News & Features

Explore Mediterranean Roots this Spring


Tickets are now on sale for the new Spring season at the Howard Assembly Room, celebrating the music and diversity of the Mediterranean with an international blend of music, talks and films influenced by Arab-Mediterranean culture.

Italy’s leading and longest-standing traditional music ensemble, Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino, perform a programme of songs from traditional Italian dance music. The world’s most celebrated Gypsy band, Taraf de Haïdouks perform a one-off concert showcasing their unique virtuosity and Balkan spirit and Palestinian oud trio Le Trio Joubran play repertoire that pays homage to their 4000 year old instrument while taking inspiration from jazz and flamenco.

Classical events include El Amor Brujo, a magnificent concert exploring the centuries-old links between Spain and South America performed by the Orchestra of Opera North, featuring guitarist Craig Ogden. Sardinia at Twilight sees award-winning singer and guitarist Elena Piras exploring the magic and music of Italy’s most culturally distinct region. The acclaimed pianist Paul Lewis returns to the Howard Assembly Room following his 2010 sell-out concert, this time joined by tenor Allan Clayton for Schubert’s timeless first song-cycle, Die schöne Müllerin.

Spring also sees the Howard Assembly Room turn into an intimate opera house, with brand new chamber opera The Virtues of Things created by composer Matt Rogers and writer Sally O'Reilly. This brand new opera was commissioned by Aldeburgh Music, Royal Opera House and Opera North as part of a collaboration giving opportunities to emerging opera writers.

There is plenty for all the family to enjoy as Opera North and visual theatre company The Wrong Crowd team up for the first time to bring you a brand new production of Jonathan Dove’s family chamber opera Swanhunter. Sing ON: With hope in your heart is an uplifting singing workshop for all ages,exploring the iconic song ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ from Rodgers and Hammerstein’s classic musical Carousel. The new season also sees the return of Little Voices, Opera North’s weekly workshops offering children under 4 the opportunity to sing songs, explore instruments, play games and have fun with music. Finally, the Opera North’s Children’s Chorus also present a brand new semi-staged production of The Selfish Giant, based on the original by Oscar Wilde, set to music by Handel.

Opera North also welcomes two of the UK’s most influential acoustic artists Lau and Vashti Bunyan to Leeds. Award-winning folk super-group Lau return to the Howard Assembly Room performing tracks from their exciting new album The Bell That Never Rang and Singer/songwriter Vashti Bunyan, best known for her iconic debut 1970 album Just Another Diamond Day, presents tracks from her final album Heartleap.

The Howard Assembly Room Liberty Lectures strand continues with English-Pakistani writer, journalist and filmmaker Tariq Ali and Libyan writer Hisham Matar, who reads from his second novel, Anatomy of a Disappearance, a new work inspired by his father who remains among Libya’s ‘disappeared’.

Other events include:

Heritage Blues Orchestra perform an evening of low-down country and urban blues.

More than 877,000 Indian soldiers, many of them Punjabi Sikhs, fought in WW1.Sacred Sounds  sees the performance of their letters combined with sacred Sikh hymns. 

Tell Me What Yo’ Singin’ For celebrates the sound of calypso and the pioneer of Caribbean music in 1950s Britain: Edric Connor, performed by Sheldon Blackman and members of the legendary Breakfast Band.

Istanbul-born singer Çiğdem Aslan is a rising star and a truly sublime singer of Rebetika music.

British/Palestinian singer, musician & broadcaster ReemKelani returns to the Howard Assembly Room, following a show-stopping sell-out performance in 2012, with repertoire that criss-crosses the Mediterranean.

This season’s films include Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s Once Upon a Time in Anatolia, Michelangelo Antonioni’s Red Desert and Michael Curtiz’s Hollywood classic Casablanca.

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