Opera North Blog

Looking Back at 2014 in the Howard Assembly Room


2014 has been another bumper year at the Howard Assembly Room with plenty of nights out and memorable moments. We look back at some of our handpicked highlights from the past 12 months. 

A specially commissioned work by sound artist Chris Watson (BBC’s award-winning Frozen Planet) saw the realisation of mysterious island Hy Brasil (Mar) through sound. Based on an island shrouded in myth; the installation captured this magical journey in sound! Click here to read how Chris Watson described Hy Brasil and click here to discover more about the project.

The Commission and Café Kafka (Mar) in partnership with Aldeburgh Music, Royal Opera House and Opera North enabled audiences to enjoy operas from emerging writers Francisco Coll & Meredith Oakes and Elspeth Brooke & Jack Underwood. This fresh evening of opera was directed by Annabel Arden, and was certainly one to remember.

The Howard Assembly Room welcomed a staggering number of families through the doors this year. The free, and open to all, Family Folk Day saw over 200 participants come and enjoy folk music, dancing, stories and crafts. Followed by the West African and Bluegrass concerts which saw both young and old come together to enjoy music.

To commemorate the First World War, this September Opera North joined forces with the Barbican, sounduk and folk legends Sam Lee and The Unthanks to create a stunning new collaboration. With video projections from Matt Watkins and songs inspired by real life stories, this was a truly moving performance. Click here to read about Sam Lee's experiences researching for A Time and Place and his journey through the stories and lives of the First World War. 

To accompany Opera North’s main-stage production of The Coronation of Poppea this year’s Light Night contribution I am yours, yours am I received a sterling turn out with impressive queues along New Briggate. Click here to read an exclusive interview with Projects Manager Jo Nockels about welcoming Leeds to the ‘garden of immorality’ and to look back at Light Night in pictures click here.


Many Howard Assembly Room events were part of wider festivals in Leeds this year, including Recon Festival, where Teho Teardo and Blixa Bargeld gave a one-off UK gig performing tracks from their latest album, Still Smiling.

The Howard Assembly Room welcomed artists from across the globe this year including Bassekou KouyateBill Frisell Trio and Tinariwen. One of Mali’s greatest musicians, Toumani Diabaté, maestro of the the Kora, a 21 string bridge-harp also performed with his son Sidiki.

To find what’s coming up at the Howard Assembly Room, don’t forget to join our e-list or download the Winter 2015 brochure here.

Hy Brasil, Chloe Hanslip and Tinariwen photos by Tom Arber, The Commission and Café Kafka Photo by Robert Workman, Sam Lee and The Unthanks photo by Sarah Mason and Light Night photo by Jonny Walton.


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