Opera explores emotions

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The complex landscape of the human heart is the subject of a haunting, intensely-emotional one-act chamber opera, Passion (January 4-14), an early highlight in the New Year programme in the Mill Studio at Guildford’s Yvonne Arnaud Theatre.

A remote military outpost in 1863 Italy, a handsome army captain, separated from his beautiful – but married – mistress, is forced to re-evaluate his beliefs about love when he becomes the object of the obsessive, unrelenting passions of Fosca, his Colonel’s plain, sickly cousin.

Powerful, literary and moving, Phoenix Rising: D H Lawrence – Son & Lover (January 27-28) offers a colourful portrait of D H Lawrence and the personalities and events which shaped his early life. Lawrence is revealed as a man of song with a profound gift for story-telling and an ability to challenge the sexual mores of his generation.

Pulling Faces (February 3-4) is an acerbic, topical comedy about society’s obsession with youth, beauty and transformation. Louise Jameson plays twelve different characters and tells us what has brought her to this critical point in her life. Should she go under the knife to enhance her looks, or... to hell with it, on a date with her toy boy?

From Carnegie Award-winning author Berlie Doherty, Thin Air (February 10-11) is the supernatural story of a First World War fighter pilot who returns home from the horrors of the war. He is in possession of a secret that will haunt his community for generations to come.

Elinor keeps her head, Marianne loses her heart… Jane Austen’s classic novel of two sisters and their search for love in a society bound by financial fortune, Sense And Sensibility (February 23–March 3) is brought to the stage. Helen Tennison directs this comedy of manners, marriage and gossip.

Dennis Potter’s childhood tale Blue Remembered Hills (March 8-10) is set in 1943 Gloucestershire as a group of silly seven-year-olds spend a summer’s afternoon playing in the woods and fields. But it’s not all fun and games when around every corner could be an escaped prisoner of war, a German parachutist, or an angry farmer.