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The ideal introduction to opera: Jonathan Dove's charming family opera, told with a beguiling blend of evocative music, stunning puppetry and engaging visual storytelling.

Most recent performance

There are currently no scheduled performances of Swanhunter. It was last on stage 2–11 April 2015 as part of the Spring 2014/15 season.


In search of a bride, Lemminkäinen is determined to travel to the icy north, against his mother’s wishes. There he must face the Devil’s Elk and the Swan on Death’s River. Little does he know an unseen danger lurks in the shadows.


Opera North joins forces with acclaimed theatre company The Wrong Crowd in a new production of Jonathan Dove's Swanhunter, creating an inventive fusion of opera, puppetry and live action. Dove and his librettist Alasdair Middleton take their story from the Finnish folktale The Kalevala, weaving an enthralling musical adventure that builds on the tremendous success of their previous collaboration, The Adventures of Pinocchio.

Swanhunter is ingeniously scored for a cast of six singers. They are accompanied by a six-part band, which, as Dove explains, includes several instruments 'you might expect to hear at a dance, like a ceilidh'. Dove and Middleton have made their opera a celebration of the power of song, through the magic spells sung by the hero and in the glorious coloratura writing for the Swan. Designed with a cross-generational audience in mind, Swanhunter is an ideal introduction to opera.

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