Opera North live-streams from Leeds Town Hall

Published: 24 September 2020
Reporter: Vera Liber

Leeds Town Hall Credit: Robert Workman
Orchestra of Opera North first pilot concert since lockdown Credit: Guzelian
Jasdeep Singh Degun Credit: Courtesy of Opera North

Opera North will launch its Switch ON programme in a live-streamed concert from Leeds Town Hall at Wednesday 30 September, presented by broadcaster and writer Suzy Klein. Switch ON: Live from Leeds will be available to watch live and then on demand, via OperaVision and Opera North’s YouTube channels.

Members of the Orchestra of Opera North and the company's music staff will perform the second movement from Dvořák’s String Quintet No. 2 and accompany the Chorus and soloists including Fflur Wyn, Katie Bird, Tim Nelson, Nicholas Watts, Amy Freston and Elizabeth Llewellyn. The concert will feature highlights from the current Switch ON programme and previews of upcoming events.

Katie Bird and Tim Nelson will perform Mimi and Marcello’s act III duet from La bohème, looking forward to artist and filmmaker Matthew Robins’s animated paper-cut re-imagining of act III of Puccini’s opera, which will be projected onto walls in towns and cities across the North of England in the run-up to Christmas.

An excerpt from the film of Will Todd’s Song of Our Heartland will give a taste of the new community opera, reconstructed in digital form over recent months following the cancellation of its première in May. The Orchestra’s tour of Arya, a sitar concerto commissioned from sitarist and composer Jasdeep Singh Degun, was also disrupted but will be performed in part in a new chamber arrangement.

Written, directed and narrated by John Savournin, a condensed version of Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel has been on an open-air tour across the North this summer. The final date, at St Augustine’s Community Centre, Halifax, was performed for an audience of refugees and asylum seekers, and a short filmed extract will be shown as part of the programme.

Artists and creatives including MC and theatre-maker Andy 'Testament' Brooks and director Aletta Collins will give their insights into Opera North’s Connecting Voices collaboration with Leeds Playhouse, which will reopen the venue in October. Tenor and former Opera North chorister Nicholas Watts will join Head of Music David Cowan at the piano for a song from Schubert's Die schöne Müllerin.

Soprano Elizabeth Llewellyn returns, direct from the role of Mimì in Scottish Opera’s 'socially distanced' La bohème, to lead the Chorus of Opera North in the Easter Hymn from Cavalleria Rusticana to close the evening.

Richard Mantle, General Director, Opera North, said, “we are excited to bring our ensembles back together with old friends and new collaborators in Leeds Town Hall, a venue that shares a long and happy history with the company. The livestream will continue our pioneering partnership with OperaVision, taking our work beyond the opera house to the widest possible audience around the world.”