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Artist Development

Supporting young and emerging artists is central to our aspiration to shape the future of opera and to ensure its relevance as an art form.

In addition to our Education department’s grassroots work with the singers of tomorrow, our partnership with National Opera Studio and our Associate Artist programme, Opera North Projects leads a number of initiatives to develop the talents of artists in specific areas.


Part of PRS Foundation’s Talent Development Partner Network supported by PPL, Resonance is Opera North’s residency programme for artists from minority ethnic backgrounds.

Open to musicians, composers and performers aged 18 and over, working in all musical genres and living in the North, the Resonance programme offers rehearsal space for a week at Opera North, a grant of up to £3,000, technical and artistic support, and the opportunity for a work in progress performance for an invited audience.

Find out more and register your interest in Resonance.

The DARE Art Prize

A unique opportunity for artists of all disciplines to work with research scientists from the University of Leeds on the creation of a new work, the DARE Art Prize was launched in 2017 to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the pioneering DARE partnership between Opera North and the University of Leeds.

The first DARE Art Prize was awarded to composer Samuel Hertz, and visual artist Anna Ridler was announced as the second prize winner in March 2018. The current DARE Art Prize artist is poet, writer and visual artist Redell Olsen.

Anna Ridler, 2018-19 DARE Art Prize winner

Not Such Quiet Girls

Having previously devised and performed two acclaimed Opera North Projects commissions – The Girl I Left Behind Me and Pat Kirkwood is Angry – mezzo-soprano Jessica Walker was commissioned to write a new stage work for the Armistice centenary, telling the forgotten stories of women in the Great War. Directed by Leeds Playhouse Literary Associate Jacqui Honess-Martin, Not Such Quiet Girls brings together an all-female cast and chorus, weaving a moving narrative through staged scenes, film projections, music hall songs and forgotten rarities by female composers.

In an Ambulance, painted by Olive Mudie-Cooke between 1916 and 1918 © Imperial War Museum

Adrian Lee: Metamorphoses

Inspired by Ovid’s 2,000-year-old poem, Metamorphoses is a new opera for a solo singer and three live musicians by blind composer, guitarist and founding member of The British Paraorchestra Adrian Lee. The project is produced by Opera North and part-funded through the Unlimited fund for disability-led arts projects. Adrian’s first development residency at Opera North took place in July 2018, and he returned for a second residency in October 2018.

Adrian Lee

BAME composers and creatives programme

A new commission in partnership with Curve Theatre Leicester and the Royal Opera House is aimed specifically at BAME theatre-makers, music-makers and writers who are interested in collaborating to create new works and explore new possibilities in opera. Following a series of workshops and residencies in Leeds and London and an open call for applications, Opera North Projects is working with composer Hannah Kendall in the first year of the two year project, while the Royal Opera House and Leicester Curve will lead on a project with writer and director Zoë Palmer.

Hannah Kendall


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