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Opera in the City to close our Millennium Square weekend

The Orchestra of Opera North will close our annual long weekend Millennium Square, Leeds on Sunday 24 July with Opera in the City, an alfresco evening of operatic favourites and classical masterpieces.

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Welsh soprano Elin Pritchard – an Opera North favourite who appears in our acclaimed staging of Wagner’s epic Parsifal throughout June – will return to Leeds to channel the joy and heartbreak of opera’s greatest heroines, including Mimì from Puccini’s La bohème and Dvořák’s Rusalka (‘Song to the Moon’).

The brilliant Korean tenor David Junghoon Kim will make his Opera North debut in selections including the haunting ‘Oh Lola, ch’ai di latte’ from Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana, and perhaps the best-loved tenor aria of them all, ‘Nessun dorma’ from Puccini’s Turandot. He joins Elin in Mimì and Rodolfo’s glowing duet from La bohème, ‘O soave fanciulla’, and a lighter take on the follies of love from Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore: ‘caro elisir’.

Under the internationally-renowned conductor Martin André, the Orchestra of Opera North ranges from the tragic sweep of Puccini’s Manon Lescaut, through the breathless Polonaise from Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, to the folky exuberance of the Polovtsian Dances from Borodin’s Prince Igor.

Outgoing Leader of the Orchestra of Opera North David Greed fronts the ensemble for a last goodbye as soloist in Massenet’s moving Méditation from Thaïs, and there’s a special appearance from the Ukrainian soprano Inna Husieva, currently a Young Artist at the National Opera Studio.

If packing all the emotion and drama of opera and classical music into a single concert wasn’t proof enough of the Orchestra’s skill, two more events over the weekend, part of Leeds City Council’s Millennium Square Summer Series, showcase its astonishing versatility. On Friday 22 July, Kim Wilde, Belinda Carlisle, Johnny Hates Jazz, Hue and Cry and voice of Five Star Denise Pearson will join the ensemble for super-sized orchestral versions of their greatest hits, in the third edition of 80s Classical. The following day, Saturday 23 July, brings Club Classical Anthems with special guest vocalists including John Newman and dance legends Ultra Naté and Black Box fronting the ensemble.

Phil Boughton, Director of Orchestra and Chorus, Opera North, comments:

“After two years away, we’re thrilled to complete Opera North’s annual residency in the heart of Leeds with the announcement of this Sunday gala concert. With a programme showing the full spectrum of the operatic and orchestral repertoire, and brilliant, charismatic soloists accompanied by our 60-strong ensemble all fired up for the summer festivities, it’ll be the perfect introduction to opera for any newcomers, and a night of classical ‘hits’ to delight our loyal home audience”.

Opera in the City starts at 5.30pm on Sunday 24 July, with gates opening at 4pm. Audience members are welcome to bring their own picnics (excluding alcoholic drinks), and a range of food stalls and bars will be available on the Square.

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