Rich Pickings on Opera North’s The Seven Deadly Sins

Pic: Tristram Kenton

Opera North show themselves once more to be a jewel in Leeds’ cultural crown with a much-needed cultural delight in the midst of these difficult times. It benefits from the masterful direction and choreography by Gary Clarke that remains true to Brecht’s idea of epic theatre.

This is then further embellished by George Johnson-Leigh’s dramatic design which divides the set into seven boxes: one for each sin, city and year of the two Annas’ journey. And I absolutely loved the camp and decorous ostrich feathers!

Wallis Giunta is the spectacularly sonorous and sassy singer for Anna I while Shelley Eva Haden is extremely gymnastic and athletic as dancer Anna II. While the barber quartet/Greek chorus of Anna’s family with their harsh and hypocritical condemnation are truly terrific.

As ever the Orchestra of Opera North under the baton of James Holmes add extra depth and meaning with their inventive interpretation of Weill’s score for 15 musicians. And all of this under the strict rules of social distancing and absence of movable set too.

An absolutely classic performance and a panacea for our times being anti-authoritarian and anti-materialist.

Reviewed online from the Leeds Playhouse showing on 21 November 2020 by Rich Jevons. Click here to stream, available until midnight on Monday 23 November.

See below for an interview with Opera North cast and creatives.

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About Rich Jevons

Rich Jevons is a freelance journalist based in Leeds. Just a quick intro: almost forty years' journalistic experience (I was published in the Yorkshire Post at the tender age of fifteen!); a decade as Arts Editor at Leeds Guide; freelancer including work for Big Issue in the North, Metro Newspaper, Artscene, Northern Exposure, AN, AJ, BJP, Hotshoe International, National Drama, Plays International... And edited until its demise at the end of 2013. Now writing predominantly on the visual and performing arts for Rich Pickings and travel writing for Indigo Car Hire.

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