A full-scale dramatic concert performance of Puccini’s Turandot by Opera North, which includes the famous Nessun Dorma, will be performed at Hull City Hall on May 9.
Instantly recognisable, the aria, which is often associated with Luciano Pavarotti and featured on the BBC’s Italia 90 FIFA World Cup coverage, is just one highlight of this extraordinary opera, which features a hugely powerful orchestra of more than 90 musicians, and a chorus of 55, as well as a cast of top international singers.
It tells the story of Princess Turandot who decrees that she will marry the prince who can solve three riddles.
Those who fail are put to death. Many accept the challenge, none survive.
But when Prince Calaf arrives at the palace, so dazzled is he by Turandot’s beauty that he is determined to have her, despite the pleas of the slave girl Liù, who is secretly and selflessly in love with him.
The opera will be conducted by Sir Richard Armstrong, replacing Aleksandar Markovic.
Sir Armstrong was Music Director of Scottish Opera from 1993–2005 and Welsh National Opera from 1973–1986.
He has conducted regularly at Covent Garden and English National Opera and overseas engagements have taken him to Frankfurt, Geneva, Paris, Munich, Berlin, Amsterdam, Rome, Brussels, Los Angeles, Toronto, Tokyo and Sydney.
He conducts a broad operatic repertoire centred around the works of Verdi, Wagner, Strauss and Janáček. He has conducted regularly at the Edinburgh International Festival (including the highly-acclaimed Ring Cycles in 2003), as well as appearing at the BBC Proms and the Vienna Festival
With the Orchestra of Opera North taking centre stage, this new concert staging of Turandot is directed by Annabel Arden, co-founder of the renowned theatre company Complicité, who last worked with Opera North in 2016 on the award-winning production of Andrea Chénier.
Set and costumes by Joanna Parker complement and enhance the concert performance, which will be sung in Italian with an English translation appearing on screens beside the stage.
Mexican tenor Rafael Rojas returns to Opera North to sing the role of Calaf, following his unforgettable performance in the title role of Andrea Chénier last year.
Irish soprano Orla Boylan sings Turandot, while Liù is sung by South Korean soprano Sunyoung Seo, making her Opera North and UK debut.
This brand new production of Turandot also marks Opera North’s return to Hull’s major stages after more than a decade. It will be followed by The Little Greats, a series of one-act operas which arrives at Hull City Hall’s sister venue, Hull New Theatre, in October.
There will be three evening performances offering double-bills of short operas as well as a Saturday matinee of a single work.
The five operas to be performed are Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci, Mascagni’s Cavalleria rusticana, Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortilèges, Gilbert and Sullivan’s Trial by Jury, and Leonard Bernstein’s Trouble in Tahiti.
Tickets for Opera North’s Turandot at Hull City Hall on Tuesday, May 9 are from £18.
Tickets for Opera North’s The Little Greats at Hull New Theatre from October 26 to 28 are from £15.