The four directors of Tales Of Love (L-R): John Soper, Lucy Thomson-Smith, Hilary Dyson and James Wood
The four directors of Tales Of Love (L-R): John Soper, Lucy Thomson-Smith, Hilary Dyson and James Wood

For their production of Tales Of Love, York Opera decided to take a new approach. By focusing on extracts from four separate operas, audiences will be treated to a “best of” compilation of some of the greatest romantic themes and arias in musical history.

But this presented the group with a challenge: who was to act as director for four very different operas?

The group’s solution was to offer the directing role of each extract to four separate directors, some of whom are making their York Opera directorial debut.

James Wood and Lucy Thompson-Smith, two of York Opera’s younger members, have taken on the responsibility of directing extracts from Turandot and Carmen respectively.

James is particularly looking forward to the challenge of directing opera for the first time.

“I have directed shows when at university, including Hobson’s Choice and The Complaisant Lover.

“But it’s nice to be directing opera for the first time, having performed in them onstage so often in the past.”

It’s an experience unlike anything we at York Opera have ever attempted before, but the performers and singers are rising to the challenge magnificently

Both James and Lucy have been active members of York Opera for some years, making valued contributions both on and offstage.

James has been involved in productions of Marriage Of Figaro and Nabucco.

Lucy was stage manager for their production of Ruddigore, keeping it in the family with her father Ian, who has been a York Opera stalwart for many years.

The first act is rounded off by excerpts from Mozart’s Don Giovani, directed by John Soper. John is one of York Opera more experienced members and directors, having recently helmed productions of Dido And Aeneas, and The Magic Flute.

The second act is a fully staged performance of the second of the Tales Of Hoffman.

Chairman Hilary Dyson assumes directing responsibilities for this section. The story of Hoffman’s unfortunate love affair provides a unique challenge for her, having to adapt to directing in the round for the first time.

“It is important to remember that people behind us as well as in front of us can see all the action,” she says.

“You have to make sure you involve all the audience members so the music and words do not get lost.

“It’s an experience unlike anything we at York Opera have ever attempted before, but the performers and singers are rising to the challenge magnificently and as ever produce a fantastic sound.”

 


  • Tales Of Love is being performed at the York Guildhall on June 4-6. Tickets are available from York Theatre Royal

 

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