COMPOSER Kurt Weill wrote after the premiere of his masterpiece Street Scene that not until then had he achieved a “real blending of drama and music”. 

Opera North’s finely-wrought staging of his Broadway opera, with sterling acting, singing and dancing, captivating an enthralled audience at Newcastle’s Theatre Royal throughout. 

Teeming with characters and overlapping storylines, the work depicts the lives of a largely immigrant community living in a sweltering tenement block in Manhattan’s Lower East Side.

The core of the drama is played out within the Maurrant family. Mrs Maurrant (Giselle Allen), is having an affair with the local milkman Mr Sankey (Paul Gibson).

The whole neighbourhood knows, except her unsuspecting husband Frank (Robert Hayward) who becomes increasingly suspicious until the climax, when he discovers the pair together, with murderous results. 

Hayward conveyed the seething anger of Mr Maurrant with a visceral power. At one point, he rails against immigrants, demanding: “Why the hell don’t they all go back where they came from?”.

In another storyline with modern resonance, his daughter Rose (Gillene Butterfield) is pestered by her boss at work, played by the silver-tongued Quirijn de Lang. He offers her the path to stage stardom with a suitably sleazy rendition of Wouldn’t You Like to be on Broadway. 

Her suitor is the the shy bookish Sam Kaplan, played by Alex Banfield, who sang with supreme confidence in a silky rendition of Lonely House. Their duet was a tender tour de force. 

A lighter interlude was provided by Dick McGann (Rodney Vubya) and Mae (Michelle Andrews) who danced a scorching jitterbug to the song Moon Faced, Starry Eyed. 
Among the many standout performances were Christopher Turner’s Italian Lippo Florentino and Stuart Laing’s fretting father-to-be Mr Buchanan (Stuart Laing). The children were in top form in their song Catch Me if You Can.
The final scene was rounded off with everyone joining together in a stirring chorus.
Britten’s The Turn of the Screw is staged at 7.30pm on Thursday, Street Scene is repeated at 7pm on Friday and Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro is staged at 7pm on Saturday. Box office: 08448 11 21 21.