So, today (23rd July 2011) saw the first performance of Huddersfield Youth Opera‘s production of Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Mozart & Salieri” as part of Huddersfield Creative Arts Network‘s Art in Memorable Spaces initiative.
Scene 1 took place outside the impressive George Hotel
The small company did well to overcome the challenges of the outdoor conditions, not least the considerable gusts of wind.
For scene two, set in an inn, the cast and crew decamped appropriately to the opposite corner of the Square, outside the Head of Steam pub, where proceedings were enlivened by some audience participation courtesy of a Stag Party, who insisted on being photographed before the scene began
The Stag Party departed half way through the scene to catch a train, meaning the second half took place against a slightly quieter background.
The performance is repeated next Saturday, 30th July, at 2:30pm. It’s an opportunity to see some opera for free in an interesting setting, and not to be missed.
Tomorrow (Saturday July 23rd 2011) sees the first of two open air performances of a “Guerilla Opera” in the centre of Huddersfield. In partnership with the Huddersfield Creative Arts Network, Huddersfield Youth Opera will be performing Rimsky Korsakov’s “Mozart & Salieri” in St. George’s Square on successive Saturdays. In a first for the opera group, their small troupe will take to the flagstones outside Britain’s most attractive railway station at 2:30pm on both days.
I caught up with the Youth Opera’s General Director, David Heathcote, Director of the production, Janet Cowley, and cast members, David Fearn, who plays Mozart and Jamal Rahman who plays Salieri, to find out what it’s all about and why they are doing it.
I think this is a fantastic initiative, and applaud the group for making productive use of the expensively refurbished square which stands unused for most of the year, in between a few high profile, and well-attended, formal events. Perhaps even some casual passers-by will pay attention to the production and decide that opera is something they want to find out more about.
Here is a snippet of David and Jamal in rehearsal for the production.
Some of the costumes which will be on display on the two Saturdays are quite spectacular and a credit to the work of Huddersfield University students including Natalie Lawson and Emily Hargreaves
I very much hope that this initiative will lead to more regular use of the space that is St. George’s Square. The people of Huddersfield need to feel that it is their arena for them to make use of.