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An opera that celebrates Tyneside through the voice of homeless people

Posted on 15 March 2018

  • Tell Me The Truth About Love will be performed at Sage Gateshead on 14 and 15 April 2018
  • The opera is directed by Olivier Award-winner Bijan Sheibani and designed by Linbury Prize winner Samal Blak
  • Featuring classical, folk and modern music: from Mozart to Stevie Wonder, including Geordie favourites Big River, Blaydon Races and The Water of Tyne
  • Includes newly commissioned music by celebrated North East composers Will Todd and Anna Appleby
  • The story is set in a wedding and focuses on Tina, a bridesmaid that has never been in love
  • It features Streetwise Opera workshop performers who have experienced homelessness
  • The lead role of Tina is played by critically-acclaimed mezzo-soprano Anna Huntley
  • Live music performed by musicians from Royal Northern Sinfonia directed by Timothy Burke

People that have experienced homelessness will take to the stage at Sage Gateshead on 14 and 15 April to celebrate life and love on Tyneside.

It promises to be a lively show that proves that opera, sometimes considered the most exclusive of arts, can help include the most excluded in our society, while inspiring and delighting audiences.

Tell Me The Truth About Love is directed by Olivier Award winner Bijan Sheibani, whose Barber Shop Chronicles at the National Theatre was a resounding success, and designed by Linbury Prize winner Samal Blak, who has recently designed major operas in Rome and Gothenburg.

The show is produced by Streetwise Opera, the award-winning charity behind the 2016 hit The Passion, which received stellar reviews from the music and theatre press, and was broadcast live by BBC 4.

Live music will be performed by musicians from Royal Northern Sinfonia directed by Timothy Burke, and includes new pieces by celebrated North East composers Will Todd and Anna Appleby, as well as classical, folk and modern music: from Mozart to Stevie Wonder, including Geordie favourites Big River, Blaydon Races and The Water of Tyne.

The participants of Streetwise Opera’s workshops in Newcastle and Gateshead will be joined by critically acclaimed mezzo-soprano Anna Huntley, also from the North East. Huntley plays the main role of Tina, a young woman that proudly claims to have never been in love and is now a reluctant bridesmaid at her sister’s wedding.

During the opera, the cast breaks out in song to share their own experiences of love, including the nostalgia for the Tyne’s shipyards, the struggles of star-crossed lovers, and the passion for the Toon. In the final scene, Tina has an opportunity to set aside her cynicism and discover the truth about love. Will she take it?

Tell Me The Truth About Love is produced by Streetwise Opera in partnership with Royal Northern Sinfonia, Sage Gateshead, Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums, Recovery College Collective, Changing Lives and BBC Newcastle.

Streetwise Opera performer Santino Taylor-Barratt said:
“I feel very privileged to be part of a show that celebrates the pride and the love that we have for the North East. We are very proud of where we are from and what we stand for in this area. We are about hospitality and seeing people doing well. It’s not about affluence or about what you’ve got. It’s about who you are.”

Susie Gorgeous, Co-Executive Director of Streetwise Opera, said:
“Homelessness has increased by 60% since 2012 and it is now even more important that we promote positive attitudes towards homeless people. We hope that this opera demonstrates how the arts can inspire people to overcome some of the many challenges that people face as a result of homelessness.”

Tell Me The Truth About Love will be performed in Sage Two at 5pm and 8pm on Saturday 14 April, and 3pm and 6pm on Sunday 15 April. Tickets are £12-£16 and concessions are £8-£10. Group booking discounts are also available.

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