Garrett returns in starring role

Lesley Garrett in Opera North's La Voix Humaine
Lesley Garrett in Opera North's La Voix Humaine

Jealousy, betrayal and heartbreak are on the musical menu when Opera North make their eagerly-awaited return to Nottingham’s Theatre Royal from March 19-23.

Four new productions explore the extremes that people are driven to by the darker side of love.

The season begins with Verdi’s Otello, an extraordinarily powerful Shakespeare play transformed into one of the jewels of Italian opera.

The dynamics of power, gender politics and passion, which simmer so close to Otello’s surface, also provide a strong undercurrent in Mozart’s La clemenza di Tito. Contemporary resonances emerge in this new production directed by John Fulljames, in which the nature of political leadership, and the true cost of power and desire are key questions. The production features Annemarie Kremer, who received widespread accolades for her performance in the title role of Norma (2012), which has just won a TMA award, re-joining Opera North in the pivotal and magnetic role of Vitellia.

This season also sees the return of Lesley Garrett to the operatic stage after an absence of more than six years. She performs the role of Elle in Poulenc’s La voix humaine, paired here in a double-bill with a new production of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas.

Otello can be seen at the venue on March 20 and 23. Celebrating the 200th anniversary of Verdi’s birth, one of the crowning glories of Italian opera enters Opera North’s repertoire for the first time. Music director Richard Farnes conducts Verdi’s masterpiece in a highly dramatic new production directed by Tim Albery (Madama Butterfly, Giulio Cesare) and designed by Leslie Travers.

Mozart’s La Clemenza Di Tito, which can be seen on March 21, sees John Fulljames, associate director of opera at the Royal Opera House, direct Opera North’s first production of Mozart’s late opera seria. Composed in the last months of the composer’s life, during the same period as The Magic Flute, it is now performed in the theatre comparatively rarely.

The double bill of La Voix Humaine and Dido And Aeneas can be seen on March 19 and 22.

These are two great operatic works composed nearly 300 years apart, through which echo universal themes of love, heartbreak and abandonment.

La voix humaine sees Lesley Garrett makes her return to the operatic stage as Elle. Based on the play by Jean Cocteau, this intimate one-woman show follows one side of the final phone conversation between two former lovers.

Dido and Aeneas stood unchallenged as the pinnacle of English opera for three centuries and still features one of the most beautiful arias in all opera in the great lament When I am laid in Earth. Mezzo soprano Pamela Helen Stephen, recently seen at Opera North in the title role of Giulio Cesare (2012), leads the cast as Dido.

Celebrated director Aletta Collins returns to Opera North to bring these two productions to the stage.

Tickets are available from the box office on 0115 9895555.