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Southport Reporter®

Edition No. 89

Date:- 07 March 2003

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Spring 2003 with Welsh National Opera

THE Welsh National Opera bring an exciting springtime programme to Liverpool this year. Presenting five very different operas at the Empire Theatre, the world-class Chorus and Orchestra of WNO will perform a wide range of work for many different audiences. 

The week starts in Spain with WNO's brand new venture Opera Shorts: Carmen. This hour-long version of Bizet's Carmen, directed by Struan Leslie has been specially adapted to attract first time opera-goers, and includes all of the popular well-known melodies performed by a cast of first-class opera singers and the internationally celebrated Chorus and Orchestra of WNO - complete with flamenco dresses and a toreador in a sparkling 'suit of lights'.

Just one night later we are trasnported, via Michael Yeargan's picturesque set and Howard Harrison's atmospheric lighting, to Easter morning on the streets of Sicily for Mascagni's Cavalleria Rusticana.

Cavalleria Rusticana is the story of a typical love triangle, the outcome of which can only end in tragedy, a tragedy matched in intensity by its companion opera, Pagliacci. The tale of a group of travelling players the opera focusses on the similarities between what is happening on stage and off. 

We stay with a Mediterranean influence with a visit to the sunny shores of the Italian Riviera for Donizetti's light-hearted comic opera The Elixiir of Love. In order to help him win the affections of the lovely Adina, Nemorino spends his last coin to buy a love potion. When it fails to have the desired affect he enlists in the military under Sergent Belcore, his rival for the hand of Adina, in order to purchase more of the potion.

WNO's final operatic offering this season sees the first revival of Kate Mitchell's 1998 production of Janacek's powerfully emotive opera Jenufa. Jenufa's life is thrown into turmoil when Steva rejects her and the child she is carrying. When the child is born Jenufa's stepmother, the Kostelnicka, sends for Steva to marry Jenufa but he denies responsibility telling her he is already engaged. Luca, who has loved Jenufa since childhood and wants to marry her, is appalled when he learns of the baby. Desperate to save her step-daughter from disgrace, the kosteinicka tells Luca that the baby has died. She then devises a plan to save Jenufa and herself from the shame.

Welsh National Opera's Spring season at the Liverpool Empire Theatre opens on Tuesday 15th April with Opera Shorts: Carmen at 6.15pm and continues Wednesday with Cavalleria Rusticana & Pagliacci at 7.15pm, Thursday The Elixir of Love at 7.15pm and finishes Saturday with Jenafu at 7.15pm

Tickets: £10 - £35 to book call Ticketmaster on 0870 606 3536


TODAY's movement amongst the fleet just goes to show what a difficult job the Clipper crews and skippers have. Whilst London Clipper's northerly position appeared quite strong yesterday.

Hong Kong Clipper stretched their lead to 40 miles. A nice safety net to have, but Justin Taylor and his team will certainly not be resting on their laurels just yet.

Conditions with the fleet have been very unsettled over the past 24 hours with wind strengths varying greatly and the fleet may well encounter one more storm before they arrive in Japan. Race positions are likely to be decided on where each boat is when the weather catches up, and on when they tack on the headers it brings.

Bristol Clipper's crew will be sailing with big smiles on their faces as they played the weather well and slotted neatly into second place.

Liverpool Clipper has followed and lies in third place. Adam Kyffin is obviously looking forward to getting to Japan, with reports of the cold conditions coming in. Sail changes are now less than popular with his foredeck team as instead of getting a balmy shower as per the Atlantic, they are treated to a feeling similar to icicles shooting down your neck - not pleasant!

The highest daily run came from Jersey Clipper, now in fourth. The wind conditions have turned lighter over the last 24 hours, and have also veered easterly. This has been particularly good for Simon Rowell and his crew as they have been able to reach north gaining not only a better position but also sailing faster than their competition. Frustrations will have no doubt been put aside as another pennant comes within the crew's grasp.

Skippers and crew of both London and Glasgow will be reeling from this recent turn of events - losing 53 miles and 18 miles respectively. 

New York and Cape Town remain at the back of the fleet, but an avid band of followers will have noticed that they too have gained on the frontrunners.

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