Classic kicking off festival

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This year’s Berwick Festival Opera season gets off to an exuberant start with a new production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s madcap masterpiece The Mikado tomorrow night.

The 1885 work includes some of the famous duo’s most wonderful melodies and crackles with a light-hearted wit, verbal dexterity and comic understatement guaranteed to make the whole family laugh out loud.

Our journey starts in modern Japan. Through the miracles of cosplay and anime, we move into a fabulous computer game, Titipu, where points mean prizes and failure is deadly. All the familiar characters have crucial roles to play – a hapless executioner, a prince disguised as a wandering minstrel, a minister with his finger in every single pie, and those three little maids from school – as lovers reunite, those in charge are shown to be anything but, and the older generation are deftly outwitted by the young.

The production is part of Berwick Festival Opera 2015 and the cast is made up of members of Rocket Opera, which provides soloists for choral societies and community operas across the country.

The festival is back after a triumphant debut season in 2014, and its organisers hope that it will be as much of a success as last year’s.

Katie Hindmarsh, of Berwick Maltings, said: “The most memorable experiences can happen in the least expected places, and Berwick Festival Opera is a shining example.

“Each opera has been lovingly re-orchestrated to perfectly match the immediacy and intimacy of two of Berwick’s brilliant venues, both with excellent acoustics, while retaining all their musical and emotional magic.”