Drawing an unashamedly long bow, Freeze Frame Opera’s Puccini double bill brilliantly reimagines Suor Angelicaand Gianni Schicchiin an absorbing and unforgettable evening of opera. In trading the original convent setting for a modern-day drug rehabilitation centre, liberally reinventing roles and characters, and juxtaposing the original sung Italian with an alternative narrative via surtitles, director Rachel MacDonald’s Suor Angelicanevertheless stays true to the emotional core of Forzano’s libretto and Puccini’s score.

Angels & Devils Freeze Frame Opera Suor Angelica

With commanding presence and expressive voice, Nicole Youl is a terrifying Aunt to Harriet Marshall’s Angel. Marshall, the beating heart of the production, is almost unbearably raw and real, nowhere more so than in the final scene. Here, grieving the death of her son and longing to be reunited with him, Angel, with slow-motion precision, straps her arm and prepares the necessary paraphernalia for one last hit. It is shocking.

Ruth Burke is especially convincing as the bossy Rehab Director as is Harriet du Pont, her intern. The original swathe...