Continuing its commitment to bring music and performance into the lives of people across the country, Opera North today launches a suite of digital initiatives designed to promote wellbeing and aid learning during the current lockdown and beyond.

  • Orchestral Academy Online: offering masterclasses and workshops with the Orchestra of Opera North for young instrumentalists
  • ONe-to-ONe: bringing virtual solo performances into people’s homes

With performance to a live audience not possible under the current restrictions, the Company’s online offering includes programmes to keep children entertained and engaged with music in the home, alongside feelgood initiatives for adults to raise spirits and encourage connection.

Opera North’s Little School of Music

For 5 to 11-year-olds

Go to school

Opera North’s Little School of Music offers a series of free interactive ‘pick and mix’ videos designed to encourage families to explore the world of music together.

Youngsters are taken on a journey of discovery through fun music making activities, created using the expertise of the tutors involved in the award-wining In Harmony project which has been running for over seven years in primary schools across Leeds. While they do include a learning element, the emphasis is on enjoying a break from traditional lessons, and exploring through play.

Opera North's Little School of Music offers online creative activities for young children © Tom Arber

Orchestral Academy Online

For young musicians at Grade 4+aged 10 to 18 years
Starts: Monday 15 February

Apply now

At a time when many youth orchestras are suspended, Orchestral Academy Online aims to help young musicians with their musical development and provide social interaction with like-minded peers. Building on the success of its live equivalents, the online academy provides free masterclasses and workshops for young people studying an orchestral instrument at Grade 4 or above. Each one will be led by members of the Orchestra of Opera North.

The workshops will be held during February half term and will celebrate what makes each instrument special and explore new ways in which the participants can develop technical ability and overall musicality in a friendly, supportive and safe environment.

Orchestral Academy Online provides free workshops and masterclasses for young orchestral musicians © Justin Slee


Starts: February 2021

Inspired by the Song Surgeries which soprano Bibi Heal has been running online with Opera North’s Community Partners, ONe-to-ONe is designed to bring the thrill of performance direct to people’s living rooms.

From mid-February, there will be a chance for community groups, care homes, Opera North supporters and anyone in need of some lockdown positivity, to have a song or instrumental piece performed for them live on Zoom by a member of the Chorus or Orchestra of Opera North. The one-to-ones will need to be booked in advance via the website.

Opera North will be offering private online performances through ONe to ONe © Robert Workman

From Couch to Chorus: Sing into Spring

Starts: Wednesday 24 February

Book now

With over 90 per cent of previous From Couch to Chorus participants saying it had a significant impact on their wellbeing, Opera North’s virtual choir returns in February with From Couch to Chorus: Sing into Spring.

Over four weeks under the guidance of a professional choral director, participants will learn uplifting repertoire from Mozart, Verdi and Dvořák. New for this edition are evening sessions for those who find it more convenient to attend at the end of the day. The series will also be more accessible than ever with all the day-time sessions being live-captioned, and people able to request the resources in large print or Braille.

A special series of free fortnightly online singing workshops is additionally being held for people living with persistent pain as part of the Footsteps Festival 2021. Step Into Singing has been developed in collaboration with those with chronic pain as well as specialists in the field, and focuses on helping people to live well despite pain using breathing exercises, vocal techniques and a healthy dose of singing.

Opera North From Couch to Chorus returns with Sing into Spring © Bill Cooper

Richard Mantle, General Director, Opera North:

“During these uncertain times, we have stayed firm in our commitment to make music accessible to everyone in a variety of ways, from live streaming opera and concerts to encouraging both novice and more experienced singers to come together over Zoom for our From Couch to Chorus virtual choir.

“Until we are able to welcome audiences back in person, we remain determined to facilitate a digital engagement with music for as many people as possible, whether they are looking to use it for reflection, inspiration, joy or reassurance. Our hope is that this new suite of digital activity will help those who have taken on the additional burden of home schooling, while also offering some lighter moments for people who may feel isolated in their houses.”

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