I have never been to the opera. The only time I listen to opera is on TV or on radio. And most of it seems to be in Italian.
So when the invitation came to visit The Lowry to watch a performance of The Snow Maiden, I was both intrigued and petrified in equal measures. Intrigue won and I am glad it did.
Opera North have reworked Rimsky-Korsakov’s classic fairytale, The Snow Maiden, and modernised it while maintaining the ethos of the original. And of course, we see the English translation of the production.
The Snow Maiden is the story of a snow princess, the love-child of Frost and Spring, and her struggle to experience love, passion and human longing. She defies her father’s orders and is willing to sacrifice her life in search of desire.
Although a tragedy in essence, the story reflects on the inevitability of the changing seasons. Spring will follow Winter, snow will melt under the warmth of the sun and life will carry on.
As I mentioned, I had no idea what to expect in an opera. So it was wonderful to find screens on either side of the stage projecting the words that were being spoken on stage. I should say sung rather than spoken, for that is what an opera is all about. Story-telling through verse and music.
The cast was magnificent. It was truly moving to hear some incredible voices reverberate through the theatre. It is no mean feat to memorise not just words but also notes, and to deliver a pitch-perfect performance packed with emotion for nearly 3 hours. I can only marvel at the effort that must go into becoming an opera singer.
The orchestra were exceptional. There were some truly beautiful and moving pieces played to perfection.
The modernisation came in the form of exquisite imagery that brought traditional Russian landscapes to life with the clever use of video and graphics.
I thoroughly enjoyed my outing to the opera and can only hope this was the first of many.
Why not check The Lowry website for all their performance listings?
Disclosure: I was given press passes to attend a showing of this performance in exchange for the review. All opinions are my own. Images copyright The Lowry.