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Preview - Miss Fortune at the ROH

Published: 8 March, 2012

Not many operas combine great music with a burning kebab van, break-dancing, doing the ironing and taking the washing to a launderette.

But that, and a lot more, features in Judith Weir’s new opera Miss Fortune, which is getting its UK premiere at the Royal Opera House on Monday.

Judith Weir has taken a traditional Sicilian folktale called Misfortune as the basis for an engaging opera with powerful lyric soprano Emma Bell singing the title role. “It’s the story of a girl who grows up, and her parents lose all their money in a financial crisis,” says Kasper Holten, the ROH’s director of opera.

“She goes out into the world; she experiences riots and the mystery of people losing their jobs. But then she ends up winning the lottery – and choosing to give it all up for love.

“It is essentially a story about how we can make choices in life. Although it might feel like we are victims of destiny or fortune, we can actually make choices about how we want to live.”

The staging by New York director Chen Shi-Zheng is likely to be stunning if his 2008 staging of Monkey: Journey to the West at the ROH is anything to go by.

Paul Daniel conducts.

Miss Fortune is a co-production with the Bregenz Festival where it had a tremendous reception at its world premiere last summer.

• Miss Fortune is at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, WC2, on March 12, 16, 20, 23 and 28, 7.30pm, 020 7304 4000,


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