Concerts in Manchester (5 Jan), Nottingham (6 Jan) and London (7 Jan) conducted by Sir Mark Elder
Chris Riddell announced as Artist in Residence, drawing live during performances of Bartók’s opera Duke Bluebeard’s Castle
Young British talent Daisy Evans directs Robert Hayward (Bluebeard) & Claudia Mahnke (Judith) in semi-staged production
First complete opera performance in NYO’s 70-year history

For its first complete opera ever, NYO will perform Bartók’s Duke Bluebeard's Castle - an exceptional and arresting piece of psychological drama which will be presented with lighting, theatrical gesture, surtitles and projections. It tells the story of an impulsive young bride who has turned her back on her family, only to uncover the gruesome truth about her new husband. With sinister strings, shrill winds and majestic brass, this one-act opera is a masterpiece of orchestral storytelling and a spectacular showcase for NYO’s versatile young musicians.

Illustrator and author Chris Riddell, former Children’s Laureate, cartoonist, and creator of the hugely popular young adult series ‘Goth Girl’is announced as NYO’s first ever Artist in Residence. His illustrations will be integrated into the performance of Duke Bluebeard’s Castle and his drawings during the 7 January Barbican performance will be streamed live.

Sir Mark Elder, himself an NYO alumni, passionately believes that performing with singers is essential to the development of young orchestral musicians and that it liberates a depth of musicality that cannot be accessed through any other route. Performing this opera is a special but challenging undertaking, making new demands on NYO’s rehearsal process. Sir Mark Elder will steer NYO musicianson this journey, and they will be immersed in the story, text and themes and experience theatre workshops. Young actors from the National Youth Theatre will add to the theatrical presentation, with the concerts in Nottingham and London accompanied by special receptions for teenage audiences, run by teenage musicians sharing insights about the music. The whole production reflects NYO’s ambitions as a laboratory for exploring the form and content of orchestra performance, and to make the art form relevant for current and future generations of teenagers.

The winter programme, moving from Liadov’s masterpiece of mystical serenity The Enchanted Lake to Dukas’s well-known and energetic The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, and culminating in the dark tale of Duke Bluebeard’s Castle will see NYO conjure up some totally teenage orchestral magic.


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