Reviewed by Lucy Gwilliam & Rosemary Knight
On Sunday (14 May 2017) we travelled to The Lowry theatre in Salford, near Manchester, to watch the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Royal Opera House present Ravi Shankar’s only opera Sukanya. Although we have watched many operas, many sung in Italian, this was the first Indian opera we have ever watched so we were intrigued, wondering what was in store. Shankar was previously only known to us as the sitar player who famously collaborated with The Beatles in the 1970’s so it was interesting to learn that he had actually composed this opera.
As we were shown to our seats, we could see the marvellous London Philharmonic Orchestra already on stage preparing for the start of the show. The story revolves around Sukanya, a young princess, beautifully performed by Susanna Hurrell, who marries a sage, Chyavana, played by Alok Kumar. Chyavana has been blinded and has been meditating for such a long time that he resembles a mound of dust covered in ants. Sukanya comes across him and agrees to marry him after her father the king says that she must do so. Two jealous gods try to persuade her otherwise, attempting to trick her into identifying him wrongly but in the end love triumphs and Sukanya chooses her lover.
This is a visually stunning production. The highlight of the show was Susanna Hurrell’s beautiful soaring soprano voice. The silk clad dancers swirling around the stage with their dresses flowing and bells on their ankles were an absolute joy to watch. The music is sensational combining both Western and Eastern influences.
We absolutely loved this performance.
For more information and tour dates visit www.sukanyaopera.com.
For other shows at The Lowry in Manchester visit www.thelowry.com.
The Lowry, Pier 8, Salford Quays, Manchester, M50 3AZ | 0843 208 6000