A couple of operas – known among music lovers simply as Cav and Pag – are coming to Huddersfield Town Hall.

It’s Slaithwaite Philharmonic Orchestra which will be playing the classic double bill of Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana and Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci in the town hall on Saturday, June 17 at 7pm

Both are widely regarded, admired and loved for their deeply moving plot lines and twists. Love, betrayal, revenge and hope are expressed through some of the best Italian operatic music ever written.

Slaithwaite Philharmonic Orchestra’s music director Benjamin Ellin said: “The challenges of knitting together such wonderful stories and musical forces is always immense, but it should be a very dramatic and powerful evening.”

The success of Cavalleria Rusticana has been phenomenal ever since its premiere where it enjoyed a run of sold out performances, especially in Italy, but also in London, Berlin, Philadelphia and Chicago. By the time of Mascagni’s death in 1945 his opera had been performed more than 14,000 times in Italy alone.

Pagliacci was premiered at the Teatro dal Verme in Milan on May 21, 1892, conducted by 25-year-old Arturo Toscanini. It received mixed critical reviews but was an immediate success with the opera-going public. The story features a group of travelling actors for whom art and real life become closely entangled with tragic consequences.

Sara Helsby-Hughes

Headlining the cast is the very experienced soprano Sara Helsby-Hughes from Liverpool who is also directing the performance.

She’s performed professionally more than 20 leading soprano roles in opera and operetta including Violetta, Tosca, Madame Butterfly, Fiordiligi, Rosalinde, Queen of the Night, Hannah Glawari, Mimi, Santuzza, Donnas Elvira and Anna, Countess Almaviva, Gilda, Norma and Senta.

She created the role of Mary Crawford in Jonathan Dove’s Mansfield Park and the role of Gloria in Alan E Williams and Ian MacMillan’s The Arsonists, an opera written to be sung in South Yorkshire dialect which was streamed live on the BBC.

Sarah is artistic director of touring company Heritage Opera and has directed and designed more than 30 opera productions for various professional and amateur companies in the UK.

The other members of the singing cast are Heather Buckmaster, Joseph Buckmaster, David Cane, Imogen Garner, Nick Hardy and Matthew Tilley.

For more information go to Slaithwaite Philharmonic Orchestra’s website at www.spo.org.uk

Tickets are £10.50 to £19.50 from tickets.kirklees.gov.uk

Written by ANDY HIRST who runs his own Yorkshire freelance journalism agency AH! PR (https://ah-pr.com/) specialising in press releases, blogging, website content and copywriting.