OPERA North are currently at Leeds Grand performing Rimsky-Korsakov’s rarely-performed The Snow Maiden.
The charming Russian folk story tells how the daughter of Grandfather Frost and Spring Beauty, the young Snow Maiden, wants nothing more than to live amongst humans.
The girl, sung by Irish soprano Aoife Miskelly, has met a shepherd boy, Lel (Heather Lowe).
But she hides a tragic secret: her heart is made of ice and, if she falls in love, it will melt.
Director John Fulljames has reworked The Snow Maiden’s classic storyline in a contemporary setting, blending the boundaries between reality and fantasy.
It makes inventive use of video imagery to blend and contrast worlds of fantasy and modern day reality.
The opera, a Russian favourite, is being professionally staged for the first time in over 60 years in the UK.
Written at one of the happiest times in his life, Rimsky-Korsakov described The Snow Maiden as ‘a spring fairy-tale’, creating an opera of sheer enchantment from this popular Russian tale, graced with some of the composer’s most spontaneously lyrical music.
He claimed that the score contained several authentic folk melodies, and his rich and colourful orchestration is a gorgeous evocation of the natural world.
The music includes the well-known Chorus of the Birds and the Dance of the Clowns. The Snow Maiden is sung in English.
The Snow Maiden is one of three fairytales being presented by Opera North in Leeds during its winter season, along with Humperdinck’s much-loved Hansel and Gretel and Rossini’s captivating Cinderella.
The three productions share basic elements of a highly adaptable set, designed by Giles Cadle, with the inventive use of video bringing the themes of transformation and magic to the forefront.
The cast is a mix of Opera North regulars and talented newcomers, led by young British conductor Leo McFall, winner of the 2015 German Conductor Prize.
Aoife Miskelly makes her Opera North debut as the Snow Maiden, after recent roles including Despina in Così fan tutte, Papagena in The Magic Flute, Gilda in Rigoletto, and Frasquita in Carmen, all for Cologne Opera.
Visit leedsgrandtheatre.com or call 0844 8482700 to book tickets.