YOU'D be a fool not to believe something special is happening in Bradford after seeing the Yorkshire dialect version of Barber of Seville.

Set in 1960s Bradford, the cast dove headfirst into recreating this famous tale of class, marriage, mischief, and young love.

When conductor Ben Crick first lifted his baton above the orchestra on Thursday evening, you could have been in 17th Century Europe - until a sea of cardigan-clad men in flat caps stormed onto the stage.

This opera sent a well and truly Yorkshire message from the outset: Forget what you know, we’re doing it our way.

Charming is the perfect word to describe the Bradford-ised version of Barber of Seville - it was as if writer Ian McMillan had the animated, lively cast on puppet strings.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: The Barber of Seville at St George's HallThe Barber of Seville at St George's Hall (Image: Karol Wyszynski)

‘Our’ Figaro was played by Indian baritone Oscar Castellino, who bounced along the stage mischievously.

He completely captivated the audience with the dramatic, unique mannerisms he brought to the role.

The meshing together of Julian Close’s deep-voiced Basilio, Felicity Buckland's flowery portrayal of Rosina, with Samuel Kibble’s rich Count Almaviva was a joy to witness.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

British-Ukrainian classical singer Milana Sarukhanyan, who played Bertha, added to an already silky layer of sound.

It was so thrilling, I felt as if the cast had put me under a spell.

There were little chuckles at jokes about bus fares and name-checks to Shipley and even Armley Prison.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Figaro was played by Indian baritone Oscar CastellinoFigaro was played by Indian baritone Oscar Castellino (Image: Karol Wyszynski)

I had feared the show could veer on creating overly kitsch caricatures who get lost in the plot - but every character gave you a chance to find home and have a laugh.

A week before the show, Mr Crick told the T&A: “Art at its best reflects the values and cultures that create it.”

And he was right - a strange sense of pride and ownership took over my soul. 

Whether it was a copy of Wuthering Heights on a desk, a verse containing the word ‘champion’, or the way costume designer Lu Herbert set the scene, I saw part of my world on a stage I never quite expected.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

And at the heart of it, I saw what Yorkshire poet, playwright, and broadcaster Ian McMillan had offered through his adaptation.

We often forget the poetic nature of our historic dialect. 

Over time, these words have been tempered down for not being ‘proper’ standard English. But they belong in opera and other art forms as much as anything else - let’s bring them back.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

Saying that, as a Yorkshire lass, there were times I wanted to hear more of those words.

Whether it was the acoustics of St George’s Hall itself or simply down to microphone settings, my ability to hear some words dipped in and out.

But perhaps that’s just opera, and you don’t have to hear every part of the performance to have an unforgettable experience.

All I know is a fire made up of reignited creativity and hope has been sparked.

If you’re not in Bradford right now, you’re missing out.