To help us through Lockdown 2.0 and beyond, Opera North are live-streaming a couple of major productions which have been stymied by the situation. They have also announced that one of the major events planned for next year has had to be postponed.

First, the good news. On Saturday, 21st November there will be a performance of Kurt Weill’s Seven Deadly Sins which will be streamed live straight into your living room, or wherever else you watch on-line content. Your personal habits are your own affair! It is described as ‘a ballet with singing’, the text being by Bertolt Brecht. I can’t help wondering why it is not an opera with dancing, but that’s just how my mind works.

The story is that of Anna and Anna – one person with two personalities – who is sent away for seven years to make money for their family. They journey between seven cities from Philadelphia to San Francisco and encounter sloth, pride, wrath, gluttony, lust, greed and envy. Sounds like a normal Saturday evening chez Graham.

Wallis Giunta and Shelley Eva Haden as the two Annas. Photograph by Tristram Kenton

This is a new arrangement for fifteen players by H K Gruber and Christian Muthspeil and is performed in English from the translation by Michael Feingold. It is choreographed by Gary Clarke with Wallis Giunta and Shelley Eva Haden as the two Annas. The orchestra is conducted by James Holmes.

The live performance begins at 6.00pm but will also be available on demand for the following 48 hours. The running, or should that be singing and dancing, time is approximately 40 minutes and the price is £10.

Next up is a performance of Fidelio, Beethoven’s only opera. This will be streamed live on Saturday, 12th December at 7.00pm and on demand for a further seven days. It will be conducted by Mark Wigglesworth and directed by Matthew Eberhardt.

Fidelio is actually Leonore, a noblewoman disguised as a man, in search of her husband Florestan who has been imprisoned by his political opponent, Don Pizarro. She gets a job as a prison guard and risks everything to save her husband’s life. Well, that is a change from Strictly on a Saturday night then.

The cast of internationally renown singers includes Rachel Nicholls, Toby Spence, Robert Hayward and Brindley Sherratt. There will also be a 24-strong chorus and a 33-piece orchestra. The performance lasts 1 hour and 45 minutes and costs £15.

The tour of Whistle Stop Opera: Cinderella is being rescheduled for live performances in 2021. There are plans to film the production and make it available on-line, free of charge during December, giving schools and families an alternative to the pantomimes which have fallen victim to Lockdown this year.

Finally, to the bad news. Because of its scale, the planned staging of Parsifal in May/June 2021 has had to be postponed to a future year. Something to look forward to.

To book for the above live streams please go to and follow the links.

It is tragic that we can’t witness the above productions ‘in the flesh’ but I would like to thank Opera North for giving us this opportunity to experience remote live performances to fill the void.

Feature photograph by Tristram Kenton

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