Un Ballo in Maschera

Back in Leeds for another Opera North production. The Guardian critic thought rather poorly of it; he obviously knows far more than me, but that’s to my advantage here because I loved it and was ignorant of its flaws.

The subject is the assassination of King Gustav of Sweden in 1792, but it was played in mid-twentieth-century lounge suits with some Nazi/Fascist/Stasi overtones (military caps and tubular steel chairs with handcuffs), which initially jarred with the intermittently jaunty music (cue Oscar). On reflection, I thought that captured the ambiguity of Gustavo: the enlightened despot loved by his subjects but with blood on his hands from wars and suppression. It also reminds us that this is a world where it’s OK to kill your wife because you think she’s unfaithful. The world in the opera is definitely not a Safe Space.

Poor Amelia suffered throughout while singing heart-rendingly. Oscar was like a sprite – s/he was of a different world entirely.

  • Gustavo – Rafael Rojas
  • Amelia – Adrienn Miksch
  • Anckarström – Phillip Rhodes
  • Oscar – Tereza Gevorgyan
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