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'2017 for 2017' blog

By David Ward, Jan 30 2017 02:31PM

It’s been a difficult few weeks with a knee injury curtailing much further progress, but hopefully I’ll be back on track from next week!

Injury will likely be the greatest foe to the 2017 challenge, so trying to balance enthusiasm with ability will be key (something I perhaps didn’t do so well in the first week …)

The miles-o-meter is now down to 1951, so let’s take a look at the world in opera in that year:

- Gian-Carlo Menotti’s ‘Amahl and the Night Visitors’ (our first Northern Opera Group production) premiered on NBC television

- it was quite the year for significant opera premieres; London’s Royal Opera House hosted premieres of both Britten’s ‘Billy Budd’ and Vaughan Williams’ ‘Pilgrim’s Progress’, whilst Stravinsky’s ‘The Rake’s Progress’ opened at Venice’s Teatro La Fenice

- Mario Lanza starred in ‘The Great Caruso’; the classic MGM musical about the life and career of the famous tenor

- in heady times for touring opera, in two weeks alone at the Edinburgh Empire you could see Covent Garden Opera’s productions of ‘Lohengrin’, ‘Rigoletto’, ‘Fidelio’, ‘Carmen’, ‘La Traviata’, ‘Madame Butterfly’, ‘Marriage of Figaro’, and ‘Der Rosenkavalier’!

I may have had a dodgy knee, however this hasn’t stopped significant planning forging ahead for our 2017 programme - by the next blog post, we’ll likely have made a very exciting announcement ...

By David Ward, Jan 9 2017 08:31AM

One week down and just another 1974 miles to go ...

I managed to slightly exceed the weekly taget last week (running 42.2 miles on the target of 39 miles per week) so it's been a postitive start. Let's hope the following weeks continue in a similar vein!

All this running provides an excellent opportunity to do some thinking and planning for future Northern Opera Group productions. There are lots of hours pounding the streets to listen to new repertoire and operas for future productions (keep an eye out over the next few weeks for more news on our plans for 2017!).

Last week I got to know the music of Ernst Krenek a lot better. A wonderfully witty 20th Century composer, Krenek is best known for his jazz opera, 'Jonny Spielt Auf' - I particularly enjoyed listening to his one-act operas, including 'Schwergewicht'. The overture to this work is my new favourite overture:

I also thought that it might be interesting to take a brief peek into operatic history with each passing week, depending on how many miles I have remaining; so with 1974 miles left to go, I've taken a look at what was going on in the operatic world in 1974

- the Royal Opera presented new productions of both Rheingold and Walkure, with Colin Davis conducting

- Finnish National Opera presented the 'Moomin Opera' (which is surely well worth a UK production?)

- the first performance in the UK of Richard Strauss' 'Intermezzo' took place at Glyndebourne

- Sadlers Wells Opera changed its name to English National Opera

- Opera 74 was started in Bolton (

(If anyone knows where I can listen to the Moomin Opera I will make that my listening for next week ...)



Weeks gone: 31

Weeks remaining: 21

Miles run: 1082

Miles to go: 935

2017 for 2017 (1)