The Welsh National Opera’s inventive re-working of Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler’s Sweeney Todd begins a short UK tour at Southampton’s Mayflower Theatre this week.
The production, which breaks with the traditional Victorian era setting to place the Demon Barber’s grisly antics at the heart of Thatcherite Britain in the late 1970s and early 1980s, opened at the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff last week.
The first co-production between the WNO and the Wales Millennium Centre where the company is based begins its tour at the Mayflower from 15–17 October before playing the Bristol Hippodrome (22–24 October); Venue Cymru, Llandudno (29–31 October); Oxford’s New Theatre (5–7 November); Liverpool Empire (13 and 14 November); Birmingham Hippodrome (19–21 November); and returning to the Millennium Centre (24–29 November).
The cast features opera and musical theatre singers with German baritone David Arnsperger in the title role and Scottish soprano Janis Kelly as Mrs Lovett. Anthony is sung by Jamie Muscato, with Soraya Mafi singing Johanna. Welsh tenor Aled Hall sings Beadle Bamford and Charlotte Page plays the Beggar Woman. The cast also includes Steven Page as Judge Turpin and George Ure as Tobias Ragg.
A co-production between Welsh National Opera, Wales Millennium Centre and West Yorkshire Playhouse in association with Royal Exchange Theatre, Sweeney Todd is directed by WYP artistic director James Brining and conducted by James Holmes in a staging adapted for WNO. This is the first time that WNO and Wales Millennium Centre have worked together as co-producers.