Andrea Chenier – Leeds Grand

OPERA North have introduced a new production to their 2015/16 season – Andrea Chenier by Umberto Giordano.

Giordano was a contemporary of Puccini, and his opera was first performed at the Scala, Milan, in 1876, the same year as the much better-known La Boheme.

The opera deals with a tragedy which occurred during the French Revolution, and should not be missed.

It is in fact currently enjoying a revival not just around Leeds, but it was transmitted on BBC4 two months ago from the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden.

In many ways Andrea Chenier resembles another contemporary Puccini favourite: Tosca, with a suffering primadonna, heroic tenor and jealous baritone.

The Dutch soprano Annemarie Kremer sings Maddelaine di Coigny’s Act 3 aria beautifully, a piece so moving that it was included in the 1993 film Philadelphia.

Also much admired at Opera North is Rafael Rojas, having sung five major tenor roles there and now rapturously cheered for his splendid vocal statement of Andreas’s thrilling Improviso.

As for long-timer Robert Hayward’s baritone, we had to wait for his change of heart over Maddalena, but the eventual vocal splendour of it was certainly worth the wait.

John Pettitt

• Leeds Grand, February 2, 20 and 24. Visit or call 0844 8482700 to book tickets .