Opera North Blog

Opera North Children's Chorus helps Leeds re-imagine itself


With OverWorlds & UnderWorlds starting today, we talked to some of the children in our own Opera North Children's Chorus to see what it's like to be involved in the Cultural Olympiad project and what to expect from their performances this weekend.

Sophie Lansdown

It’s a really exciting prospect to be singing in the County Arcade and to be wearing costumes. We will be wearing a black cloak and a hat and a neckerchief, though we haven’t actually seen them yet. All those people listening to us singing and being at our third performance is really getting me excited. Amazingly, four of the songs we sing were written for us by Gavin Bryars! The music’s really good but some languages (German!) are very tricky to learn, especially as we’ve also had to sing in Spanish and lots of other languages for World Songs. My favourite is probably ‘Nun heretzu un shvigashuil’ (a very quick song) because it is fun and we were able to make up our own version: ‘a pig was walking down the road…’

The recording sessions were hard and long but Mick (the Sound Recorder) has hopefully made us sound brilliant! Singing without hearing the music proved to be tricky but Justin, who had it on headphones, kept us in time. Overall the recording sessions were tiring but OverWorlds & UnderWorlds is a great opportunity and I am certainly looking forward to performing.

Harriet Edwards

I auditioned for Opera North Children’s Chorus because I love singing and I wanted to do more.  Singing in the chorus has given me the opportunities to do things I would have never done before – like performing in The Royal Albert Hall.

At the moment we are preparing to perform during OverWorlds & UnderWorlds as part of Leeds Canvas.  These songs have been written especially for us which is really exciting.  The music is very different to anything I have ever sung before and some of the words are in German which has been a bit confusing to learn. My favourite song is Aire Bridge which has a really pretty ending.  This sounds like the end of Ding Dong Merrily on High (and I love Christmas) and the different parts go down at different times.

We have recorded the songs for OverWorlds & UnderWorlds.  Our recording sessions were really fun but also tricky because we couldn’t hear the accompaniment. I’m excited about the performances because it’s such a big event, open to all the public and we’ve been working really hard for it.  It will also be another opportunity for performing in a way that I have never done before.

Nimrah Haq

I am really looking forward to the Leeds Canvas event and with the amazing music we are preparing I am sure the performance will be fantastic. As I have never spoken German before it was very exciting to be learning words I had never heard before and singing them. Although it has been hard to sing German I think everyone has managed well.

Recently we have had recording sessions, this has been hard because one slight rustle and we have to record the song again, this has been an amazing experience though. One of the Highlights at Opera North was Performing at the Royal Albert Hall and listening to the brilliant National Youth Choirs and also our choir singing songs as well. I am very proud that I performed at the Royal Albert Hall and I am sure there will be many more challenges and experiences to enjoy!

Grace Dyke

 I enjoy singing in the choir with Rachel and Justin conducting and teaching us different songs in different languages. The German songs are harder to learn how to pronounce them correctly. My favourite song is Besome because I like singing about the witches and going to different pitches. I am excited about the Leeds Canvas event in May, I think it will be exciting to see how many people stay and watch us sing. I really liked the recording sessions especially the acoustics in the room we were using. I love the idea of our voices being played throughout the Leeds Canvas event. I think the ONCC is a great place for kids to learn how to develop their voices, make new friends and have the best experiences of their lives and most importantly have fun!  

The Opera North Children’s Chorus will be performing throughout the OverWorlds & UnderWorlds weekend.

OverWorlds & UnderWorlds is a three day free multi-venue event – with live performances of dance, film, sculpture and music flooding the street of Leeds city centre. Join us at Briggate, County Arcade or in the Drak Arched and collect a map on arrival.

Dates & Times

Friday 18th May 5-9pm

County Arcade Performances at 5pm and 7pm, the Arches are open between 5pm and 9pm.

Saturday 19th May 2-9pm

County Arcade Performances at 2.30pm, 5pm and 7pm, the Arches are open between 4pm and 9pm.

Sunday 20th May 2-5pm

County Arcade Performance at 2pm and 3.15pm, the Arches are open between 2pm and 5pm.

Remember, whatever your plans this weekend, make time to watch Leeds reimagine itself through OverWorlds & UnderWorlds. 


Hannah Stockton

Press & PR Assistant

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