Opera North today announces a year of cultural encounters and myths retold, in eight productions for its 2022-23 season.

In the run-up to Leeds 2023, the season features two innovative collaborations with arts organisations in the city, a new co-production of Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos and eagerly-anticipated revivals of three of our most popular productions.

The season begins in September 2022 with a revival of Alessandro Talevi’s production of La traviata, featuring two young international casts across its tour. Also revived for Winter 2023 is Edward Dick’s thrilling Tosca, with Giselle Allen and Robert Hayward reprising their roles as Tosca and Scarpia, and Portuguese conductor Joana Carneiro making her Opera North debut.

Shahbaz Hussain, Kaviraj Singh and Nicholas Watts in workshop for Orpheus © Justin Slee

Our longstanding collaborative relationship with our neighbours South Asian Arts-uk will break new ground for both companies in a staging of Monteverdi’s Orpheus. This reimagining of the pioneering 1607 work, often credited as the first great opera, is the culmination of a long period of research and development, during which musicians and consultants from both organisations have explored connections between western and Indian classical music.

Young British Asian director and dramaturg Anna Himali Howard relocates the mythic fields of Thrace to a British garden, with musical direction by early music specialist Laurence Cummings and composer and sitar player Jasdeep Singh Degun, and sets and costumes by Leslie Travers.

Celebrated British mezzo Alice Coote returns to Opera North in a concert version of another retelling of the Orpheus myth, Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice, which will tour alongside La traviata and Orpheus. Originally performed for film and radio broadcast during lockdown in 2021, Opera North is delighted to now share this with audiences across the north, with Alice Coote (Orfeo) joining returning guest soloists Fflur Wyn (Euridice) and Daisy Brown (Amor), the Orchestra of Opera North and Principal Guest Conductor Antony Hermus.

Winter 2023 will see our first ever presentation of Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos, in a co-production with Gothenburg Opera. London-based Greek director Rodula Gaitanou and set and costume designer George Souglides set the Prologue within a bustling film studio, where two very different operatic films – a comic buffa, and a tragic seria – are combined to cut costs. The cast, conducted by Antony Hermus, includes company debuts by Elizabeth Llewellyn as Prima Donna / Ariadne and Hanna Hipp as the Composer, with Erin Caves (Don José, Carmen, 2021) as Tenor / Bacchus.

Music Director Garry Walker takes up the baton for David Pountney’s classic staging of Janáček’s vivacious juxtaposition of the natural and human worlds, The Cunning Little Vixen. Elin Pritchard returns to Opera North as Vixen Sharp-Ears, with Heather Lowe as Fox.

Ariadne auf Naxos, GöteborgsOperan (2018). Directed by Rodula Gaitanou © Mats Bäcker

Opening in May 2023, Bizet’s The Pearl Fishers will be the latest in Opera North’s series of operas presented in concert stagings, conducted by Matthew Kofi Waldren and directed by Matthew Eberhardt. A related series of events will explore some of the issues involved in presenting this work today.

The final new production of the season is a contemporary dance staging of one of the most famous of all choral works, Mozart’s Requiem, in collaboration with Phoenix Dance Theatre. Music Director Garry Walker conducts the Orchestra and Chorus of Opera North in Mozart’s monumental, intensely emotive final work, in a production choreographed by Dane Hurst which will draw on South African influences in a unique response to the grief experienced by so many around the world during the pandemic.

Audiences and Access

Continuing our commitment to increasing accessibility, every performance will have English surtitles, and there will be a range of both Sign Interpreted and Audio-described performances in all venues, as well as a Relaxed performance of La traviata at Leeds Grand Theatre. Ticket prices for mainstage opera productions start from £15, and we have a number of membership and new to opera schemes offering 100 reduced and accessibly priced tickets at every performance across the tour.

Engaging with more than 70 community groups across Leeds and West Yorkshire to open up our work to people who may have barriers that prevent them from participating in the arts, our Community Partnerships scheme welcomes new Encore Plus partners for 2022. Two further partnerships reflect our position as the only opera company in the UK to have been awarded Theatre of Sanctuary status for its work with refugees and sanctuary seekers: The Refugee Council’s resettlement team which supports people seeking asylum who have just arrived in the UK, and PAFRAS which supports people in Leeds seeking asylum or appealing a refusal.

 

Richard Mantle, General Director, Opera North:

“This year will see fresh interpretations of popular classics, such as Edward Dick’s viscerally thrilling take on Tosca, and Alessandro Talevi’s deeply moving La traviata, alongside imaginative new approaches to opera performance. In this season we are especially thrilled to collaborate once again with partners across our home city as we approach the year-long celebration of culture in Leeds 2023.

“Working with South Asian Arts-uk on a bold new take on Monteverdi’s Orpheus, we return to opera’s experimental beginnings, when a new form emerged from the blending of words and music, drama and dance. It’s in the same spirit of discovery that we unite musicians and performers from the western and South Asian classical traditions to breathe new life into opera’s founding myth.

“We have forged a highly successful partnership with our Leeds neighbours Phoenix Dance Theatre in recent years, and we will be taking this relationship even further with a new version of Mozart’s Requiem, choreographed by Dane Hurst and conducted by our Music Director Garry Walker. The Requiem will combine the full resources of both companies together with guest artists from South Africa and will be performed alongside a newly created complementary work.

“Throughout the last few years, and especially during lockdown, the Company has developed new digital audiences for creative work. We are delighted that this year, Orpheus and Tosca will also be filmed live at Leeds Grand Theatre and made available to watch online, allowing us to extend the audience for these exciting productions beyond the boundaries of the theatrical space.”

Booking dates

In Leeds:

Packages
Full Season Package renewals On sale now

Patrons & Friends 29 March
All other package buyers 1 April

Single tickets
Patrons, Friends, Groups & U30s 5 April
Public booking 8 April

On tour:

The Lowry, Salford Quays &
Theatre Royal, Nottingham

Package booking On sale now
Patrons & Friends 5 April
Public booking 8 April

 

 

Theatre Royal, Newcastle
Package booking On sale now
Patrons On sale now
Friends On sale now
Public booking On sale now

 

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