With the start of a new year, it’s time to take a fresh look at what you’d like to do in the coming months.

Whether you’d love to acquire a new skill or rediscover a lapsed talent, here are our top five suggestions to make this year your most creative yet.

1. Give opera a go

If you’ve never been to an opera before, now’s the time to give it a try. With its intoxicating mix of astounding music, compelling drama and eye-catching costumes and sets, it’s a theatrical experience like no other – and, even if it isn’t sung in English, you’ll always understand what’s going on thanks to the subtitles on either side of the stage. As a first-timer you can also take advantage of Try it ON which offers two great seats in the stalls for just £20 each.

Fancy taking a mischievous look at love? Mozart’s Così fan tutte opens at Leeds Grand Theatre in February and offers romance, disguises and surprises in spades. Prefer an explosion of passionate emotions? This season’s double bill featuring Mascagni’s Cavalleria rusticana and Rachmaninov’s Aleko will be right down your street.

Enjoy a night at the opera

Mozart's Così fan tutte returns to Opera North in the winter season © Tristram Kenton

2. Start singing

Would you like to be able to hit the high notes? If the answer’s yes, why not make 2024 the year you learn some singing skills? Our beginners Sing ON workshops go back to basics as our professional singers show you how to develop a lasting singing practice, sharing their top tips and giving guidance on how to control your breath and how to listen properly.

Even better, a range of wellbeing benefits has been attributed to group singing including an endorphin boost to make you feel good, reduced stress and anxiety, more energy, improved circulation and enhanced lung health.

Book to sing

Sing ON offers an opportunity to learn to sing in a group © Tom Arber

3. Learn a musical instrument

For younger members of the family, Opera North’s Young Musicians Studio is offering free woodwind sessions for a term in January. Open to young people in Year 6 and above, the Beginner Woodwind Programme gives them an opportunity to learn how to play the flute, oboe, clarinet or bassoon completely free of charge. Not only that but they also get to learn musicianship, improvisation and composition.

The sessions are held at Trinity Academy Leeds on a Saturday morning alongside the Young Musicians Studio which also offers tuition in brass and strings and is the next step for those keen to carry on learning.

Register to play

Young people can learn to play the bassoon for free with Opera North's Young Musicians Studio © Tom Arber

4. Go clubbing somewhere new

Looking for a new place to dance the night away? If so, take a trip to the Howard Assembly Room, our very own venue in the heart of Leeds, and embark on a journey of discovery with the new HAR Late, twilight treats for adventurous music-lovers.

The first will be an opportunity to discover more about the world of cutting-edge electronic music. The evening begins with Lisa Rovner’s award-winning documentary Sisters with Transistors which tells the overlooked story of electronic music’s female pioneers and their influence on music today. Then it’s time to get moving with three live sets featuring award-winning composer and improviser Loula Yorke, trailblazing artist NikNak and DJ, creative and teacher Gracie T.

Discover a new favourite

HAR Lates launch in 2024 with Sisters with Transistors

5. Become a mixologist

Being able to mix the perfect drink is definitely a skill worth acquiring. If you agree, gather some friends and head to Kino on New Briggate for a Cocktail Masterclass where our resident mixologist will show you how to shake, stir and pour like a pro. For just £30 per person, you’ll learn how to make – and taste – three different cocktails while delving into the history behind their creation. Fun competitions will give everyone the chance to win a prize and, to ensure you can recreate your favourite tipple at home, you’ll be given a handy step-by-step guide to take away with you.

If that all makes you feel rather peckish, you can add on a selection of hot and cold bar snacks for an additional £10 per person or a two course meal in Kino for an extra £30 per person.

Make me a mixologist

Learn how to mix cocktails like a pro with a Cocktail Masterclass at Kino © Jo Ritchie


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