A welcome return for an award winning production, a rare performance of a teenager’s work and a sad farewell to an old friend – WNO Summer Season at the Birmingham Hippodrome runs from May 27.
For instance there’s play your cards right: The Queen of Spades. Following the first performances of this production in 2000, this multi award-winning version of Tchaikovsky’s opera based on the Pushkin novella, has been seen and critically acclaimed across the world.
With stunning designs by John Macfarlane, this summer sees its first revival in Wales and Birmingham. Alexander Polianichko conducts a strong cast: Misha Didyk as Herman, Tatiana Monogarova as Lisa, Ann Murray the Countess, Dario Solari as Prince Yeletsky and Tomas Tomasson as Count Tomsky.
Then there’s the final curtain: La bohème. The tragic tale of Parisian love sees Rebecca Evans return to sing Mimi in the last performances of this much-loved production.
The show was first premiered in Cardiff in 1984 and this final revival sees the return of Jason Howard as Marcello, Gwyn Hughes Jones as Rodolfo and David Soar as Colline.
Over 25 years this version of Puccini’s classic story has seen members of the cast fall in love and marry, the set cut in two and flown to Hong Kong, and the appearance of some cast members in every production. A new production is due to be announced shortly.
There will also be a matinee performance of La bohème on Saturday May 30 at the Hippodrome.
At this performance tenor Adriano Graziani will be Rodolfo, his first major role for the company after making worldwide headlines when he stepped in at the last minute to sing in a concert for WNO Friends. Naomi Harvey will sing Mimi and Jason Howard will be Marcello. This performance will be audio described.
Finally there’s the crowning glory: Mitridate, rè di Ponto. WNO’s conductor Emeritus and former music director Sir Charles Mackerras returns to conduct this concert performance of Mozart’s rarely performed work, composed when he was just 14.
Alongside WNO Chorus will be Bruce Ford as Mitridate, former WNO associate artist Joanne Boag as Arbate, Emma Bell as Sifare, Emma Matthews as Aspasia and Marianna Pizzolato as Farnace. This production of Mitridate, rè di Ponto will be premiered at the Birmingham Hippodrome on Wednesday, May 27.
Behind the scenes, there will be a free Explore Opera event at the Hippodrome between 10am – 12 noon on Saturday, May 30. This is an introduction to those who may not have been to an opera before or who want to know more about the characters, story and hear some of the music from La boheme.
To book tickets visit www.birminghamhippodrome.com or call 0844 338 5000.