I have to say, so far Leeds Playhouse’s 2020 season doesn’t really appeal to me. It’s very quirky and classical – I was hoping it may take a more York Theatre Royal programming approach but it seems to be going in a totally different direction.
Now, Leeds Playhouse and Opera North are collaborating on a new roduction of Stephen Sondheim’s exquisitely acerbic A Little Night Music.
Leeds Playhouse’s Artistic Director James Brining will direct the show having previously directed Into the Woods and Magic Flute for Opera North. I didn’t hate Magic Flute, but I didn’t exactly love it either.
Soprano Stephanie Corley and Dutch baritone Quirijn de Lang – last seen together as Fred and Lilli in Opera North’s Kiss Me, Kate – will play the roles of Desiree Armfeldt and Frederik Egerman, the former lovers whose chance meeting sparks a game of romantic musical chairs.
The Company’s former Head of Music James Holmes conducts. He conducted Carousel, which I properly hated, so all in all I think this is a production for me to stay well away from.
Memorably described by its first director as “whipped cream with knives”, A Little Night Music is based on Ingmar Bergman’s 1955 film Smiles of a Summer Night. Probably best known for the song Send in the Clowns, though I haven’t really heard much about the musical and haven’t ever seen it performed.
James Brining, Artistic Director, Leeds Playhouse, comments: “When we collaborated with Opera North for Into The Woods it was a fantastic opportunity to show how the two organisations can not only produce an incredible piece of theatre but learn from each other. Working with the chorus of Opera North allows us to expand on the repertoire of musicals we stage here in Leeds and it is brilliant to be building on that partnership once again for A Little Night Music. Sondheim’s musical is one which looks at those big emotions we all can identify with whether that be socially or emotionally through the sacrifices we make and the path we choose.”
Richard Mantle, General Director, Opera North, comments: “Following the success of Into the Woods I am delighted that Opera North and Leeds Playhouse will come together for our second large scale collaboration, on another superb Sondheim musical.”