George: “So Harri wasn’t it exciting being in the Howard Assembly Room? All the other operas we’ve seen have been in the Leeds Grand Theatre. I thought being closer to the stage made everything seem bigger. It was interesting being able to see the facial expressions on the singers’ faces, as Lemminkainen kept smiling, especially at the beginning. This made me think it was going to be a happy story but parts of it were quite sad and scary.
The main storyline was easy to follow but some of the music was slow and dark. The most exciting part was when Lemminkainen was hunting the swan and the swan let out a cry and held the note for a really long time. It was a very high note and quite mysterious when she sang it. Another part of the singing I liked was when Lemminkainen’s mother was out looking for him after he had been killed and cut in to quarters. Her voice was strong and powerful. Her voice filled the room for a long time. One thing I thought was a bit misleading was when the people in long grey coats were singing “Lemminkainen is dead” and then he just walked off stage. This made me laugh but I think it was meant to be a serious moment…”
Harri: “…I completely agree with you George: It was a great show but not spectacular. The singing though, I thought was great. The singers could hold the really high notes for a very long time. I didn’t really get the story and I don’t think someone who had never seen an opera before would get it without the programme.
I thought that being in the Howard Assembly Room was interesting as well and it was great to be able to see what the characters actually looked like without the aid of binoculars. The story on a whole was really quite intriguing and very mysterious. Some parts were, as you said George, quite scary. I particularly enjoyed the scene where Lemminkainen fought the huge demonic Elk. It was a very cleverly done piece and I really liked the use of the trowels as hooves. However, I thought the ‘Devil’s Horse’ scene needed a bit more work, as it wasn’t very clear when Lemminkainen was riding the horse or being pounded into oblivion by its hooves. But I did think the use of keys, lights and hockey sticks was very interesting and clever. Sometimes the singing was a bit obscure and you really wouldn’t know what someone was saying.
I would have to agree that it was quite funny when Lemminkainen was supposedly dead but then got up and helped the ‘grey coat’ people clear the stage. My favourite character in the performance was the mother of Lemminkainen as she was a very good actress and singer and the scene where she resurrected her son was particularly haunting. Looking forward to the next show… are you?!