Opera North Blog

Howard Assembly Room Highlights of 2015


Light Night 2015: Parklife, Friday 9 October. Photo: Tom Arber

From Twin Peaks to Tuvan throat-singing, from Valachia to The Vile Stuff, members of the Howard Assembly Room team pick their highlights of 2015...

Richard Ashton, Howard Assembly Room General Manager

The showing of the film Metropolis with the original Huppertz chamber orchestra score performed by the Orchestra of Opera North.

The production values of the film are unbelievable for its time. And the score is monumental. You could see the exhaustion on the players faces after playing continuously for two and a half hours - as long as Das Rheingold - and because of its chamber score no player has any let-up. The players had a deserved standing ovation at the end and we could have sold the event twice over.

Forthcoming live soundtracks include Asian Dub Foundation's score for La Haine and Moishe's Bagel accompanying Salt For Svanetia.

Allan Clayton and Paul Lewis performing Schubert's Die schöne Müllerin.

Allan is now top of his game, his voice keeps maturing and in combination with Paul Lewis their account of the cycle was spine tingling. Paul makes our Steinway grand piano sound exquisite and it is glorious to hear a musician, who could make his living purely as a concerto or solo recitalist, showing his love for lieder and bringing it that special quality.

Hear our Steinway under the expert hands of Leeds Lieder's outstanding Joseph Middleton as he accompanies Lucy Crowe in an intimate survey of English song on 18 February.

Jo Nockels, Projects Manager

In May, the three night festival of Taraf de Haïdouks, Lau and Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino was hard to beat for sheer, joyful brilliance.

In the Autumn season, there have been a lot: the Brodsky Quartet's Beethoven, Huun Huur Tu's exquisite song Orphan's Lament and finally hearing Richard Dawson in this building to name a few!

The centrepiece of our world music programme for 2016 is 3 Generations, bringing huge talents Cheikh Lô (30 January), Vieux Farka Touré (4 February) and Mulatu Astatke (10 February) from across Africa to Leeds.

Joseph Stairs, Howard Assembly Room Technical Apprentice

My highlight was Xiu Xiu playing the music of Twin Peaks, part of 2015's Recon Festival. I really enjoyed operating lighting for this as I had free rein to do what I liked but also because it felt like it was something special - very different to the sort of gigs we do normally.

Xiu Xiu play the music of Twin Peaks, 4 October 2015. Photo: Amy Charles

The Brodsky String Quartet would have to be another - again, mainly because it was so different to the way we normally do classical concerts: we had a set with lit candles, which really created a distinct feel for the show, but also because of the programme: the late quartets of Beethoven and Shostakovich.

Another acclaimed ensemble, New York's Escher Quartet play Mendelssohn, Bartók and Beethoven on 1 February.

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