A YORKSHIRE dialect version of The Barber of Seville will have its world premiere in Bradford this autumn.

Made especially for Bradford, the production - by celebrated Yorkshire poet, playwright and broadcaster Ian McMillan - will open the inaugural Bradford Opera Festival. It is the first time Rossini's comic masterpiece has been performed in Yorkshire dialect.

It's the story of Count Almaviva, who sets his sights on beautiful Rosina and enlists Figaro - barber, fixer and all-round man of action - to help woo her. No easy feat, since Rosina’s guardian keeps her under lock and key with the intention of marrying her himself.

The cast includes international baritone Oscar Castellino as Figaro, Shipley tenor Joseph Doody, Bradford bass baritone Julian Close and Ukrainian soprano Milana Sarukhanyan, who now lives in Bradford. The performance will feature the Yorkshire Symphony Orchestra and Bradford Festival Choral Society.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Ian McMillan with Oscar Castellino, who plays FigaroIan McMillan with Oscar Castellino, who plays Figaro (Image: Karol Wyszynski)

Ian McMillan said: “I am really excited to be adapting The Barber of Seville into Yorkshire dialect because it is an opera that was just made for the poetic tones of the 'Sublime Tyke Talk'!"

Added director Alex Chisholm: “Six years in the making, we're delighted to present the first ever Bradford Opera Festival. Ian’s version of The Barber of Seville is the perfect piece to start with - Yorkshire to the core, it has love, marriage, class, rebellion, and great tunes. Alongside new work popping up all over Bradford, and opportunities to get involved, The Barber of Seville has something for everyone.”

Bradford Opera Festival aims to make opera "for Bradford audiences in a very Bradford way".

In 2017 Alex worked with conductor Ben Crick to bring Ice Cream: The Opera, by Ian McMillan and Russel Sarre, to the Bradford Festival. More than 600 people stopped by in one day to watch, and from there grew the idea for a home-grown opera festival, featuring classic operas remade for Bradford and new work by local artists.

The festival is seeking opera talent of the future and will run workshops for families and young people, as well a series of ‘chota operas’ - little operas created by and for children and community groups. Also on the programme are two 15 minutes pop-up operas: Bradford writer Kamal Kaan’s Perfume, the story of a romantic encounter between a cosmetic salesperson and a customer, and The Last Gift, linking stories of Emperor Tewodros of Ethiopia, deposed by the British in 1868, and his son, raised in exile in Leeds, a ward of Queen Victoria. Both operas will pop up in shopping centres and community settings around the district as part of Bradford's Music Month.

The Barber of Seville, a co-production of Bradford Opera Festival, Yorkshire Symphony Orchestra and Bradford Festival Choral Society, is at St George's hall on November 23. Call (01274) 432000 or visit bradford-theatres.co.uk