Sweeney Todd - The Reader

Opera Omaha brings you the grim tale of Sweeney Todd, the demon barber seeking his revenge on Fleet Street in the city of 19th century London. Written in 1973 by Stephen Sondheim with book by Hugh Wheeler, it was derived from the play by Christopher Bond and eerie Victorian legends.

Sondheim gleaned inspiration from the Bond production and produced one of the most classic pieces of theatre — both in musical and opera form — to grace the stage. Much like a “Jack the Ripper,” urban legend of his time, Sweeney Todd is a murderous saga for the ages. It’s undoubtedly loosely based upon its operatic predecessor, “The Barber of Seville,” so how fitting for an opera company to stage it.

Unlike the Tim Burton movie adaptation starring Johnny Depp or even the original 1970’s production, this version is produced very much in the vein of any other modernized, stripped-down operatic production such as Orfeo or Turandot. From the opening of the overture led by a Greek chorus garbed in red rags, we sense the impending doom that awaits with the introduction of each ill-fated character.