We’re all set to close our annual long weekend on Millennium Square on Sunday 24 July with Opera in the City, an alfresco evening of operatic favourites and classical masterpieces.

Here’s why you should pack a picnic and join us:

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Share in the joy of amazing live music

This time last year, the last of the UK’s Covid restrictions were eased. But it was too late for our full Millennium Square bash to go ahead (although we did manage to squeeze in a particularly euphoric instalment of 80s Classical in September). Outdoor festivals are finally back this summer, and the return of our long weekend gives you a chance to remind yourself just how good it feels to share in brilliant music  – whether that’s Borodin, Belinda Carlisle or Black Box – live and person.

Something for everyone

Opera in the City will be the perfect introduction to opera for any newcomers, and a night of classical ‘hits’ to delight our loyal home audience”, says Phil Boughton, Opera North’s Director of Orchestra and Chorus. You can expect heart-rending arias and duets from Puccini and Verdi’s best-loved operas, interspersed with thrilling symphonic showpieces by the likes of Tchaikovsky and Mascagni.

World-class orchestra and soloists

The Orchestra of Opera North comes to Millennium Square fresh from its acclaimed tour of Wagner’s epic Parsifal, with players fired up to mark the end of the season in the open air, with their home crowd cheering them on. Welsh soprano and Opera North favourite Elin Pritchard returns to channel the joy and heartbreak of opera’s greatest heroines, including Mimì from La bohème and Dvořák’s Rusalka (‘Song to the Moon’). Another familiar face, Scala Radio’s Mark Forrest returns as compère. And the phenomenal Korean tenor David Junghoon Kim will make his Opera North debut, direct from his appearance at the First Night of the Proms.

Packed with timeless melodies

Whether you’re a music buff or not, you’re bound to recognise some of the tunes: the Overture from Cavalleria Rusticana soundtracked the unbearably moving ending of the third Godfather movie; you might remember Verdi’s Forza del destino Overture from the classic film of Manon des Sources (or the advertisements for a certain premium lager); Borodin’s glorious Polovtsian Dances inspired the musical Kismet and its most famous song, ‘Stranger in Paradise’; and what better way to mark a World Cup year than with a rousing rendition of the greatest tenor showcase of them all, ‘Nessun Dorma’? Here’s a peek at David Junghoon Kim vaulting effortlessly up to that legendary high B in rehearsals at the Royal Opera… VINCERÒÒÒÒ!

A fond farewell

Leader of the Orchestra of Opera North since its inception in 1978 and the longest-serving Orchestra Leader in Europe, David Greed officially stepped down after the last performance of Parsifal. But he’s back to join his colleagues for one last job: as soloist in the Meditation from Massenet’s opera Thaïs. If it wasn’t enough of a tearjerker already, this swooning beauty is sure to give an added tug on the heartstrings as his swansong performance.

Make the most of the summer evenings and join us in the heart of Leeds for Opera in the City!

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