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Review: Opera North “Tosca” at Hull New Theatre

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Opera North made a triumphant return to Hull New Theatre last evening with Puccini’s classic opera, “Tosca,” a tale filled with passion, seduction, betrayal, deception, torment, and demise that captivated the enthusiastic audience throughout the night. This excellent three-act production featured exceptional singers who performed with conviction and finesse.

On either side of the stage, screens displayed translations of the on-stage lyrics, enabling the audience to easily follow along without missing any action. Remarkably, the opera’s storyline unfolds within a 16-hour timeframe, although the performance itself spans a duration of 2 hours and 40 minutes.

The stage design featured an exquisite domed ceiling that represented a church, with a partially painted scene being completed on the stage floor. Coupled with dramatic lighting and votive candles, this atmospheric setting transported the audience to an Italian house of worship.

Throughout the three acts, the enthralling narrative, powerful singing, and magnificent orchestra kept the audience spellbound as the complex plot unraveled. The performance seemed to fly by, culminating in a dramatic conclusion that elicited a standing ovation from the crowd. As the cast members took their bows, the story’s villains were met with boos and jeers, while Tosca and Mario received cheers and applause.

Opera North has skillfully modernized this production, incorporating contemporary sets, costumes, and the use of laptops and mobile phones as props. This approach effectively dispelled the notion that opera is solely for the elite. The diverse audience, ranging from seniors to younger individuals and attire varying from sequined evening wear to casual jeans and t-shirts, demonstrated the opera’s broad appeal. However, due to the nature of the story, children were not in attendance. As the audience exited the theater, many could be heard expressing their enjoyment of the production.

“Tosca” will only be performed for one night, but on Friday, March 31st, Opera North will present “The Cunning Little Vixen” for a single evening. Tickets start at just £17.50.

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