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Opera North to open Leeds' Millennium Square Summer Series 2017




This summer the Orchestra of Opera North ventures out of the theatre and into the sunshine in the heart of Leeds for Opera North in the City, an open-air long weekend of club classics, legendary arias, songs from the shows, and a screening of Back to the Future with live symphonic score.


In partnership with Leeds City Council, Opera North in the City opens the annual Summer Series in Millennium Square on Friday 28 July with The Symphonic Sounds of Back to Basics, a collaboration with the award-winning Leeds club that will see huge dancefloor anthems reworked and performed live by the city’s acclaimed orchestra. It marks the first collaboration between these two very different Leeds institutions, celebrating the full range of the city’s eclectic musical life, as well as 25 years of founder Dave Beer’s trailblazing Back to Basics brand. Further details and special guest appearances to be announced.


From electro house to the opera house, the orchestra demonstrates its unparalleled range the following day (Saturday 29 July) with an evening of the finest operatic arias and show-stopping songs from the musicals. Joining the ensemble for A Night at the Opera are Opera North luminaries Quirijn de Lang (Kiss, Me Kate, The Marriage of Figaro) and Jeni Bern (Kiss, Me Kate, La Bohème), performing arias from Puccini’s heartbreaking Madama Butterfly and Mozart’s towering Don Giovanni, among other
Back to the future

greats from the operatic canon. The Golden Age of musicals is represented by sparkling selections from Rodgers and Hammerstein’s much-loved Carousel, Cole Porter’s sizzling comedy Kiss Me, Kate and more.


Opera North in the City closes with a 1.21-gigawatt bang on Sunday 30 July when Back to the Future comes back to the big screen, with Opera North’s full symphony orchestra performing Alan Silvestri’s stunning musical score live. The 1985 box office smash-turned-cultural phenomenon follows time-travelling teenager Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) back to 1955, where he struggles to change the destiny of his parents (Lea Thompson and Crispin Glover), rescue an eccentric friend (Christopher Lloyd), and solve an alternative-plutonium crisis. Fans old and new can experience this much-loved coming-of-age story as never before, with around twenty minutes of brand new music added to the score by award-winning composer Silvestri.


Phil Boughton, Director of Orchestra and Chorus, Opera North, comments:

Love of music in all its forms is at the core of Opera North, and we are delighted to begin this new collaboration with Leeds City Council and Back to Basics, celebrating the best of live music this summer with three completely different open-air events.

“All three bring Leeds’ resident orchestra, the Orchestra of Opera North, out of the theatre and into the heart of the city, fusing classical virtuosity with dance anthems, showcasing top picks from opera and musical theatre, and firing up the score for Back to the Future. We can’t wait to kickstart this year’s incredible Leeds Summer Series!


Dave Beer, Founder, Back to Basics, comments:

“It's such a privilege to be working alongside Opera North and their amazing orchestra. Bringing the Back to Basics family together in this beautiful setting in the heart of Leeds in collaboration with Leeds City Council will be something that will stay with me for the rest of my life.”


Councillor Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council, says:

It’s fantastic to be joining forces with Opera North, one of our city’s most esteemed cultural institutions, to bring this exciting weekend of events to Millennium Square.

“It is our ambition to put culture at the heart of Leeds and make sure all our events are vibrant, accessible and fun. Having such a diverse and imaginative weekend of events in the city centre will be an important step towards accomplishing that and I look forward to seeing everyone enjoying themselves on the square this summer.”


With a quality selection of street food and drinks complementing world-class music for all tastes, Opera North in the City promises to bring a festival atmosphere to Leeds’ most iconic events space this summer. Tickets for all three events go on sale at 10am on Friday 21 April.


Back for the third year, the Millennium Square Summer Series will continue into August, hosting film screenings, live music concerts and the Parade Stage for Leeds Pride (Sunday 6 August).


Millennium Square Summer Series website


Symphonic Sounds of Back to Basics - credit Danny Payne