A Musical Tale for our Times to Tour across the North

21st June 2022


A new show which celebrates music from around the world through the timeless story of Orpheus and Eurydice will be touring the north of England this month as Opera North takes its latest pop-up production on the road.

Inspired by Monteverdi’s opera Orfeo, A Tale of Orpheus & Eurydice transforms the myth of the two star-crossed lovers into a modern-day fable. Audiences will be taken on a 45-minute musical odyssey as the two characters reminisce about their first meeting and how they negotiated their way through an unfamiliar city. On the way, they explore a wealth of musical styles from South Asian classical, opera and folk to jazz, blues and soul, including a new song composed by sitarist, composer and Opera North’s artist-in-residence Jasdeep Singh Degun.

The joyful celebration of music and love is a collaboration between Opera North and South Asian Arts-uk (SAA-uk) and features performers from both South Asian and Western musical traditions. Operatic tenor Nicholas Watts brings Orpheus to life alongside British-Tamil Carnatic singer Ashnaa Sasikaran as Eurydice. Both will assume the same roles when Orpheus, Opera North and SAA-uk’s new reimagining of Monteverdi’s opera Orfeo, opens at the Leeds Grand Theatre in October.

Providing the musical accompaniment for the show is British Indian composer and keyboardist Kavi Pau. He is joined by tabla player Mendi Singh who was one of the participants in the latest Opera North Resonance residencies offering creative opportunities to musicians of colour. Simone Ibbett-Brown directs with Hannah Sibai providing set and costume design.

As director Simone Ibbett-Brown says:

This show provides an amazing introduction to the two artists who will be appearing in Orpheus in the autumn and to some of the musical styles that the audience will encounter, including both opera and classical Tamil singing. Reflecting what will happen in the mainstage production, we’ve also been able to write Eurydice back into the action, building on the scant few lines she was given in Monteverdi’s original work. I hope it will really inspire people to give opera a go – and introduce the art form to communities who might not otherwise feel it’s for them.

The production opens at the Howard Assembly Room in Leeds on Tuesday 21 June before touring to Stage@TheDock in Hull, Victorian Art Gallery at Leicester Museum & Art Gallery, Nottingham’s Theatre Royal, the National Centre for Early Music in York, Kings Hall at Newcastle University, Slung Low in Leeds, City Park Stage in Bradford, Clothworkers Centenary Concert Hall at the University of Leeds and The Lowry in Salford. A special performance will also be held at The Sikh Temple Gurdwara in Leeds. Ticket prices vary by venue, with many offering the performance for free.

Emily Simpson, Opera North Director of Audiences, said:

A Tale of Orpheus and Eurydice is a celebration of musical storytelling in all its myriad forms and, at only 45 minutes long, is the perfect introduction to the power of live performance and to the unique combination of Western opera and Indian classical music which we’ll be exploring further when Orpheus opens later this year. By touring to a variety of community venues across the north of England, we hope to engage and entertain people who may not have encountered opera before and perhaps even spark a lifelong passion for the art form!

Keranjeet Kaur Virdee, Chief Executive and Artistic Director, SAA-uk, added:

2022 is a year of celebration for SAA-uk as we mark and celebrate 25 years of work and pave the way to Leeds 2023 and beyond. This unique collaboration is the end result of a longstanding relationship and many conversations through which Opera North and SAA-uk have developed trust and confidence to be bold and innovative with creative approach. It is exciting to be a part of this evolution and see a new work that is reflective of people like me who have made the UK their home.

A Tale of Orpheus & Eurydice marks the start of Opera North’s Orpheus season, which also features Orpheus after Monteverdi, Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice and Orpheus in the Record Shop, a fusion of spoken word and beatboxing with classical music.


Find out more at