Conductor well-known to Harrogate audiences in bold new musical venture with poet Ian McMillan
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Ben Crick, who has a long association with both Harrogate International Festivals and Harrogate itself, is gearing up to bring the Yorkshire Symphony Orchestra in combination with the Bradford Festival Choral Society next week in an excitingly Yorkshire adaptation of Rossini’s classic opera.
The Yorkshire-born and Skipton-based orchestral conductor and composer is used to bringing a new twist to tradition – in 2014 he revived the Harrogate Festival Orchestra for the festival’s 50th anniversary.
But the premiere of The Barber of Seville on Thursday, November 23 as part of the new Bradford Opera Festival promises something truly unique.
"Rossini himself would have hated the semi religious way his work is now treated,” said Ben who is a strong advocate for making classical music accessible.
"It was written in Italian only because it was being performed to Italian audiences.
"The new version will bring a freshness to it and new life, especially as Ian McMillan has redone it all in Yorkshire dialect.”
The key aim of Bradford Opera Festival is to make opera in Bradford, for Bradford audiences in a very Bradford way.
To that end, the team behind it reflects the city in all its rich diversity.
Among its talented performers is Oscar Castellino, the acclaimed baritone from India, and Bradford-based soprano Milana Sarukhanyan who hails from Ukraine originally.
Meanwhile, its director is Leeds-based female dramaturg Alex Chisholm.
"It was great fun arguing the toss with Ian McMillan about whether the dialect for The Barber of Seville should be South Yorkshire or West Yorkshire,” said Ben.
"We hope our Rossini will prove that great art can also be entertaining.”
Looking to the future, Ben hopes the newly-revived Yorkshire Symphony Orchestra will go on to hold a series of residencies.
"It would be great to come to cities like Sheffield but also, particularly to Harrogate which is such a strong centre for culture in Yorkshire.”