Let’s not use the mighty Wagnerian word “Gesamtkunstwerk”, but it’s the integration of all the arts that makes Opera North’s The Adventures of Pinocchio such a triumph, from the front cloth apparently done by primary school Chagalls onwards. On its premiere in 2007 it was greeted as (almost uniquely) an opera instantly enjoyable for both children and adults and it returns as an established success.
Alasdair Middleton’s witty and incisive libretto preserves Carlo Collodi’s original fable, including its simple moral, and resists Disneyfication. Jonathan Dove’s music covers a huge range of styles while always remaining accessible and distinctive. Martin Duncan’s highly inventive production marshals flocks of bizarre characters with enviable nonchalance and Francis O’Connor’s appealingly ingenious and practical designs negotiate 20 different scenes without pausing for breath.