Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting WONEWS to 80360, or email
Broadway’s ‘golden era’ comes alive with inspiring production
11:30am Friday 11th May 2012 in Leisure
Opera North’s new production of the famously weepy musical, Carousel, is a resounding triumph.
Director Jo Davis has drained away some of the schmaltz by bringing the action forward to the 1920s. There’s an abundance of movement and energy from the entire company; the vigorous choreography during the Prologue and Carousel Waltz effectively sets the scene while the act two Ballet Scene has a haunting, dreamlike quality. Bruno Poet’s subdued and gentle lighting of the spectacular revolving set reflects both the joys and the sombre depths of Carousel.
An accomplished cast is led by American baritone Eric Greene as Billy Bigelow. Green’s performance of Billy’s eight-minute long ‘soliloquy’ is superbly projected without being over-sentimental and you can sense the physical chemistry between him and Gillene Herbert’s Julie Jordan. Julie and Billy’s sustained and beautiful If I Loved You sequence is a ravishing orchestral and vocal highlight. There’s some comic relief from Claire Boulter as the skittish Carrie Pipperidge with Joseph Shovelton as the punctilious Enoch Snow. Elena Ferrari plays Nettie Fowler; her performance of You’ll Never Walk Alone will melt the hardest of hearts. James Holmes conducts the Orchestra of Opera North with an obvious passion. His orchestra gives an added gloss to every detail. Those glittery harp textures, muted horns, pungent woodwind and lush strings – I felt I was hearing it all for the first time. The 30 members of Opera North’s chorus trained by Timothy Burke look as good as they sound and sing their socks off in the big numbers like June is Bustin’ Out All Over and, of course, the reprise of You’ll Never Walk Alone. Is Carousel one of the greatest of ‘golden era’ Broadway musicals? On the evidence of this terrific production, absolutely! Carousel continues at Leeds Grand until May 19.