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From a piece of wood, old Geppetto makes the puppet who springs to life and travels through innumerable adventures -- perhaps too numerous, for the evening lasts three hours, the first act almost ninety minutes. Dove's musical threads do not always make the tapestry, lacking an essential cohesion, but many of the disconnected embroidery samplers are very well made.

Jonathan Summers as Geppetto. Photo © 2007 Clive Barda
Jonathan Summers as Geppetto. Photo © 2007 Clive Barda

An hour is a long time to wait for the eruption of the finest music in the opera, the tenth and eleventh scenes culminating in the loss of both old Geppetto (Jonathan Summers) and Pinocchio as they are swept out to sea. There are shades of Peter Grimes in the voluptuous orchestration and the powerful singing of Opera North's superb chorus. Almost an hour of the second act passes before a similar inspired eruption and some impressive scenic invention that transforms the sea into the inside of a whale that has swallowed Pinocchio and, it turns out, his old creator too.

The Chorus of Opera North, Allan Clayton (Lampwick, centre) and Victoria Simmonds (Pinocchio). Photo © 2007 Clive Barda
The Chorus of Opera North, Allan Clayton (Lampwick, centre) and Victoria Simmonds (Pinocchio). Photo © 2007 Clive Barda

 

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Copyright © 27 December 2007 Patric Standford, Wakefield UK

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