In recognition of his outstanding contribution to opera, Opera North’s General Director Richard Mantle has been awarded a Knighthood in His Majesty the King’s inaugural Birthday Honours list.
Richard joined Opera North in 1994. His leadership and vision over the past 30 years has resulted in the company becoming one of the most admired arts organisations in the UK, renowned for its award-winning work, bold and adventurous spirit, commitment to excellence and for creating extraordinary experiences for both audiences and the wider community through its extensive outreach work in Leeds and touring venues across the north of England. It is the only opera company in the country to have been recognised as a Theatre of Sanctuary and is leading the way in sustainability with a Green Season announced for Autumn 2023.
During his tenure at Opera North, Richard has also overseen two significant capital developments. In 2009, the Transformation programme saw the opening of the 300-seat Howard Assembly Room, which rapidly gained a loyal following for its eclectic music, talks and film programme. This was followed by the more recent Music Works project which redeveloped Opera North’s home in Leeds creating additional rehearsal space for the Orchestra and Chorus, dedicated Education studios and improved front of house facilities for the Howard Opera Centre, including Kino, a new addition to the city’s restaurant and bar scene.
Richard had already built an impressive career in music before being appointed General Director at Opera North. He was Managing Director at both Edmonton Opera in Canada and Scottish Opera and Deputy Managing Director at English National Opera. He was previously awarded an OBE in June 2013 for services to music and holds honorary doctorates from the Universities of Leeds and York.