Recorded live at Sadler’s Wells Theatre, London, on 29th February & 1st March 2008.
Victoria Simmonds (Pinocchio), Jonathan Summers (Geppetto), Mary Plazas (Blue Fairy), Rebecca Bottone (Cricket/Parrot), Graeme Broadbent (Puppeteer/Ape-Judge/Ringmaster), Allan Clayton (Lampwick), Mark Wilde (Cat), James Laing (Fox/Coachman), Carole Wilson (Pigeon/Snail)
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Opera North’s enchanting staging of The Adventures of Pinocchio, Jonathan Dove’s 21st opera, is a wittily inventive feast for the eyes and ears. A full-length, through-composed grand opera with 29 characters, a sizeable chorus and a profound symphonic score, it is overflowing with visual delights, and children will love it! A sublime achievement by Martin Duncan and team, this production shines a bright new light on Collodi’s dream-like original story, full of charm, darkness and magic. The superb ensemble stars Victoria Simmonds in the title role, and the orchestra and chorus respond splendidly under David Parry’s vibrant baton. Mastered from the High Definition video recording and in true surround sound, this is a wonderful chance for children and adults to relive an exhilarating theatre experience at home.
Illustrated synopsis & cast gallery.
The Composer, The Librettist, The Stage Director & The Musical Director
‘What an inspired and exciting opera this is. Gorgeous characters, a busy story rich in incident and an exhilarating mix of music. Delight follows delight.’ The Stage
“curiosity is aroused for adult and child alike from the first notes of Jonathan Dove's lavish and fantastical new opera genuinely for all age-groups. The scary moments are balanced by the joie de vivre of Alasdair Middleton's witty libretto and Martin Duncan's imaginative staging. Onstage virtually throughout, Victoria Simmonds conveys Pinocchio's flitting moods, from unthinkingly selfish to equally thoughtless acts of love, open-eyed enthusiasm to despondent sulks, with charm and verve. Plaudits should also go to the chorus, whose scenes are always visually and sonically spectacular, while the stunning surround sound of the DVD capturing every detail of Opera North's bold undertaking.”
“The story of Pinocchio, as told by Carlo Collodi, is best known through the Disney cartoon version, an equivocal movie generally less sympathetic than other Disney features, but giving a graphic if partial view of the story. Jonathan Dove with his librettist, Alasdair Middleton, in this operatic version in two substantial acts gives a much fuller idea of the story starting with the moment when Gepetto the woodman finds a talking log in the forest.
Gepetto is about to chop it up when it speaks to him demanding that he preserve it, later demanding that he should bring out the secret it contains, nothing less than the puppet, Pinocchio, who kicks him as his legs appear. Dove tells the story in brief scenes, 12 in Act 1, nine in Act 2, which carry the story on swiftly and effectively, going on to one sequence involving a circus – cue for pastiche circus music – also one when Pinocchio and Gepetto are trapped inside a whale, from which they escape thanks to Pinocchio's cunning in realising that this asthmatic animal is asleep with its mouth open. Generally the scenes follow the development of Pinocchio from rebellious puppet to kind and considerate boy.
Dove's writing characteristically is colourful and vigorous, with inventive instrumentation, as when Pinocchio refuses to pull a cart when asked by a stranger, denying that he is a donkey – at which Dove has the orchestra briefly making a hee-haw sound. Dove's sharp, jazzy syncopations add to the attractions of the writing, which is generally easily lyrical. This, believe it or not, is Dove's 21st opera, though few are as long or ambitious as this one, which was written for Opera North and given its premiere in 2007.
The performance, filmed live, is excellent, with a cast which includes a number of the singers discovered by the Peter Moores Foundation, and conducted very ably by David Parry, the Foundation's regular conductor. A very welcome issue of a most attractive new opera.”
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