Northern Ireland Opera (NI Opera) announces its return to Belfast’s Lyric theatre next February 2022 to stage Stephen Sondheim’s and James Lapine’s Into The Woods, one of the most iconic and popular shows in the musical theatre canon, richly laden with symbolism, magic and metaphor.
This new epic production will be directed by NI Opera’s Artistic Director Cameron Menzies whose critically-acclaimed career spans the world of opera, theatre, musical theatre, film and cabaret. Musicals performed at the Lyric by this award-winning national opera company have become a cultural highlight of the season and Into The Woods follows on from three previous sell out NI Opera shows staged there – The Threepenny Opera in 2018, Sweeney Todd in 2019 and Kiss Me Kate in 2020.
Cameron will draw on his expansive skills and influences across the performing arts to create a showstopper, spotlighting the best of Northern Irish music and creative talent including Enniskillen-born designer Niall McKeever, who will be leading on a spectacular set and costume design.
Cameron describes Into the Woods as the ultimate ‘quest’ musical and says: “It’s a wonderfully intriguing story that brings together and intertwines some of the beloved Brother’s Grimm fairy tales such as Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk and Rapunzel to ask what might have happened before ‘Once upon a time’ and after ‘Happily ever after’.
We are thrilled to be introducing Belfast to some wonderful local talent, while also showcasing some of the West End’s finest performers, some originally from Northern Ireland making their long-awaited debut performances back home. We will endeavour to create a wonderful tribute to one of the greatest musical theatre composers/lyricists of all time. There is truly now a Giant in the Sky.“
Into The Woods will be Cameron’s second live production since he took the helm at NI Opera mid-pandemic in 2020. His first show was a critically-acclaimed staging of Puccini’s La Bohéme (“Opera at its Finest” Opera Now Magazine, Dec 2021) n Belfast’s Carlisle Memorial Church in September 2021 and he also produced the acclaimed cinematic experience Old Friends And Other Days which was selected for the Belfast Film Festival, the London International Short Film Festival and is a Finalist in The British Short Films Awards 2021.
Ciaran Scullion, Head of Music and Opera at the Arts Council Northern Ireland comments: “Despite the many challenges presented by the pandemic, Northern Ireland Opera has offered audiences world-class performances and opportunities for our talented singers to perform and gain employment. This company has delivered really exciting and impressive work and The Arts Council is hugely proud to support them. What a fantastic start for opera in NI for 2022!”
Cameron joined the organisation mid-pandemic in November 2020, and is leading this award-winning national opera company, widely acclaimed as one of the most exciting operatic start-ups in UK and Irish history into an exciting new era. It’s philosophy of artistic excellence and risk-taking, is underpinned by a bold and imaginative approach to programming and productions.