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Opera North: Gianni Schicchi/Rite of Spring

Theatre Royal & Royal Concert Hall, Theatre Square, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, NG1 5ND
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Friday 22 Mar 2019
Theatre Royal
Tickets: From £15 - £62

For the first time, Opera North collaborates with Leeds-based, internationally-renowned Phoenix Dance Theatre. Together they present Stravinsky's groundbreaking ballet The Rite of Spring, along with Puccini's Gianni Schicci in a double bill offering two very different reflections on the decline of the old order and the beginning of the new:


The premiere of The Rite of Spring in Paris on 29 May 1913 was a succès de scandale. Structured in two parts, 'The Adoration of the Earth' and 'The Sacrifice', the ballet draws on Russian folklore to conjure up a world of primitive religious ceremony, ancestor worship and ritual sacrifice. Whereas conventional ballet aspired to free dancers from gravity, Nijinsky's choreography and Stravinsky's music rooted them in the earth. Stravinsky wedded the shifting metres of Russian folk music to a modernist harmonic language, with stamping bass-lines and off-the-beat accents generating a pulverizing rhythmic energy.

Running time approximately 40 minutes
Co-production with Phoenix Dance Theatre


Gianni Schicchi is a bitterly sardonic comedy played out around the death-bed of a rich man. The scheming relatives who vie for a chunk of his fortune are all too recognisable types, revealing the greed and avarice which lie just below the thin veneer of their family loyalties.

Puccini's only outright comedy is based on an episode in Dante's Inferno, and Christopher Alden's wickedly satirical production frames the action in the early Renaissance, when medieval cobwebs were blown away by radically new ways of thinking. At the same time, the chic modern Italian costumes are a sly nod in the direction of the ageless themes which Puccini exploits to brilliantly farcical effect – after all, those scheming relatives may bear an uncanny resemblance to our own family members!

With its vivid characterisation and the spontaneity of its musical invention, Gianni Schicchi is a comic masterpiece in miniature, and features one of Puccini's best-loved arias, 'O mio babbino caro'.

Running time approximately 1 hour
Sung in Italian with English titles

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