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New season announced for 2019/20

Opera North’s 2019/20 season is announced today, headlined by new productions of Bohuslav Martinů’s rare gem The Greek Passion and Kurt Weill’s great American opera, Street Scene.

The season showcases the best of Opera North, with revivals of some of our most popular and critically-acclaimed productions programmed alongside these adventurous new productions of two masterpieces from the 20th Century.

The Greek Passion (Martinů)
Giulio Cesare (Handel)
La bohème (Puccini)
Street Scene (Weill)
The Marriage of Figaro (Mozart)
The Turn of the Screw (Britten)

Download 19/20 Performance Diary

Opening the year in September 2019, The Greek Passion will be directed by Christopher Alden, designed by Charles Edwards and conducted by Garry Walker, with an ensemble cast including Nicky Spence and Magdalena Molendowska. Set in a remote Greek community, Martinů’s final opera explores the divisions created in the village when refugees arrive, pleading for food and shelter, at the same time as the villagers are preparing their roles for the traditional Easter Passion play.

James Laing as Tolomeo, Kathryn Rudge as Sesto and Ann Taylor as Cornelia, Giulio Cesare, 2012 © Tristram Kenton

Returning to Opera North in Autumn 2019, Tim Albery’s thrilling production of Handel’s Giulio Cesare, with dramatic and beautiful designs by Leslie Travers, will be conducted by one of today’s leading early music conductors, Christian Curnyn. Mezzo-soprano Justina Gringytė makes her Opera North debut in the title role, while Sophie Bevan joins the Company for the first time as Cleopatra.

Phyllida Lloyd’s classic staging of Puccini’s La bohème completes the Autumn; a production which has, over the years, provided an ideal introduction to live opera for countless newcomers. It is revived with a new international cast showcasing some of the most promising young artists of today, many of whom make their Opera North debuts.

Sébastien Guèze as Rodolfo and Gabriela Iştoc as Mimì, La bohème, 2014 © Robert Workman

Giselle Allen and Robert Hayward head the cast as Anna and Frank Maurrant in Weill’s Street Scene. Directed by Matthew Eberhardt with designs by Francis O’Connor, this is Opera North’s first production of a work the composer himself regarded as his masterpiece, which will be conducted by James Holmes, one of the world’s leading authorities on the music of Weill.

Antony Hermus (Tosca, 2018) returns to Opera North to conduct Jo Davies’ meticulously detailed production of Mozart’s sublime human comedy The Marriage of Figaro in Leslie Travers’ beautiful designs, with Phillip Rhodes as Figaro and Fflur Wyn as Susanna. Leo McFall takes the helm for Alessandro Talevi’s truly chilling production of one of Britten’s consummate masterpieces, The Turn of the Screw, designed by Madeleine Boyd with Sarah Tynan making her role debut as the Governess.

Ana Maria Labin as the Countess, Helen Sherman as Cherubino and Silvia Moi as Susanna, 2015 © Clive Barda

Elsewhere in the year, November 2019 will see Christopher Purves and Karen Cargill* perform a concert of Bartok’s one act expressionist opera Bluebeard’s Castle, with the Orchestra of Opera North conducted by Sian Edwards, on Thu 28 Nov at Huddersfield Town Hall and Sat 30 Nov at Leeds Town Hall.

The Spring of 2020 will also see the premiere of a large-scale people’s opera in County Durham, in partnership with Northern Heartlands, involving communities from across south and west Durham to create an opera inspired by the county, its people, landscape and heritage. As yet untitled, the opera will receive four performances in May 2020 in the exhibition hall of Locomotion, the National Railway Museum in Shildon.

The new opera is being created by Durham-born composer Will Todd (Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland; Mass in Blue; The Call of Wisdom), with a libretto by Manchester-based poet Tony Walsh, who came to worldwide attention in May 2017 when he recited his poem ‘This is the Place’ at the vigil following the Manchester bombing. It will be directed by Caroline Clegg with designs by Madeleine Boyd and will feature the Chorus and Orchestra of Opera North alongside soloists and community performers.

We offer a range of priority booking options and membership schemes, including Season Tickets, a fantastic way to save money and experience an extraordinary year of opera:

Full Season Packages are available from Thursday 14 March
Create Your Own Packages are available from Thursday 21 March
Priority booking for Bronze Patrons opens on Thursday 4 April
Priority booking for Friends of Opera North opens on Friday 5 April
Priority booking for members of our Under 30s scheme opens on Monday 8 April

Tickets for the 19/20 season go on general sale on Tuesday 9 April 2019. 

Tour venue Season Ticket Packages are on sale from Monday 4 March. See our Season Tickets page for more information about tour venue on sale dates.

The 2019/20 season also sees the launch of a reduced ticket price for £20 for anyone new to opera, through our new Try It ON scheme.

For further information please contact our Box Office team on 0113 223 3600 or email

*Cast information updated April 2019


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