Actor in costume strikes a post outside Victoria Arcade in Leeds, as part of Opera North's new season

News.

LEEDS STEP INTO THE SPOTLIGHT AS OPERA NORTH LAUNCHES ITS AUTUMN SEASON

30th May 2024

Leeds is set to take centre-stage this autumn as Opera North launches its latest season with a series of compelling images to be displayed around its home city and used online. Each of the company’s touring venues will also get a set created especially for them.

The leading UK arts organisation has pictured some of the principal singers from the upcoming season against backdrops featuring instantly recognisable locations across the north of England. These include the Victoria Quarter in Leeds, Old Market Square in Nottingham, the Tyne Bridge in Newcastle, City Hall in Hull, and Salford Quays on the outskirts of Salford. By putting these destinations in the limelight, the company hopes to underline to everyone that opera belongs both to them and to their city.

Emily Simpson, Director of Audiences at Opera North, said:

“We are proud to be based in Leeds. We always open our operas here and are delighted that the city so actively supports the art-form, offering it as part of its rich cultural offer. By putting these destinations in the limelight, we’re looking to underline to residents in and around Leeds that opera belongs to them – and, just like the city itself, offers a warm welcome to everyone, regardless of age or background. We invite the people of Leeds to step into opera with us this autumn.”

Other initiatives to make it easier for audiences to come and experience opera wherever they live include a 6pm performance, more matinees, English subtitles at all performances and sign-interpretation, audio description and touch tours on selected dates. New to opera ticket schemes are also available to encourage newcomers to experience opera for the first time, including the Try it ON scheme offering £20 tickets for first-timers, £10 tickets for Under 30s and students, and free tickets for 16- to 20-year-olds.

The company’s latest season, which opens at Leeds Grand Theatre in September, offers magic, mystery and magnificent music in abundance. A revival of The Magic Flute sees James Brining returning to Opera North to direct a production for all ages packed with fantasy, romance and daring. The adventure sees Prince Tamino embarking on a quest to save Pamina, daughter of the Queen of the Night, from the clutches of Sarastro, the Priest of the Sun, with plenty of surprises along the way and Mozart’s breathtaking score underpinning all the action.

The magic continues with A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Benjamin Britten’s take on Shakespeare’s much-loved comedy, featuring a host of well-known characters including Bottom the weaver and the mischievous Puck. Completing the trio is Gilbert and Sullivan’s hilariously inventive Gothic parody, Ruddigore, with a reluctant villain and modest maiden joined by an assortment of amiable ghosts and scary professional bridesmaids. Directed by Jo Davies, the production was hailed as an instant classic in its first run.

In both Leeds and Huddersfield, families will also be able to enjoy The Big Opera Adventure, an interactive show for children from 5-12 years old who are invited to help save a theatre from closure alongside a host of operatic characters. With music from the Orchestra of Opera North, this is a fun and engaging opportunity for all ages to dive into the world of opera.

Tickets for all performances are available from operanorth.co.uk. After opening in Leeds, the operas tour to Newcastle, Nottingham and Salford.

 

Opera Production Information

 

The Magic Flute
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Enter an enchanted world and join Prince Tamino on his quest to rescue Pamina, daughter of the Queen of the Night, held captive by Sarastro, the Priest of the Sun. Tamino is accompanied by Papageno, a bird-catcher, who is also on a quest – to find himself a wife, his Papagena. But their mission soon becomes a journey of discovery, for nothing – not even Day and Night – is quite as it first appears.

The Magic Flute is a delight for audiences of all ages. Mozart’s miraculous music mixes popular songs with stirring choruses, arias of heart-melting beauty with dazzling vocal fireworks. Celebrating the power of music and imagination to reconcile seeming opposites, James Brining’s production is the ideal introduction to opera for everyone.

Language: English with English subtitles

Length: 2 hours 45 minutes

Cast and Creatives:

Pamina                                                 Claire Lees
Tamino                                                 Egor Zhuravskii
Queen of the Night                          Anna Dennis
Sarastro                                                Msimelelo Mbali
Papageno                                            Emyr Wyn Jones
Papagena                                             Pasquale Orchard
Monostatos                                       Colin Judson
Speaker                                                Andri Björn Róbertsson

Conductor                                           Christoph Koncz
Director                                                James Brining
Set & Costume Designer                Colin Richmond
Lighting Designer                              Chris Davey
Video Designer                                  Douglas O’Connell
Choreographer                                  Tim Claydon
English Translation                           Jeremy Sams

 

A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Benjamin Britten

Out in the wood, Oberon and Tytania, the powerful Fairy King and Queen, are locked in a dispute so fierce it’s causing climate catastrophe. In nearby Athens live two young women, best friends, one loved by two men, the other by none. When these four escape the harsh restrictions of the city for the freedom of the wood, it’s their relationships that hurtle towards catastrophe. By contrast, Bottom the Weaver – keenest of amateur actors – is always sure of himself, even when he’s been made an ass of.

Britten found themes close to his heart in Shakespeare’s beloved comedy – night, dreams, the supernatural – inspiring music that is tuneful, witty, and utterly beguiling. Martin Duncan’s production is joyously theatrical, conjuring a heady, intoxicated atmosphere where love is definitely the drug.

Language: English with English subtitles

Length: 3 hours

Cast and Creatives:

Oberon                                 James Laing
Tytania                                  Daisy Brown
Bottom                                 Henry Waddington
Helena                                  Camilla Harris
Lysander                              Joel Williams
Demetrius                           James Newby
Theseus                                Andri Björn Róbertsson
Hippolyta                             Molly Barker

Conductor                           Garry Walker
Director                                Martin Duncan
Set Designer                       Johan Engels
Costume Designer            Ashley Martin-Davis
Lighting Designer              Bruno Poet
Choreographer                  Ben Wright

 

Ruddigore
Gilbert & Sullivan

Bad baronet Sir Despard Murgatroyd has inherited a centuries-old witch’s curse forcing him to commit a crime a day or die in agony. So it’s a huge relief when timid Robin Oakapple is revealed as his long-lost elder brother and the true inheritor of the curse. Robin’s romance with the faultlessly correct Rose Maybud looks doomed, but his troubles really start when his feeble crimes drag his exasperated ancestors back from the dead to haunt him…

A reluctant villain, a modest maiden, amiable ghosts, and scary professional bridesmaids: Gilbert & Sullivan make merry with Victorian melodrama in this hilariously inventive confection. Jo Davies’ (Carousel, Kiss me, Kate!) production was hailed as an instant classic when it opened and is full of the spirit of G&S’s celebrated topsy-turvy invention.

Language: Sung in English with English subtitles

Length: 2 hours 45 minutes

Cast and Creatives:

Robin Oakapple / Sir Ruthven Murgatroyd             Dominic Sedgwick
Richard Dauntless                                                            Xavier Hetherington
Sir Despard Murgatroyd                                                John Savournin
Old Adam Goodheart                                                      Henry Waddington
Sir Roderic Murgatroyd                                                  Steven Page
Rose Maybud                                                                     Amy Freston
Mad Margaret                                                                   Helen Évora
Dame Hannah                                                                    Claire Pascoe

Conductor                                                                           Anthony Kraus
Director                                                                                Jo Davies
Revival Director                                                                 James Hurley
Set Designer                                                                       Richard Hudson
Costume Designer                                                            Gabrielle Dalton
Lighting Designer                                                              Anna Watson
Choreographer                                                                  Kay Shepherd

 

Performance Diary

All performances start at 7.00pm unless otherwise stated.

AD Audio described performance
BSL Sign interpreted performance for D/deaf and hard of hearing bookers
REL Relaxed performance for bookers who require a more relaxed environment

Fri 27 Sep                                            The Magic Flute

Sat 28 Sep                                           The Magic Flute

Sat 5 Oct              2.30pm                The Magic Flute                                                AD and BSL

Fri 11 Oct                                             The Magic Flute

Sat 12 Oct                                            A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Sat 19 Oct                                            A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Thu 24 Oct                                          A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Sat 26 Oct                                            Ruddigore

Tue 29 Oct           3.00pm                The Big Opera Adventure

Wed 30 Oct         2.00pm                 Ruddigore                                                           REL

Thu 31 Oct          6.00pm                 A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Fri 1 Nov                                              Ruddigore

Sat 2 Nov             2.30pm                Ruddigore                                                           AD

Sat 2 Nov             7.30pm                 Ruddigore