Our Autumn season of short operas with huge emotions isn't far away. Here, some of the season's cast and creative team introduce The Little Greats, and tell us why those less familiar with the art form should start right here.
The Little Greats are presented in a mix-and-match format in Leeds, and are locked into double bills on tour. In Leeds, those new to opera can book a ticket for just £10!
"I think The Little Greats are a perfect introduction to opera. First of all, they are SHORT. Opera is intense, and if you have not been before some operas seem to spin out a story in incomprehensible long ways, but none of these do. Next, there is such variety in the world of opera and these six could not be more varied. There is something for everyone, from the really experimental work of Janáček to the fun and funny Gilbert and Sullivan the stylish, jazzy Bernstein to the marvellous full on emotion of Italian opera in Pagliacci and Cavalleria rusticana, not forgetting the magical world of Ravel's L’enfant et les sortilèges.
This season is not about big sets and costumes. It is about telling a story with music and moving our audience to tears, and laughter!"
"The season is like tapas. You get to try all sorts of things and find what you like and what is for you."
— Jeremy Peaker, The Learned Judge Trial by Jury
"Opera affects the guts. If you get it right, there’s a visceral reaction that you can’t get anywhere else in any other way."
"I think the idea of presenting little appetizer-size operas is genius. I love the idea that you can mix and match them (in Leeds), so people can really tailor their experience."
"The season really shows the variety of opera, but also, a short burst of high emotion and high drama has a great impact!"
"We chose pieces which embrace the familiar and the unexpected, with an eye to variety, and introducing three pieces which the company has never staged. Although the operas are all very different, there are themes which strangely echo between them. It's interesting finding parallels between the pieces and there are times when the designs reflect these. Though I am working with five different directors, it's apparent that the design has developed a series of, if you like, recurrent spatial 'leitmotifs'."
— Charles Edwards, Director Pagliacci and Set Designer for The Little Greats
"Being very short operas, you can dip your toe in and try one out in no more than the length of a lunch break! The different pieces also showcase the different things that opera can be. Opera can be silly, emotional, funny. And if you see all six, you will get a real overview of the diversity of the art form."
Photography by Richard Moran | Artwork © Opera North 2017.