Classical Preview: Tales of two tortured and incarcerated lives

The unremitting cruelty of life in a Siberian prison camp forms the harrowing story for Janacek’s From the House of the Dead, Opera North’s new production.

Most unusual in concept, the cast is the chorus from which step individuals who relate their story. Apart from a female visitor, the cast is wholly male and brings together the outstanding quartet of Roderick Williams, Alan Oke, Jeffrey Lloyd Roberts and Robert Hayward.

The production comes from John Fulljames who was responsible for Opera North’s highly acclaimed staging of Janacek’s bizarre comedy, The Adventures of Mr Broucek.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

A tortured life that can move so quickly from freedom to imprisonment sparked Beethoven’s only opera, Fidelio, in a new production based on Scottish Opera’s highly regarded presentation.

Creating a career among the international jet-set, Emma Bell sings the leading role of Leonore with the wrongly incarcerated Floristan featuring the American tenor Steven Harrison making his company debut. Jeremy White, Fflur Wyn and Joshua Ellicott complete the main characters, and Richard Armstrong conducts.

Still dividing opinion, Daniel Kramer’s Americanised version of Bizet’s Carmen returns to Leeds next Thursday with the American mezzo, Sandra Piques making her company debut, and the Italian, Andrea Licate, taking over as conductor.

And a reminder that it is not too late to book tickets for the first part of Wagner’s Ring cycle in two Leeds concert performances in June.

Opera North. Leeds Grand Theatre, April 13 to May 14. 0844 848 2706.