Knife, Makeup, Action: "SkinDeep" is coming

Set to bring light and laughter to January, the dance of the seven bandages, an over-zealous plastic surgeon, ‘putting right what nature got wrong’ and a quest for the elixir of youth, are just several highlights of Opera North’s ‘must-see’ comedy operetta Skin Deep.

With a libretto written by comedy writer Armando Iannucci (Knowing me, Knowing you…with Alan Partridge and The Thick of It) and music composed by leading British contemporary composer David Sawer, the operetta is sung in English and is directed by renowned opera director Richard Jones and conducted by Opera North’s music director Richard Farnes.

The Skin Deep World Premiere opens in Leeds on 16th January to a society preoccupied by youth and beauty. Armando Iannucci comments:

“It’s incredibly exciting to be opening my first opera, as it combines my love of classical music with entertainment and humour. Skin Deep is perfect for today’s obsession with celebrity and ordinariness, wealth and poverty. Normal people want to be famous and meanwhile we want famous people to be normal. Skin Deep is a satirical piece that celebrates our contradictions.”

Baritone Geoffrey Dolton sings the part of the egomaniacal Doktor Needlemeier and the soprano Janis Kelly sings the role of his wife Lania, for whom a brow lift is as regular as a weekly shop. The receptionist Donna, sung by Heather Shipp, also Needlemeier’s lover, has only one quest - to secure the Doktor’s love and she will go to any lengths to ensure his botoxed brow is firmly fixed on her. Amy Freston takes the role of Needlemeier’s daughter Elsa and is her father’s work of art; surgically perfected she breezes through life with the beautiful rich people.

Comments Richard Mantle, General Director of Opera North:

“Opera North is excited to be yet again producing world premieres and creating new and exciting work of the highest standard for audiences around the country.
With Armando’s wit, a composer of David Sawer’s stature, a world class opera director and our very own highly acclaimed Music Director, this will be an entertaining evening of top notch quality that is set to thrill audiences.”

There will be 9 performances of Skin Deep around the country including:

    Leeds Grand Theatre 16, 24, 30 Jan, 4, 11 Feb, 7.15pm, Box Office: 0844 848 2720
    Sadler’s Wells, London 17, 19 Feb, 7.30pm, Box Office: 0844 412 4300
    The Lowry, Salford Quays, Manchester 26 Feb 7.15pm, Box Office: 0870 787 5790
    Theatre Royal, Newcastle, 4 Mar, 7.15pm, Box Office: 0844 811 2121
    Festspielhaus, Bregenz, Austria, 17 Aug 2009 6.30pm

Previous works by David Sawer include:

  • The Panic, a chamber opera, premiered in 1991
  • From Morning to Midnight, premiered in 2001 by English National Opera
  • Byrnan Wood (1992)
  • Trumpet Concerto (1994)
  • Piano Concerto for Rolf Hind, which won the British Academy British Composer Award 2003


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