Opera North today announces repertoire for its 2018 – 19 season, which will mark 40 years of inspiration, ambition and adventure since the Company was established as the opera company for the North of England, giving its first performance in November 1978.
Forty years on, November 2018 sees Opera North give the U.K. premiere of Silent Night, a Pulitzer Prize-winning opera by American composer Kevin Puts, based on the true story of the 1914 Christmas truce. Directed by Tim Albery, Silent Night will be performed in a concert staging at Leeds Town Hall, as part of a series of events planned in association with West Yorkshire Playhouse and Leeds City Council commemorating the centenary of the end of WWI. The opera has received numerous performances in North America since its 2011 premiere, and Puts’ score has been praised as lyrical, cinematic and expressive; a richly textured and deeply affecting contemporary work.
Many other works within the season also explore themes around conflict both directly and symbolically: national identity, patriotism and emerging statehood; abuse, enslavement and exile; political and religious persecution; sacrifice and betrayal; the ending of old orders and the dawning of the new. And above all, conflict’s human face: the experiences and relationships between people caught in the tides of historical change, and the overriding power of hope.
The year opens with a new production of Tosca, directed by Edward Dick, which will tour alongside a revival of The Merry Widow, two works composed in the very earliest years of the 20th century, with Europe on the cusp of transformation.
A new production of The Magic Flute, directed by West Yorkshire Playhouse Artistic Director James Brining, opens in January 2019, following his acclaimed West Yorkshire Playhouse/Opera North co-production of Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods. It will tour with three further works composed in the years around the First World War: a revival of Katya Kabanova, and a double-bill in which the worlds of opera and dance collide: with Puccini’s short comic opera Gianni Schicchi paired with Stravinsky’s iconic ballet, The Rite of Spring.
The Rite of Spring sees another of Leeds’ great arts organisations working in partnership with Opera North, in the Company’s first large scale collaboration with Phoenix Dance Theatre, the longest running contemporary dance ensemble outside London. A newly choreographed version of this era-defining work will be performed by Phoenix, with the full Orchestra of Opera North and conductor Garry Walker playing the unmistakable modernist score.
A dramatic concert staging of Aida concludes the year. Opening at Leeds Town Hall and touring to major concert venues throughout the country, this new production will be directed by Annabel Arden, whose award-winning Turandot for Opera North electrified audiences in 2017. For all its grandiosity and imperialism, at Aida’s heart is a web of intimate personal relationships between people caught in the crossfire of international conflict, ending with a profound prayer for peace.
Many of Leeds’ arts organisations will also collaborate in Autumn 2018 to commemorate the end of the First World War. Silent Night will be part of a strand of concerts at Leeds Town Hall including a concert based on Michael Morpurgo’s War Horse, and a new WWI-themed commission by Will Todd for the young singers of the Opera North Children’s Chorus, Young Voices, and Youth Chorus.
A further new commission, Not Such Quiet Girls, will be co-produced by Opera North and West Yorkshire Playhouse. Bringing together an all-female chorus of sung voices and three female actors, this new musical drama, written by Jessica Walker with musical arrangement by Joseph Atkins, weaves a moving narrative through staged scenes, film projections, music hall songs and forgotten rarities by early 20th century female composers, shining a light on some of the neglected women’s voices from the Great War. Not Such Quiet Girls will be performed at the Howard Assembly Room, Leeds, from 29 November to 1 December.
September – December 2018
Tosca by Giacomo Puccini
Conductor: Antony Hermus / Jonathan Santagada, Director: Edward Dick
Cast includes: Giselle Allen / Susannah Glanville (Tosca), Rafael Rojas (Cavaradossi) and Robert Hayward (Scarpia)
The Merry Widow by Franz Lehár
Conductor: Martin André, Director: Giles Havergal
Cast includes: Máire Flavin / Katie Bird (Hanna Glawari), Amy Freston (Valencienne), Nicholas Watts (Camille de Rosillon) and Quirijn de Lang (Danilo).
Silent Night by Kevin Puts
Conductor: Nicholas Kok, Director: Tim Albery
Cast includes: Rupert Charlesworth (Nikolaus Sprink), Máire Flavin (Anna), Richard Burkhard (Horstmayer) and Adrian Clarke (Father Palmer).
January – March 2019
The Magic Flute by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Conductor: Robert Howarth, Director: James Brining
Cast includes: Noluvuyiso Mpofu / Ellie Laugharne (Pamina), Kang Wang (Tamino), Samantha Hay (Queen of the Night), Gavan Ring (Papageno) and John Savournin (Sarastro).
Katya Kabanova by Leoš Janáček
Conductor: Sian Edwards, Director: Tim Albery
Cast includes Rebecca de Pont Davies (Kabanicha), Christopher Turner (Tichon) and Katie Bray (Varvara). Further cast to be announced.
Double Bill: The Rite of Spring by Igor Stravinsky
Co-production with Phoenix Dance Theatre
Conductor: Garry Walker
Double Bill: Gianni Schicchi by Giacomo Puccini
Conductor: Garry Walker, Director: Christopher Alden
Cast includes: Richard Burkhard (Gianni Schicchi), Tereza Gevorgyan (Lauretta), Diego Silva (Rinuccio) and Rebecca de Pont Davies (Zita).
May – June 2019
Aida by Giuseppe Verdi
Conductor: Sir Richard Armstrong, Director: Annabel Arden
Cast includes Rafael Rojas (Radamès) and Eric Greene (Amonasro). Further cast to be announced.
Take advantage of our priority booking periods and get the best seats for the shows you don’t want to miss!
|Full Season Packages||Thursday 15 March|
|Create Your Own Package||Thursday 22 March|
|Associates of Opera North||Thursday 5 April|
|Friends of Opera North||Friday 6 April|
|Public booking||Monday 9 April|
*Booking dates may vary by venue
The Merry Widow, 2011 © Alastair Muir
Gianni Schicci, 2015 © Bill Cooper