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La Clemenza di Tito

Grand Theatre, Leeds

THE popularity of Mozart’s four great operas has pushed this rarely-heard piece into the shade. But John Fulljames’ new production of one of his few serious pieces reveals that it should see the light of day more often.

It is a morality tale in which the Roman Emperor Tito shows that the best way to deal with an attempt on his life is to temper justice for the plotters with clemency.

It is also an ensemble piece, less musically-rich than some of Mozart’s work, but studded with gems nevertheless, and it allows Opera North to so what they do best - no big stars, but musically excellent across the board.

The ever-reliable Paul Nilon shines in the title role, but all the singers in this six-hander make us sit up and listen, and none more than Helen Lepalaan, the Estonian newcomer to the company who plays his would-be assassin.

Conor Murphy’s crisp, monochrome designs give this Rome a modern, corporate feel, and Finn Ross’s kaleidoscopic back-projections cleverly double as architectural motifs and graphic representations of the emotional conflicts being played out in front of them.

Philip Andrews