An icy, operatic adventure


It isn’t about the famous Wallsend shipyard, but Swanhunter – an operatic adventure for all the family is sure to prove a hit when it comes to Alnwick this weekend.

Based on a tale from the Finnish folk epic, The Kalevala, the production is a chamber opera written by the composer and librettist of Opera North’s hugely successful The Adventures of Pinocchio.

Scored for six singers accompanied by six instrumentalists, Swanhunter is a celebration of the power of song, designed specifically for a family audience – for adults just as much as for children.

Opera North gave the world premiere of Swanhunter in in Leeds in 2009.

For this brand-new production, Opera North collaborates for the first time with the acclaimed theatre company The Wrong Crowd to create an inventive fusion of opera, puppetry and live action.

The plot follows Lemminkäinen as he travels to the icy north in search of a bride, against his mother’s wishes.

There impossible tasks await him; he must hunt the Devil’s elk, ride the Devil’s horse and shoot a swan. But unseen danger lies in wait for him on Death’s river.

In terms of the use of puppetry, the show’s director Hannah Mulder said: “I think there’s something really amazing and magical about puppets.

“It’s very intrinsic in our human nature to really enjoy seeing something animated, and it heightens the magical aspects of the story.

“Puppetry does theatrically what we’re most excited about, firing the imagination and inviting audiences to play with us. There’s a sort of wonder and engagement to that process.”

Swanhunter is at Alnwick Playhouse on Sunday, April 26, 7pm. Tickets £16.50, £17,50 premier, £10 child/student available from or by calling 01665 510785.