Now that Christmas and New Year are over and most of us are back at work I am sure that we would love something to look forward to to take our minds off a dull January and give a warm glow. What is this I see? Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No! It is the Orchestra of Opera North with Ben Palmer coming to save the day.


I use the film analogy on purpose as the programme being performed at Huddersfield Town Hall on Thursday 23rd January, 2020 comprises works written by the most celebrated composers of all time whose music has featured in films of 20th Century.


The first piece is by Steiner who wrote the music for the classic Bogart and Bergman film, Casablanca and this eight minute work takes us from the peril of wartime Morocco to the romance of As Time Goes By. You played it for her, you can play it for me. Play it Ben!


There then follows Korngold’s Violin Concerto in D which starts with intense romantic beauty and works up to a blockbuster finale. Korngold lived in exile in Hollywood and vowed only to write music for films while Hitler was in power.


Next is the Winter Bonfire Suite by Prokofiev. Unlike Korngold and Stravinsky, who composed the final piece of the evening, Prokofiev moved in the opposite direction from San Francisco to Russia in 1936. 


The programme ends with The Firebird by Stravinsky, who, like Korngold found himself exiled in Hollywood. Walt Disney was obviously a big Stravinsky fan as his Rite of Spring was featured in the original Fantasia film of 1940 and The Firebird in Fantasia 2000.

Ben Palmer photograph by Andy Staples


Ben Palmer said ‘When Opera North invited me to put together a programme for Kirklees Concert Season I immediately thought of Stravinsky’s ballet score, The Firebird. It’s one of my favourite pieces, and its triumphant ending, with blazing brass chords and white-hot triangle roll, never fails to bring the house down.’


He also said how much he had been wanting to work with Kristïne Balanas, ‘an astonishing young Latvian violinist, who came to my attention a couple of years ago, when I saw her performing the Korngold concerto, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity.’

Kristïne Balanas photo Aiga Ozolina


As Mr Palmer is Chief Conductor of the Deutsche Philharmonie Merck in Darmstadt and Founder and Artistic Director of Covent Garden Sinfonia as well as being one of the world’s leading conductors of live music soundtracks, I am sure that the evening will be something very special. 


So, if you are thoroughly sick of turkey and stuffing rolls, why not get along to Huddersfield Town Hall on Thursday 23rd January and sample one of Ben Palmer’s white-hot triangle rolls. Could be the trend for 2020. 


Here’s looking at you, kid.


Ticket prices are £13-£27 for Adults, Concessions £11-£24. Under 30s pay £4 and under 16s only £1


For full details and bookings please go to:


https://www.operanorth.co.uk/whats-on/the-firebird/


Feature photograph Jochen Kratschmer

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