The Orchestra of Opera North will close this year’s Kirklees Concert Season in Huddersfield Town Hall on Thursday 6 April with debuts from two international guests: Canadian conductor Jordan de Souza, and the brilliant Norwegian trumpeter Tine Thing Helseth as soloist in Hummel’s Trumpet Concerto.
Fresh from performing Richard Strauss’ opera Ariadne auf Naxos on tour, the Orchestra will open the concert with the composer’s early-career triumph Don Juan. There are world premieres of two brand new Minute Masterpieces, commissioned by Opera North from early-career composers; and Brahms’ First Symphony will draw the concert – and the season – to a close.
Although it has been part of Tine Thing Helseth’s repertoire since she was 18, Hummel’s fiendishly difficult Trumpet Concerto is “always a joy – and always a challenge in many ways, technically and musically”, she enthuses. “The second movement is one of the most beautiful in the trumpet repertoire: long lines, which of course are a challenge, but also one of my favourite things to do – to really sing through my instrument. The third movement is a complete laugh from Hummel’s side, with a lot of technical up and downs, and a lot of fun going on”.
“I don’t play it that often now, so it’s going to be exciting to see how it feels, and how my relationship with it has evolved”, says Tine. Over the past year, treatment for Hodgkin’s lymphoma – which forced a seven-month break from her instrument – has given her a new outlook on her relationship with music in general: “Of course, it was a reminder that life is fragile, anything can happen, and the most important thing is to try and have a good time and do the things that give me energy and joy”, she says.
“Getting to travel the world and play the trumpet is a huge privilege… and playing the Hummel Concerto again now is fun! It’s a piece that I know so well. And it’s interesting to see if what I’ve experienced lately gives me something extra – maybe it does.
“I haven’t been to Huddersfield before, and it’s always exciting to get to know a new orchestra, and in this case a new conductor and of course new audiences. I’m very much looking forward to making my Opera North debut!”
Also joining our award-winning orchestra for the first time is conductor Jordan de Souza. He completed a four-year term as First Kapellmeister of the Komische Oper Berlin in 2020, and since then his international engagements have included a BBC Proms debut with the BBC Symphony Orchestra last summer, and Carmen at Dutch National Opera. Following his visit to Yorkshire he will conduct La bohème at the Deutsche Oper Berlin.
“I am thrilled to make my debut with the Orchestra of Opera North, and I cannot wait to share our exciting programme with our audience in Huddersfield”, he says. “Tine is an outstanding soloist and Hummel’s Trumpet Concerto is a lively and elegant work that showcases the delightful interplay between soloist and orchestra.
“Strauss’ Don Juan is a tour de force that embodies a lifetime of exhilarating peaks and valleys within one musical work, demanding exceptional virtuosity and lyricism from your wonderful orchestra.
“Our programme will also feature two short world premieres by living composers, Carol J Jones and Omri Kochavi, who continue to craft a contemporary voice for the modern symphony orchestra.
“Finally, we will conclude with Johannes Brahms’s Symphony No. 1, a monumental work that seamlessly bridges tradition and innovation. Brahms’ creative genius is on full display, taking listeners on a journey from the intense introduction to the triumphant finale and showcasing the Orchestra of Opera North’s remarkable skill and versatility”.
Tine Thing Helseth, Jordan de Souza and the Orchestra of Opera North close the Kirklees Concert Season 2022-23 in Huddersfield Town Hall on Thursday 6 April. Tickets start at £13, anyone aged 16 or under can see an orchestral concert for just £1, and tickets for under 30s and full-time students are priced at £4.