey into the land of Opera North who are back in March, ready to change your opinion of opera forever.
Opera is often misunderstood (poor opera) as being a fancy genre reserved only for the old and wealthy, but Opera North are here to disprove this with three fantastic performances beginning with ‘Madama Butterfly’ (one of the most popular operas in the world) on Tue 6 March. We’ve also arranged an incredible VIP experience for all Under 26 scheme members to come along to on opening night, and for no extra cost! This gives you the chance to dress up in your best outfit if you wish, get a free drink, and get your photo taken (fun photo props are provided too) – all for just £10.
‘Madama Butterfly’: explained
‘Madama Butterfly’ tells the heart-breaking story of innocent love crushed amidst two utterly different cultures. Expect extraordinary talent and stunning costumes and set. Witness the tale of a young Japanese woman who sacrifices everything to marry a U.S. Naval Officer, only to be cruelly discarded when he returns to his ‘real’ life in America. You can expect an exciting fusion of East and West in music style, costume, and set design.
In Nagasaki, Japan, Lieutenant Pinkerton of the US Navy is purchasing a house which comes with a bride – the young geisha girl Cio-Cio-San. This is a conveniently non-committal arrangement for him as, according to Japanese law, a marriage is declared over if the husband has been absent for more than a month.
At the wedding, the high priest denounces Cio-Cio-San for converting to Christianity in order to marry Pinkerton, and her family and friends follow suit and turn against her, but Butterfly – naïve and deeply in love – is content with her new husband and new life.
Three years later, Pinkerton has long since vanished, and Cio-Cio-San, her young son and loyal servant Suzuki are living in poverty. She is utterly convinced that he will return – and at long last, he does, but with a new American wife and devastating consequences…
Listen to ‘Madama Butterfly”s big hit ‘Un bel di’ (‘One fine day’) here to get a flavour of what to expect.
Like the sound of it so far?
If you’re interested in giving opera a try but worrying about what to wear, please don’t. Despite the common myth, there is absolutely no strict dress code, so you’re welcome to come along in jeans and trainers if that’s what you feel most comfortable in.
If you’re worried about not being able to understand, again you’ll have nothing to worry about. Although the performance will be sung in Italian, there’ll be screens with English translations to the side of the stage.
Fun fact: this opera – composed by Giacomo Puccini in 1904 – influenced the incredibly successful West End and Broadway musical ‘Miss Saigon’, which premiered in the late 1980s and is still performed today!
Opera for days (literally)…
As well as Madama Butterfly, Opera North brings ‘Don Giovanni’ on Wed 7 & Fri 9 March, and ‘Un ballo in maschera’ on Sat 10 March. Delve into the comical yet dramatic tale of the hedonistic ‘Don Giovanni’, or follow the tale of power, passion and political plotting in the love-triangle that is ‘Un Ballo in Maschera’, an intense opera inspired by the real-life assassination of King Gustavus of Sweden in 1792.
If you’ve never been to opera before, this is the perfect opportunity for you to step out of your comfort zone and try something new. You never know, you might find a new hobby. Be brave – give it a go!
Opera North come to The Lowry Tue 6 – Sat 10 Mar. For more information on Under 26 tickets visit the website or call box office on 0843 208 6000.