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Welsh National Opera Spring Season With Lesley Garrett - Birmingham Hippodrome

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by Alison Brinkworth (subscribe)
Freelance journalist in Birmingham with a passion for the dynamic theatre, art, food and fashion scene in Britain's 'Second City'.
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Spellbinding Season Features Magic Flute and Hansel & Gretel
Opera diva Lesley Garrett leads the Spring Season by the Welsh National Opera (WNO) starring in Chorus! at Birmingham Hippodrome.

Lesley Garrett1
Opera soprano Lesley Garrett headlines the Welsh National Opera Spring Season, performing in Chorus!


It's a season of enchantment and delight as the WNO put on three productions centred around the theme of Spellbound - to highlight the natural affinity between music and magic.

There is a new production Chorus!, plus revivals of Mozart's popular opera The Magic Flute and Humperdinck's Hansel & Gretel. The trio are performed at Birmingham Hippodrome between March 4 and March 7.

Director David Pountney is behind the first of the trio - Chorus! - featuring soprano Lesley Garrett, who will perform alongside the WNO Chorus on Wednesday March 4.

It is described as being "an enchanting, witty and spectacular journey through the rich repertoire of choral music and a chance to experience some of opera's best-loved moments". It offers a good opportunity for newcomers to opera to sample a flavour of the genre, while giving hardcore fans a chance to hear some of their favourite arias.

Chorus! includes opera classics such as the 'Humming Chorus' from Puccini's Madama Butterfly and 'Va Pensiero' from Verdi's Nabucco.There will also be the Epigraph from Prokofiev's War and Peace and 'Alabama Song' from Weill's Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny. Two pieces from Gilbert and Sullivan's The Pirates of Penzance will also feature: 'A Policeman's Lot' and 'With Cat-like Tread'.

The second opera being performed is The Magic Flute on two nights - March 5 and March 6. This is one of Mozart's most popular and famous operas, and due to its popularity, the show will also return to Birmingham Hippodrome again in June for the WNO's summer season (performed on June 10 and 12).

Welsh National Opera Magic
The Magic Flute is a Mozart comedy opera coming to Birmingham Hippodrome


It's a fantastical tale of a hero set challenges by the Queen of the Night in order to gain the hand in marriage of the woman he loves.

This is a revival of the WNO's Magritte-inspired production featuring an angry lobster, a newspaper-reading lion and a fish that is transformed into a bicycle.

The Magic Flute will feature a double cast with Allan Clayton and Benjamin Hulett sharing the role of Tamino and Sophie Bevan and Anita Watson sharing the role of Pamina. South African-born baritone Jacques Imbrailo will sing the role of Papageno, and Samantha Hay will sing the Queen of the Night.

It's an easy to follow opera with some wonderfully melodic tunes that will ring a bell with most people, while vivid bright costumes make it a feast for the eyes.

Welsh National Opera Hansel
Vibrant scenes in Hansel & Gretel by the Welsh National Opera


Finally, Hansel & Gretel, by composer Humperdinck, will be aired on Saturday March 7, taking the audience into the dark world of fairytale, magic and witches. Ailish Tynan will sing Gretel and Jurgita Adamonyte will sing Hansel, while Adrian Thompson, who sang in Boulevard Solitude in Spring 2013, takes on the role of The Witch.

Describing the Spring season, WNO Chief Executive and Artistic Director David Pountney says: "Enchantment is a feeling that awakens the child in all of us. Our production of Chorus! is like one of those walks in the woods that are the common fare of fairy tales: where will it lead - is there a happy ending, or indeed an ending at all?"

He adds: "It is in fact a kind of mystery tour in the company of 40 of our best and finest singers - so whatever the ending means, you can be sure it will be a rousing one!"

Welsh National Opera Magic
The Magic Flute features colourful characters and costumes.


David explains: "The Magic Flute and Hansel and Gretel, like all good fairy tales, have a serious point to make, and show a young couple learning how to read and understand the good and the bad that is in the world, emerging stronger and ready for a better future."

Welsh National Opera Spring Season 2015
Birmingham Hippodrome
March 4 - 7, 2015

Tickets cost from 16 to 49 by calling 0844 338 5000 or visiting the Birmingham Hippodrome website.

Chorus
March 4

The Magic Flute
March 5 - 6
(Summer Season June 10 and 12)

Hansel & Gretel
March 7
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Why? Trio of vibrant operas with a Spellbound theme
When: March 4 - 7
Phone: 0844 338 5000
Where: Birmingham Hippodrome
Cost: From 16
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