If you think classical music isn’t for you, think again. Here are our top five reasons why we think you won’t want to miss the Orchestra of Opera North playing in Leeds Millennium Square later this month. It’s time to get ready for Classical Hits!

Book now

1. Movie Magic

When someone says ‘classical music’ to you, galactic battles, dinosaurs and a homesick extra-terrestrial probably aren’t the first things that spring to mind. However, the amazing soundtracks you hear on the big screen are actually the latest in a long line of classical scores enjoyed throughout the ages.

John Williams has been Oscar nominated an incredible 54 times! At Classical Hits, the Orchestra of Opera North will transport everyone to other eras, worlds and galaxies as they explore his huge catalogue of work, including some of the most famous movie themes of all time, including Star Wars, Jurassic Park and E.T.

2. Operatic Earworms

Even if you’ve never been to an opera in your life, we’re betting you’ll recognise the operatic tunes the Orchestra will be performing during Classical Hits – and, even if you don’t, the beauty of the music will definitely blow you away.

Did you know Bizet’s ‘Habanera’ from the opera Carmen has appeared in all kinds of places from Sesame Street to the 2009 Pixar classic Up? Even better known is Puccini’s ‘Nessun dorma’ which hit the headlines after The Three Tenors sang it at the football World Cup in Italy in 1990. During the evening, listen out too for the trio of romantic arias from La bohème sung by Rodolfo and Mimi as they fall in love with each other – we promise there won’t be a dry eye in the square as the final note fades away.

Francesca Chiejina will join the Orchestra of Opera North to sing Mimi's arias from La bohème

3. The Power of the Orchestra

Listening live to a full 50-piece orchestra is an experience which will stay with you forever. Even more so when you encounter the sound for the first time surrounded by the historic buildings of Millennium Square in the heart of Leeds.

The Orchestra of Opera North is one of Leeds cultural gems. Being able to watch the string, woodwind, brass and percussion players on stage means you get the chance to see and enjoy all the different instruments as they contribute to drawing out the emotional force in every piece – something which can be tricky to spot when they perform in a traditional orchestra pit in the theatre. On this occasion, the musicians will be conducted by former Music Director of Opera North Paul Daniel.

The Orchestra of Opera North in Millennium Square © Sarah Zagni

4. Special Singers

This concert is not only a showcase for the magic of the orchestral players but also features the power of the human voice. If you enjoy listening to singing, get ready to hear it taken to a whole new level!

During the Classical Hits concert, there’ll be a chance to hear two opera singers at the very top of their game. Nigerian-American soprano Francesca Chiejina has been praised for her ‘celestial voice’ (The Guardian) and ‘luminous sound’ (Opera magazine) having performed at the Royal Opera House and Scottish Opera amongst others, while Ukrainian tenor Mykhailo Malafii appeared in Opera North’s recent production of Tosca and also wowed the crowd when he performed ‘Nessun dorma’ during the LEEDS 2023 opening ceremony.

5. City of Music

Over the coming weeks, Millennium Square will be alive with the sound of music as the Leeds City Council hold their annual Summer Series – Sounds of the City from 3 July to 4 August. It’s a chance to catch some of the most exciting acts in music with a host of unmissable gigs set against the majestic backdrop of Leeds Civic Hall.

Once you’ve experienced Classical Hits, why not grab a ticket or two for 80s Classical the following evening when the Orchestra of Opera North will be playing alongside a host of the original stars from that era, including Bananarama, Midge Ure, Johnny Hates Jazz and Deniece Pearson from Five Star? Dancing shoes on!

80s Classical in Millennium Square

Classical Hits takes place at 7pm in Millennium Square on Friday 19 July. Tickets are available from £22.50, with £10 options for Under 30s.

Book now


Search our site