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Christmas with Opera North


We'll be providing the perfect soundtrack to the festive season in Leeds and beyond with a series of orchestral spectaculars, intimate concerts and community performances this Christmas.

Now a time-honoured tradition, Opera North’s free Festive Fanfare at Trinity Leeds on 6 December heralds the beginning of the Company’s Christmas celebrations. A brass ensemble from the Orchestra of Opera North will be joined by over 100 children from Windmill and Low Road Primary Schools who have been participating in the Company’s In Harmony Community Residency programme. The half hour concert of Christmas hymns and rousing brass band music starts at 2.30pm.

On 13 December members of Opera North’s newly formed Children’s Chorus in Newcastle take their turn in the spotlight, joined by Associate Artist Ellie Laugharne for a Christmas Concert, open to all at Brunswick Methodist Church in the city centre.

At the centre of the Company’s celebrations, the Orchestra of Opera North will be hard at work dispensing Christmas cheer throughout December, beginning with their live accompaniment of Raymond Briggs’ classic The Snowman and Other Tales at Huddersfield Town Hall (13 December), The Spa, Bridlington (16 December) and Leeds Town Hall (18 December). Opera North stalwart John Savournin completes the bill with a captivating telling of Paul Patterson’s settings of Roald Dahl’s Little Red Riding Hood and The Three Little Pigs.

A sell-out last year, the annual Opera North Christmas Concert at Dewsbury Town Hall (15 December) features the Orchestra together with the combined voices of Opera North’s Chorus, Youth and Children’s Choruses, performing music by J.S. Bach, Vivaldi, Rutter and Sibelius, plus rousing audience carols and Puccini’s atmospheric evocation of a bohemian Christmas Eve in a Parisian garret. Then it’s back to Leeds to accompany the massed voices of the Inspiration community choir in God Bless Us Everyone (Leeds Town Hall, 17 December), featuring film music, calypso, gospel and traditional hymns.

The Victorian interior of the Howard Assembly Room will be filled with decorations and yuletide atmosphere for a typically eclectic series of events programmed by Opera North. The return of The Tallis Scholars with A Renaissance Christmas (20 December) has already sold out, but there are plenty more chances to get in the festive mood at our historic venue.

Corsican male voice choir A Filetta bring their extraordinary polyphonic sound to bear on Christmas hymns and folk songs from the ancient Mediterranean on 14 December.  Find yourself in a Winter Wonderland with two very special concerts on 17 December, in which music by composers including Bach and Corelli interspersed with festive tunes from Eastern Europe and beyond. A chamber ensemble led by violinist, composer and Howard Assembly Room favourite David Le Page will be joined by soprano and Opera North Chorister Amy Freston (the Dew Fairy in the Company’s forthcoming production of Hansel and Gretel). More live music provides the perfect prelude to a suitably cosy screening of the classic Christmas film It’s A Wonderful Life on 19 December.

After a short break for some celebrations of their own, the Orchestra of Opera North is back on stage, joined by Associate Artists soprano Ellie Laugharne and mezzo soprano Heather Lowe, for their ever-popular New Year concert Viennese Whirl, at Huddersfield Town Hall (29 December) and Leeds Town Hall (31 December). Having lived in Vienna for the past twenty years, Aleksandar Markovic closes his first season as Opera North’s Music Director with a fitting programme of sumptuous Strauss waltzes and other traditional New Year fare.

Image credits:
The Orchestra of Opera North performing at Opera North's Christmas Concert, Dewsbury Town Hall, December 2015. Credit: Amy Charles
Opera North's Festive Fanfare, Trinity Leeds, December 2015. Credit: Tom Arber
The Snowman by Raymond Briggs. Credit: Snowman Enterprises Ltd
Christmas in the Howard Assembly Room. Credit: Tom Arber
A Filetta
Christmas in the Howard Assembly Room. Credit: Tom Arber


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