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Opera North 2017/18 Season Announcement


Opera North today announces its innovative and diverse 2017/18 season with eight new productions, three revivals and a host of other highlights



  • Opera North presents 11 mainstage productions for 2017/18, including eight new productions and three revivals.
  • The Little Greats: Six short operas with huge emotions. Festival of one-act operas launches the year, with £10 tickets available for anyone who is a first-time attender in Leeds.
  • Music director Aleksandar Markovic conducts five operas in the season: Pagliacci, Osud, L’enfant et les sortilèges, Don Giovanni and Salome.
  • Richard Farnes returns to conduct a new production of Un ballo in maschera, directed by Tim Albery.
  • Opera North marks its mainstage return to Hull with a varied programme as part of Hull UK City of Culture 2017, including opera performances at Hull New Theatre and Hull City Hall, in addition to a sound installation for the Humber Bridge commissioned by Hull 2017, opening in April.
  • 2016 production of Billy Budd reworked for dramatic concert performances at Aldeburgh Music Festival in Summer 2017, with Roderick Williams and Alan Oke returning to sing Billy Budd and Captain Vere, joined by Brindley Sherratt as Claggart.
  • Online film release of the complete Opera North Ring cycle makes Wagner’s masterwork available for free on-demand streaming to a global audience from February 2017. Das Rheingold will also be broadcast on BBC Four.
  • Work presented in the Howard Assembly Room, Leeds, includes India’s Children: a new co-commission with South Asian Arts UK marking 70 years since Partition.
  • Members of the hugely versatile, 36-strong, full time Chorus of Opera North take all principal roles in Trial by Jury, in addition to many other roles throughout the year.
  • The Orchestra of Opera North takes centre stage in Opera North’s series of dramatic concert stagings with Richard Strauss’s Salome, and continues to expand its symphonic concert repertoire.
  • The Orchestra of Opera North is also performing more events programmed for families and newer audiences, with a new annual series of free outdoor concerts held in Leeds city centre starting from Summer 2017.
  • Education and outreach programme includes In Harmony Opera North, now reaching over 1000 schoolchildren every week in Leeds, and a new year-long residency at the inner-city Adelaide Primary School, Hull, as part of Hull 2017 UK City of Culture.
  • DARE, Opera North’s pioneering partnership with The University of Leeds, celebrates its 10th anniversary


The Little Greats: Six short operas with huge emotions

Autumn 2017 sees Opera North return to an experimental format first presented in 2004 for a new festival season. The Little Greats brings six short operas together in a series of changing combinations, from the well-known to rarely performed jewels of the genre: Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci, Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortilèges, Mascagni’s Cavalleria rusticana, Gilbert and Sullivan’s Trial by Jury, Janáček’s Osud, and Leonard Bernstein’s Trouble in Tahiti.

The season journeys from the raw, hot-blooded passion of 19th century Italian verismo, via the popular charm and unmatched comic style of Gilbert and Sullivan’s Victorian operetta, through the inventive modernism of Ravel and Janáček at the start of the 20th century, and ending in the 1950s with Bernstein’s fusion of operatic conventions with the newer musical languages of American jazz and musical theatre.

A company of artists has been assembled, all taking on multiple roles, with involvement of the Chorus in all but one of the pieces, and the whole season epitomises the kind of company spirit that is essential to Opera North’s character. The Chorus of Opera North is involved in five of the six pieces, and they also take all the principal roles in Trial by Jury. The ensemble of guest principal singers includes Giselle Allen, Peter Auty, Katie Bray, Richard Burkhard, Wallis Giunta, John Graham-Hall, Quirijn de Lang, Rosalind Plowright, Phillip Rhodes, John Savournin, Joseph Shovelton, Jonathan Stoughton, Ann Taylor, and Fflur Wyn. Opera North has played a key role in developing the careers of many of these artists.

The Little Greats is a season celebrating the rich variety of artistic elements that create opera: music, song, drama, poetry, stage design, dance and more. Presenting six operas in an accessible way, each of the pieces packs all the explosive power and energy of a complete operatic experience into their smaller form.
In Opera North’s home city of Leeds, the six operas will be presented in changing rotation, offering audiences the greatest possible flexibility to create their own path through the season, and creating new and unusual pairings in a single evening. Tickets for each opera will be sold separately, allowing audiences to choose to see a double-bill, have dinner before or after one of the pieces, or to simply attend one short opera at the most convenient time.

New links will be explored between the operas, with all six productions sharing some common elements of set and lighting design by Charles Edwards, who also directs the show which opens the season, Pagliacci. Annabel Arden directs L’enfant et les sortilèges and Osud, with the remaining three directed by John Savournin (Trial by Jury), Karolina Sofulak (Cavalleria rusticana) and Matthew Eberhardt (Trouble in Tahiti).


New ticket offers for The Little Greats: £10 tickets for new attenders

Opera North is committed to developing new audiences for opera and The Little Greats festival is the perfect way for newer audiences to experiment with the range of operatic styles in a shorter, bite-sized format. An enhanced set of ticket offers will be made available in Leeds especially for this season:

£10 tickets for anyone new to opera, available for every performance in The Little Greats season in Leeds, supported by the Opera North Future Fund.

£5 tickets for members of the Under 30s scheme and full-time students, available for every performance in The Little Greats (offered at all seat levels).

• Tickets on sale in Leeds from 28 February for season tickets, and on general sale from 27 March. (On sale dates and terms for tour venues may vary; further details available at


Richard Mantle, General Director, comments:

What better way to start the new season than with a festival which really does demonstrate the diversity of operatic style, and the indomitable company spirit which is at the heart of everything we do. Opera is an enormous collective endeavour, and we hope in The Little Greats festival season, that our audiences will really feel as though they are on this incredible journey of discovery with us, as we fuse some rarely performed pieces into new pairings with enormous power and energy.

“I am especially pleased that we have been able to make the £10 ticket offer for first-time attenders available for this festival season. This has been underwritten by the Opera North Future Fund, reflecting the generous philanthropy of our core private supporters and their desire to help Opera North achieve genuine new audience development. This is a real demonstration of how passionately the opera audience wants opera to survive as an art form and how keen existing audiences are for more new people to experience the art form they love. The Company is extremely grateful for their support.”



Winter and Spring 2018

• Opera North’s Winter 2018 season includes revivals of two of the most popular pieces in the repertoire: Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, in a classic production by Tim Albery, and Alessandro Talevi’s innovative take on Mozart’s darkest work, Don Giovanni.

• Opera North’s first ever production of Verdi’s Un ballo in maschera sees the Company’s former music director Richard Farnes return to conduct, in a production by Tim Albery with a cast including Rafael Rojas as Gustavo, Adrienn Miksch as Amelia, and Patricia Bardon as Madame Arvindson.

• Opera North’s renowned series of dramatic concert stagings continues with Strauss’s viscerally shocking Salome, conducted by Aleksandar Markovic.


Music director, Aleksandar Markovic, comments:

It is such a joy to be working with the incredible musicians of the Chorus and Orchestra of Opera North in the opera house but also on the concert stage. This orchestra is so versatile and hard-working – they throw themselves wholeheartedly into each and every challenge. I have hugely enjoyed the concerts I have conducted to date in the Kirklees Concert Season, and I am looking forward to unveiling the full programme for the 17/18 concert season soon.

“This year I will be conducting five operas, including three short pieces in The Little Greats festival season, one of Mozart’s unrivalled masterpieces in Don Giovanni, and Strauss’s Salome, a work which is perfect for introducing new audiences to the sheer thrill, sensuality, and emotional intensity of opera.”




Howard Assembly Room and Opera North Projects

The Little Greats is complemented by its sister festival Operatic, a series of events in the Howard Assembly Room, Leeds. Exploring the notion of what is considered ‘operatic’ across musical genres, performance and film, this includes an immersive live performance installation which returns to the very genesis of the art form of opera itself, taking inspiration from Monteverdi's Orfeo.

Other new Opera North projects in the Autumn season include India’s Children, a new production in collaboration with South Asian Arts UK, marking 70 years since Partition, which will bring together an ensemble of musicians from across Western and South Asian musical traditions. The Howard Assembly Room’s bold mix of international, and cross genre programming includes a rare UK performance by American-Canadian violinist Leila Josefowicz accompanied by John Novacek and a welcome return visit from folk trio Lau.



Opera North Education

Education continues to be a vital and thriving part of Opera North’s work, with a variety of workshops, schools’ activity, family activities and music ensembles currently running for young people aged 0-19, in addition to weekly workshops for adults and two large scale Community Residencies in Leeds (In Harmony Opera North) and Hull (Opera North Singing School).

A small sample of Opera North’s widely varied Education work:

• The Switch ON project has now been working in partnership with St George’s Crypt in Leeds for four years, delivering performance workshops to vulnerable adults affected by homelessness and helping them to rebuild self-confidence and communication skills.

• The development and progression of young singers and musicians, crucial to the future of opera, is realised in branches of the Opera North Children’s Chorus for children aged 8-14. Currently running in Leeds and Newcastle, a new Children’s Chorus is due to start in Nottingham in September 2017. Young people aged 14-19 form the Opera North Youth Chorus.

• The Company is continuing to expand Education activity across all of our touring regions in the North of England, particularly in Leeds, Manchester/Salford, Newcastle and Nottingham, with schools’ matinees of Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortilèges following 2017’s Hansel and Gretel, as well as introductory ‘Whistle Stop’ performances of Don Giovanni.



Full mainstage repertoire 2017/18


Summer 2017

Billy Budd

Benjamin Britten (1951)

Opens Sat 24 June 2017 (2 performances)
Sung in English

Opera North’s 2016 Billy Budd is reworked for two dramatic concert performances at Snape Maltings, as part of the 2017 Aldeburgh Festival, in the town most associated with Benjamin Britten’s life and work. It is believed to be the first time that Billy Budd has been performed in Aldeburgh in its entirety.

Billy Budd explores many of Britten’s recurrent themes with penetrating psychological insight: innocence corrupted, good destroyed by evil, and the outsider. It tells the tale of Billy, a young sailor who radiates beauty and goodness, provoking the envy of the ship’s Master at Arms, John Claggart. The one man who has it in his power to save Billy is the HMS Indomitable’s Captain Vere, who is haunted by his failure to do so.

For many, the power of Britten’s large-scale orchestral writing, the all-male forces, and the intensity with which he responds to the work’s subject matter make this his greatest operatic achievement.

A cast of leading Britten interpreters, conducted by Garry Walker, includes Roderick Williams in the title role and Alan Oke as Vere, both returning from Opera North’s 2016 production. Brindley Sherratt joins the cast as Claggart, the Master at Arms who helps seal Billy’s fate.

Cast and Creative Team includes:

Captain Vere - Alan Oke
Billy Budd - Roderick Williams
John Claggart - Brindley Sherratt
Mr Redburn - Peter Savidge
Mr Flint - Dean Robinson
Lieutenant Ratcliffe - Callum Thorpe
Red Whiskers - Daniel Norman
Donald - Eddie Wade
Dansker - Conal Coad
Novice - Oliver Johnston
The Novice’s Friend - Gavan Ring

Conductor - Garry Walker
Assistant Director - Matthew Eberhardt


Autumn 2017

Pagliacci (NEW)

Ruggero Leoncavallo (1892)

Opens Sat 16 September 2017 (14 performances)
Sung in Italian with English titles

Part of The Little Greats: Six short operas with huge emotions

Thrilling, raw and shocking, this ‘bleeding slice of life’ packs an explosive punch into its running time of just over an hour. A travelling company of commedia dell’arte players prepares for a show, but their performance soon disintegrates, as a hidden affair unravels into dangerous, violent jealousy.

Leoncavallo’s most successful opera, Pagliacci (The Clowns) is a classic example of the heightened intensity, ‘real-life’ settings and compulsive dramatic drive of the Italian verismo style, with musical highlights including Canio’s celebrated aria ‘Vesti la giubba’ and Tonio’s Prologue. Often seen in a double-bill with Mascagni’s Cavalleria rusticana, as part of The Little Greats festival season, Pagliacci can also be seen paired with Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortilèges or Janáček’s Osud.

Aleksandar Markovic conducts and Charles Edwards directs and designs the opening show in Opera North’s festival of one act operas, with costumes by Gabrielle Dalton. Peter Auty returns to Opera North as the jealous husband, Canio, with Richard Burkhard as Tonio.

Cast and Creative Team includes:

Canio - Peter Auty
Tonio - Richard Burkhard
Beppe - Joseph Shovelton
Silvio - Phillip Rhodes

Conductor - Aleksandar Markovic
Director - Charles Edwards
Set Designer - Charles Edwards
Costume Designer - Gabrielle Dalton
Lighting Designer - Charles Edwards
Movement Director - Tim Claydon



L’enfant et les sortilèges (NEW)

Maurice Ravel (1925)

Opens Sat 16 September 2017 (16 performances including four schools’ matinees)

Sung in French with English titles

Part of The Little Greats: Six short operas with huge emotions

Ravel’s captivating ‘lyric fantasy’, L’enfant et les sortilèges (The Child and the Magic Spells), composed to a libretto by the French novelist Colette, is dazzling, witty and surreal in equal measure.

A young boy argues with his mother, refuses to do his homework and flies into a tantrum, destroying the objects in the room around him. But in this childhood fable of enchantment, everything around the boy comes magically to life. Outside in the garden, he is also shunned by the animals and plants he has tormented and hurt, until he is forgiven after helping an injured squirrel.

One of only two short operas composed by Ravel, L’enfant et les sortilèges is both a delightful, whimsical fantasy and a profoundly moving response to the generational trauma of war, witnessed by both composer and librettist. Its exquisite, innovative score is filled with jewel-like surprises, perfectly capturing and deftly characterising talking animals and magical nursery furniture alike.

Canadian mezzo-soprano Wallis Giunta heads a cast conducted by Aleksandar Markovic and directed by Annabel Arden, whose most recent production for Opera North, Andrea Chénier, was widely praised.

Cast and Creative Team includes:

The Child - Wallis Giunta
His mother/ Chinese cup/ Squirrel - Ann Taylor
Fire/ Nightingale/ Princess - Fflur Wyn
Grandfather Clock/ Tom Cat - Quirijn de Lang
Armchair/ Tree - John Savournin
Tea Pot/ Tree Frog/ Arithmetic - John Graham-Hall
Louis XV Chair/ Female Cat/ Owl - Katie Bray

Conductor - Aleksandar Markovic
Director - Annabel Arden
Set Designer - Charles Edwards
Costume Designer - Hannah Clark
Lighting Designer - Charles Edwards
Choreographer - Theo Clinkard



Cavalleria rusticana (NEW)

Pietro Mascagni (1889)

Opens Wed 27 September 2017 (15 performances)
Sung in Italian with English titles

Part of The Little Greats: Six short operas with huge emotions

The craze for the short and sharp thrills of grittily intense verismo opera was launched by Mascagni’s wildly popular Cavalleria rusticana (Rustic Chivalry), which shares both its shock value and its core themes of betrayal, jealousy and vengeance with Pagliacci, the opera it is most often paired with.

Set at Easter, Cavalleria rusticana tells the tale of Turiddù, a soldier, who has returned from the army to find his lover, Lola, has married another man. In consolation, he has seduced Santuzza, leaving her desperate, while still nurturing his obsessive desire for Lola.

Polish director Karolina Sofulak makes her directing debut for Opera North. Recent work includes a critically acclaimed production of La Traviata at the Baltic State Opera in Gdańsk, Peter Maxwell Davies’ Mr Emmet Takes a Walk at the Polish National Opera, and Breaking the Rules for the Brighton Early Music Festival.

Conducted by Tobias Ringborg, a strong ensemble cast of regular Opera North performers includes Giselle Allen (Santuzza), Katie Bray (Lola), and Phillip Rhodes (Alfio). Up-and-coming young British tenor Jonathan Stoughton makes his Opera North debut as Turiddù, having sung Siegfried for Longborough Festival Opera in 2013 and covered the same role for Opera North’s Ring in 2016.

Rosalind Plowright OBE sings Mamma Lucia, returning to Opera North for the first time since triumphant performances in the title role of Ponchielli’s La Gioconda in 1993. A regular performer at the world’s top opera houses over a career spanning 35 years, her most recent roles include Contessa di Coigny in Andrea Chénier at the Royal Opera, and Kostelnička in Jenůfa at the Metropolitan Opera.

Cast and Creative team includes:

Santuzza - Giselle Allen
Lola - Katie Bray
Turiddù - Jonathan Stoughton
Alfio - Phillip Rhodes
Mamma Lucia - Rosalind Plowright

Conductor - Tobias Ringborg
Director - Karolina Sofulak
Set Designer - Charles Edwards
Costume Designer - Gabrielle Dalton
Lighting Designer - Charles Edwards
Movement Director - Tim Claydon


Trial by Jury (NEW)

Arthur Sullivan (1875)

Opens Wed 27 September 2017 (9 performances)
Sung in English

Part of The Little Greats: Six short operas with huge emotions

The first true collaboration by the librettist W. S. Gilbert and the composer Arthur Sullivan, Trial by Jury was an immediate success at its 1875 premiere, launching a series of 14 comic operas which was to include The Pirates of Penzance and The Mikado.

A courtroom farce which quickly heads into delightful absurdity, Trial by Jury established much of the formula for Gilbert and Sullivan’s hugely popular works.

This new production is directed by one of today’s finest G&S directors and performers, John Savournin (Artistic Director, Charles Court Opera), making his mainstage directing debut for Opera North. It is conducted by Oliver Rundell, Opera North’s Chorus Master, whose previous conducting for the Company includes Ruddigore (2012) and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2013).

Members of the multi-talented Chorus of Opera North take all roles in Trial by Jury, having long since proven equally adept in opera, operetta and musical theatre, where most recently they performed all of the roles in a new West Yorkshire Playhouse co-production of Sondheim’s Into the Woods (2016).

The cast includes Amy Freston as the Plaintiff (Rose Maybud, Ruddigore; Rapunzel Into the Woods), Nicholas Watts as the Defendant (Jack, Into the Woods; Ferrando, Così fan tutte) and Claire Pascoe (Witch, Into the Woods; La Ciesca, Gianni Schicchi). Jeremy Peaker (Mysterious Man, Into the Woods; Mathieu, Andrea Chénier), a founder member of the New D’Oyly Carte Opera Company in 1988, sings the Learned Judge, with Richard Mosley-Evans (Talpa, Il tabarro) as the Usher.

Cast and Creative team includes:

The Learned Judge - Jeremy Peaker
The Plaintiff - Amy Freston
The Defendant - Nicholas Watts
Counsel for the Plaintiff - Claire Pascoe
Usher - Richard Mosley-Evans

Conductor - Oliver Rundell
Director - John Savournin
Set Designer - Charles Edwards
Costume Designer - Gabrielle Dalton
Lighting Designer - Charles Edwards
Movement Director - Tim Claydon



Osud (NEW)

Leos Janáček (1907)

Opens Wed 11 October 2017 (7 performances)
Sung in English with English titles

Part of The Little Greats: Six short operas with huge emotions

Janáček’s rarely performed opera Osud tells the story of a composer, Živný, who has written an autobiographical opera about his obsessive, tormented love for Míla, with whom he has a young son. The last act is unfinished, however: the opera cannot be concluded until it has been lived.

Despite its concision, Osud has an expansive lyricism that flowers more readily than in Janáček’s terser late operas, while evoking the cadence and rhythm of Czech speech. The score glows with what his biographer John Tyrrell describes as ‘some of his most incandescent music’.

This new production, a first for Opera North, is directed by Annabel Arden and conducted by Aleksandar Markovic, who was, from 2009-15, Music Director of the Brno Philharmonic Orchestra in the town which Janáček made his home.

John Graham-Hall and Giselle Allen, who last appeared together at Opera North in Katya Kabanova in 2007, sing the roles of the composer Živný and his tragic muse Míla, with Rosalind Plowright OBE as Míla’s Mother.

Cast and Creative team includes:

Míla Valková - Giselle Allen
Živný John - Graham-Hall
Míla’s Mother - Rosalind Plowright
Dr. Suda - Peter Auty
Lhotský - Richard Burkhard
Miss Stuhlá - Ann Taylor

Conductor - Aleksandar Markovic
Director - Annabel Arden
Set Designer - Charles Edwards
Costume Designer - Hannah Clark
Lighting Designer - Charles Edwards
Movement Director - Tim Claydon



Trouble in Tahiti (NEW)

Leonard Bernstein (1952)

Opens Wed 11 October 2017 (9 performances)
Sung in English

Part of The Little Greats: Six short operas with huge emotions

The American Dream turns suffocatingly sour for an unhappily married couple in this one-act opera by Leonard Bernstein, whose prolific output in opera and musical theatre includes Candide, On The Town and West Side Story.

A darkly witty satire on married life in suburbia, written while he was on his own honeymoon, Bernstein’s first opera was heavily influenced both by the syncopated rhythms of jazz and the distinctive American vernacular of Hollywood movies and Broadway musicals. Sam and Dinah appear to have the perfect 1950s life – it’s a sunny morning in their “little white house” – but their growing failure to connect exposes a collective sense of entrapment. Refusing to see their son star in the school play, Sam escapes to the competitive, hyper-masculine world of work and the gym, while Dinah loses herself in “Island Magic” at the movies, where the hit picture of the day is the ominously titled Trouble in Tahiti.

Quirijn de Lang sings Sam, following his recent leading roles as Fred Graham/Petruchio in Kiss Me, Kate and Count Almaviva in The Marriage of Figaro (both 2015), while Canadian mezzo Wallis Giunta plays Dinah, following her title role in La Cenerentola (2017).

Swedish conductor Tobias Ringborg leads in the pit, while Matthew Eberhardt makes his directing debut for Opera North, following extensive work for the Company as an assistant director (Kiss Me, Kate; The Marriage of Figaro; La traviata; Billy Budd; Hansel and Gretel).

Cast and Creative team includes:

Sam - Quirijn de Lang
Dinah - Wallis Giunta

Conductor - Tobias Ringborg
Director - Matthew Eberhardt
Set Designer - Charles Edwards
Costume Designer - Hannah Clark
Lighting Designer - Charles Edwards
Movement Director - Tim Claydon



Winter 2018

Madama Butterfly

Giacomo Puccini (1904)

Opens Fri 19 January 2018 (13 performances)
Sung in Italian with English titles

Madama Butterfly is a tender story of innocent love crushed amidst two utterly different cultures, which resonates as strongly as ever in today’s world.

French soprano Anne Sophie Duprels has won widespread praise in this production in the role of Cio-Cio San, a young Japanese woman who sacrifices everything to marry a U.S. Naval Officer, yet is cruelly discarded when he returns to his ‘real’ life in America. She is joined for this revival by Lithuanian tenor Merūnas Vitulskis, making his UK and Opera North debut as Pinkerton.

Globally hailed as one of the best-loved of all operas, Madama Butterfly features some of Puccini’s most popular music, such as Butterfly’s touching aria hoping for Pinkerton’s return, “Un bel di” (One fine day), her ‘Flower Duet’ with Suzuki, and above all, the passionate love duet which closes Act I. It is conducted by Martin Pickard, who has previously conducted many performances for Opera North, including La vida breve/Gianni Schicchi, Macbeth and Peter Grimes.

With its exquisitely simple set and costumes, this emotionally direct and subtle production by Tim Albery is devastating in its impact, as Butterfly’s dawning realisation of the harsh reality of her circumstances leads inexorably to a final act of despair.

Cast and Creative team includes:

Cio-Cio San - Anne Sophie Duprels
Pinkerton - Merūnas Vitulskis
Sharpless - Peter Savidge
Suzuki - Ann Taylor
Goro - Joseph Shovelton
Bonze - Dean Robinson

Conductor - Martin Pickard
Director - Tim Albery
Set Designer - Hildegard Bechtler
Costume Designer - Ana Jebens
Original Lighting Designer - Peter Mumford



Un ballo in maschera (NEW)

Giuseppe Verdi (1859)

Opens Sat 3 February 2018 (8 performances)
Sung in Italian with English titles

Opera North’s new production of Un ballo in maschera is directed by Tim Albery and conducted by former music director, Richard Farnes: a creative pairing which has previously borne significant fruit in Verdi’s major operas, with productions of Don Carlos (2009) and Otello (2013).

Un ballo in maschera also reunites director Tim Albery with the designer Hannah Clark, following their extremely well-received production of The Coronation of Poppea for Opera North in 2014. Verdi’s passionate, elegant, and dramatically intense opera, inspired by the real-life assassination of Sweden’s King Gustav in 1792, hinges on the story of a leader threatened by conspirators, who is also in love with the wife of one of his closest friends.

A powerful international cast includes Mexican tenor Rafael Rojas as Gustavo, following his most recent appearances in the title role of Andrea Chénier (2015) and upcoming performances as Calaf in Turandot (April- May 2016). Young New Zealand-born baritone Phillip Rhodes plays Anckarstroem.

Hungarian soprano Adrienn Miksch, makes her UK and Opera North debut as Amelia, and Irish mezzo Patricia Bardon sings the fortune-teller Madame Arvindson, returning following appearances as the Principessa in Suor Angelica (2016). Armenian soprano Tereza Gevorgyan is Oscar, following Opera North’s support through her studies at the National Opera Studio in 2014-15 and her company debut as Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi in 2015.

Richard Farnes returns for the first time following the conclusion of his tenure at Opera North with acclaimed performances of Wagner’s Ring in 2016. His current schedule for 2016/2017 includes Il trovatore at Covent Garden, and La traviata at Glyndebourne.

Cast and Creative team includes:

King Gustavo - Rafael Rojas 
Anckarstroem - Phillip Rhodes 
Amelia - Adrienn Miksch 
Madame Arvindson - Patricia Bardon 
Oscar - Tereza Gevorgyan

Conductor - Richard Farnes
Director - Tim Albery
Set & Costume Designer - Hannah Clark
Lighting Designer - Thomas C. Hase

Supported by a generous gift from The Liz and Terry Bramall Foundation, and by the Friends of Opera North


Don Giovanni

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1787)

Opens Sat 17 February 2018 (11 performances)
Sung in Italian with English titles

Music director Aleksandar Markovic conducts a revival of Alessandro Talevi’s witty and imaginative 2012 production of Don Giovanni. Mozart’s sublimely beautiful music, driven by the dramatic urgency of a fast-unfolding plot, stands in stark contrast with the barbarous cruelty of his deeply ambiguous anti-hero. Having seduced his way across Europe, with 2065 women listed in his book of conquests, the unrepentant Don also resorts to despicable violence, killing the father of a woman who resists his advances.

Set and costumes designed by Madeleine Boyd locate the action across disparate eras and classes, with the archetypal Giovanni moving with ease between the starched Victorian mourning dress of Donna Anna and Don Ottavio, and the rock’n’roll frivolity of a 1950’s wedding party for Zerlina and Masetto.

The cast reunites William Dazeley as the Don, Alastair Miles as Leporello, and Elizabeth Atherton as Donna Elvira. They are joined for this revival by young Irish soprano Jennifer Davis and British bass James Platt both making Opera North debuts as Donna Anna and the Commendatore, and by Kathryn Rudge as Zerlina (Sesto, Giulio Cesare; Hermia, A Midsummer Night’s Dream).

Nicholas Watts (Almaviva, The Barber of Seville; Ferrando, Così fan tutte) sings Ottavio, and Ross McInroy (Schmidt, Andrea Chénier; Cinderella’s Prince, Into the Woods) sings Masetto. Both are also full time members of the Chorus of Opera North.

Cast and Creative team includes:

Don Giovanni - William Dazeley
Il Commendatore - James Platt
Donna Anna - Jennifer Davis
Don Ottavio - Nicholas Watts
Donna Elvira - Elizabeth Atherton
Leporello - Alastair Miles
Masetto - Ross McInroy
Zerlina - Kathryn Rudge

Conductor - Aleksandar Markovic
Director - Alessandro Talevi
Set & Costume Designer - Madeleine Boyd
Lighting Designer - Matthew Haskins
Choreographer - Victoria Newlyn
Aerial Stunt Advisor - Craig Turner


Spring 2018

Salome (NEW)

Richard Strauss (1905)

Opens Thu 19 April 2018
Sung in German with English titles
Concert staging

Continuing Opera North’s successful series of dramatic concert stagings, Strauss’s most intense and shocking opera is conducted by music director Aleksandar Markovic.

Based on Oscar Wilde’s play of the same title, Strauss’s third opera Salome was an immediate, albeit scandalous, success, permeating its Biblical theme with disturbing layers of violence and eroticism. The magnificently rich and intricate score, written for vast orchestral forces, is both ferociously exciting and surprisingly lyrical, building to a feverish climax that has never lost its capacity to chill the blood.

Salome, the teenage step-daughter of King Herod, is an object of fascination for the guard Narraboth, and for Herod himself. Agreeing to perform a dance for her step-father, she demands a macabre gift in return: the severed head of the man she herself desires, the imprisoned prophet Jochanaan (John the Baptist).

American soprano Jennifer Holloway makes her Opera North debut in the title role of Salome, a role she recently sang in Dresden, after moving from mezzo to soprano repertoire. Her most recent UK role was Adalgisa in Norma (ENO 2016), in Christopher Alden’s production which originated at Opera North; previous UK appearances include Orlofsky in Die Fledermaus, and Musetta in La bohème (both ENO); Hänsel in Hänsel und Gretel and Meg Page in Falstaff (both Glyndebourne Festival).

Swedish mezzo Katarina Karnéus, whose distinguished career has taken her to most of the major opera houses around the world, sings Herodias, returning to Opera North following appearances as Fricka in Die Walküre (2012), while Jochanaan is sung by Robert Hayward, most recently seen as Wotan in Die Walküre in Opera North’s 2016 Ring cycle.

Cast and Creative team includes:

Salome - Jennifer Holloway
Herodias - Katarina Karnéus
Jochanaan - Robert Hayward
Conductor - Aleksandar Markovic

Further cast and creatives to be announced.




LEEDS - Performance Diary 2017-18

Autumn 2017 – The Little Greats: Short operas with huge emotions

Leeds Grand Theatre

Sat 16 Sept - Pagliacci / L’enfant et les sortilèges - 7.15pm & 9.00pm
Sat 23 Sept - Pagliacci / L’enfant et les sortilèges - 7.15pm & 9.00pm
Wed 27 Sept - Cavalleria rusticana / Trial by Jury - 7.15pm & 9.00pm
Fri 29 Sept - Trial by Jury / L’enfant et les sortilèges - 7.15pm & 8.30pm
Sat 30 Sept - Pagliacci / Cavalleria rusticana - 7.15pm & 9.00pm
Sat 7 Oct - L’enfant et les sortilèges - 2.15pm
Sat 7 Oct - Cavalleria rusticana / Trial by Jury - 7.15pm & 9.00pm
Wed 11 Oct - Osud / Trouble in Tahiti - 7.15pm & 9.00pm
Thu 12 Oct - Pagliacci / Cavalleria rusticana - 7.15pm & 9.00pm
Fri 13 Oct - Trouble in Tahiti / Trial by Jury - 7.15pm & 8.30pm
Sat 14 Oct - Trouble in Tahiti - 2.15pm
Sat 14 Oct - Osud / Cavalleria rusticana - 7.15pm & 9.00pm
Wed 18 Oct - Pagliacci/ Osud - 7.15pm & 9.00pm
Thu 19 Oct - Cavalleria rusticana / Trouble in Tahiti - 7.15pm & 9.00pm
Fri 20 Oct - Osud / L’enfant et les sortilèges - 7.15pm & 9.00pm
Sat 21 Oct - Trouble in Tahiti / Trial by Jury - 2.15pm & 3.30pm
Sat 21 Oct - Pagliacci / Cavalleria rusticana - 7.15pm & 9.00pm


Winter 2018

Leeds Grand Theatre

Fri 19 Jan - Madama Butterfly - 7.30pm
Sun 28 Jan - Madama Butterfly - 4.00pm
Wed 31 Jan - Madama Butterfly - 7.30pm
Sat 3 Feb - Un ballo in maschera - 7.00pm
Sat 10 Feb - Un ballo in maschera - 7.00pm
Fri 16 Feb - Madama Butterfly - 7.30pm
Sat 17 Feb - Don Giovanni - 7.00pm
Tue 20 Feb - Madama Butterfly - 7.30pm
Wed 21 Feb - Don Giovanni - 7.00pm
Thu 22 Feb - Un ballo in maschera - 7.00pm
Fri 23 Feb - Don Giovanni - 7.00pm
Sat 24 Feb - Madama Butterfly - 7.30pm
Tue 27 Feb - Un ballo in maschera - 7.00pm
Wed 28 Feb - Madama Butterfly - 7.30pm
Thu 1 Mar - Don Giovanni - 7.00pm
Fri 2 Mar - Un ballo in maschera - 7.00pm
Sat 3 Mar - Don Giovanni - 7.00pm


Spring 2018

Leeds Town Hall

Thu 19 Apr - Salome - 7.30pm
Sun 22 Apr - Salome - 4.00pm
Wed 25 Apr - Salome - 7.30pm