Twenty-one years after it launched her opera career, producer Ellen Kent brings Nabucco back to the stage with the well-known and emotionally-haunting Va Pensiero sung in its original setting and sure to bring a tear to the eye at the City Hall on Sunday.
The ensemble number, a favourite of choral societies and choirs and often better known as The Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves, is set on the banks of the River Euphrates as the captured are taken to be slaughtered.
Nabucco was Kent’s first foray into opera in 1993 in an open-air production to an audience of 7,000 at Rochester Castle with a cast flown over from Romania in Ceausescu’s former plane borrowed from the country’s president.
“People sat outside in the pouring rain with the thunder and lightning, then gave it a standing ovation,” she recalls. “It was such an adventure.”
The celebrated Chisinau National Opera and Philharmonic Orchestra, with international guest soloists sopranos Elena Dee and Olga Perrier, and tenors Sorin Lupu and Ruslan Zinevych are on a 75-date tour of the current production .
The opera follows the plight of the Hebrews as they are conquered and sentenced to death by the Babylonian King Nabucco (Nebuchadnezzar). A complicated romantic plot provides the detail with a love triangle combined with power play, religion and death.
Elaborate stage and lighting effects recreate the burning of Solomon’s temple as jealousy and destruction drive the king to madness.
About 30 local dancers, children and adults, join the 80-strong cast as slaves and soldiers on stage.
1Young artists and designers in Sheffield are benefiting from a 30-week programme of art and design masterclasses at Sheffield Hallam University to introduce them to different skills and techniques.
Art lecturers at the university have been running the National Art & Design Saturday Club events in collaboration with the Sorrell Foundation, a charitable organisation which aims to inspire creativity in young people. So far, the club has given free lessons to 25 young people aged between 14 and 16.
As part of the club, the young artists will exhibit their work at Somerset House arts and cultural centre and have a guided tour of the Barbican Centre in London. They have also been taught by a series of guest lecturers, including Christophe Egret (pictured below left, with his business partner David West), founding partner of London-based urban designers Studio Egret West.
Studio Egret West worked with developers Urban Splash on the renovation of the Grade II listed Park Hill housing estate and Christophe has involved the students in creating a map of Sheffield that outlines some of its most unusual, underappreciated buildings.
After 25 Edinburgh Festivals and 18 Glastonburys Phil Kay is still breaking ground as a highly emotive touchy feely comedy guy. He comes to Sheffield for a performance organised by AltComCab and The Shipping Forecast Spoken Word at Sharrow Community Forum, Old Junior School, South View Road on Friday evening. Tickets at £5 (£4 adv http://www.wegottickets.com/event/261322)