Opera North is delighted to be announcing new plans to share music and performance safely this Christmas, despite the Company’s home city of Leeds being placed in the highest tier following the second lockdown.

To be enjoyed at home:

  • Fidelio: streamed live to homes on Saturday 12 December and now available on demand until Monday 4 January
  • Whistle Stop Opera: Cinderella available for families to watch together from Thursday 17 December
  • La petite bohème online from Thursday 17 December, enabling people to enjoy this innovative animation at home
  • Song of Our Heartland, the Northern Heartlands community opera devised and performed by residents of County Durham with Will Todd and Opera North, available for free
  • Excerpts from Carols for Care Homes, a streamed concert recorded by the Chorus of Opera North for care homes and hospices, available to all

To be enjoyed outdoors:

  • One of the few cultural events that it’s still possible to experience in person, As You Are: A Leeds Soundwalk has proved extremely popular since it opened on Saturday 12 December. It will run through to Tuesday 22 December and reopen on 9 January, conditions permitting. With places limited due to Covid safety measures, early booking is recommended.

Recognising the impact the pandemic has had on people of all ages this year, the Whistle Stop Opera: Cinderella film was offered free of charge to schools and hospitals across the country during December.

Livestream: Fidelio

Sat 12 Dec, 7.00pm GMT
Available on demand for 7 days
Tickets: £15

Book now

Conducted by Mark Wigglesworth and featuring an impressive cast of internationally-renowned singers, Fidelio is the most ambitious work by Opera North since lockdown.

A 33-piece orchestra and 24-strong chorus will take to the Town Hall stage on Saturday 12 December to perform Beethoven’s compelling tale of liberty, justice and dignity.

Beethoven's Fidelio is to be streamed live from Leeds Town Hall

Soundwalk: As You Are

Open: Sat 12 Dec – Tue 22 Dec (excl. Mondays)
Tickets: Pay-as-you-feel

Book now

Within the guidelines of the new tier system, As You Are: A Leeds Soundwalk can now open with audiences strictly limited to six per walk, and social distancing in place for people attending from different households.

After collecting a fully-sanitised audio device from the Victoria Gate shopping centre, participants will visit a series of landmarks around the city with the specially-composed soundtrack triggered by transmitters as they pass certain points on the route.

As You Are: A Soundwalk for Leeds opens safely on 12 December © Tom Arber

ONDemand: Whistle Stop Opera: Cinderella

Available on demand from Thu 17 Dec

Recognising that families will miss out on their annual trip to the pantomime this year, the Company is offering a filmed version of Whistle Stop Opera: Cinderella during the school holidays, giving everyone the chance to watch it at home over the festive season.

Suitable for 5 years and up, this magical take on the much-loved fairy story features excerpts from various musical versions of the rags-to-riches tale, including Rossini’s La Cenerentola, Massenet’s Cendrillon, Pauline Viardot’s operetta Cendrillon, and Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella.

Julia Mariko Smith rehearsing the role of the Fairy Godmother in Whistle Stop Opera: Cinderella

ONDemand: La petite bohème

Available on demand from Thursday 17 December

Audiences can take a virtual trip to the streets of a wintery Paris this Christmas as La petite bohème moves online. Originally planned to be projected onto walls and buildings in Leeds, Nottingham and Hull, this new 20-minute film will now be available through the ONDemand platform.

Inspired by Act III of Puccini’s La bohème, artist and filmmaker Matthew Robins has used animated papercuts to bring the two pairs of lovers to life, with a newly recorded soundtrack by the Orchestra and Chorus of Opera North.

La petite boheme was available to view ONDemand over Christmas

Richard Mantle, General Director, Opera North:

“While being placed in Tier 3 under the new government restrictions continues to have a major impact on live performance in Leeds with venues remaining closed, we are steadfast in our determination to respond to the situation with creativity and innovation. We still remain committed to sharing extraordinary experiences with audiences across the North of England and beyond, whatever tier we find ourselves in.

“We are delighted that, under the current guidelines, we are now able to launch the As You Are outdoor soundwalk, enabling the people of Leeds to enjoy their city in a new and unexpected way, while encouraging footfall back into the city centre for a safe, socially-distanced activity in the run-up to Christmas. This will be complemented by more performances offered through our ONDemand livestreaming platform, including our much-anticipated dramatic concert performance of Fidelio under the baton of Mark Wigglesworth and performed in the stunning surroundings of Leeds Town Hall.

“Our work with schools and community settings also continues unabated and will continue to be a priority as this challenging year draws to a close and we look forward to brighter times ahead including a return to live theatre and touring during 2021.”

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