Opera North puts wellbeing centre-stage this month, with four special events in the Howard Assembly Room designed to soothe, revitalise and spread joy. Audiences can immerse themselves in a listening session with THABO, embark on a family-friendly adventure with Ladies of Midnight Blue, hear BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award winner Maddie Morris perform a relaxed concert and bask in a meditative Sound Bath with musicians from the Orchestra of Opera North.

Collective listening and connection

Wellbeing Weekend opens on Friday 22 March at 6.30pm with Lalela – Listen with THABO. Curated and hosted by musician Thabo Mkwananzi, who completed a residency with Opera North in 2019 via its Resonance programme, the session explores the ceremonial elements of collective listening – lalela means ‘listen’ in Ndebele.

Part of the BantuTronic collective, THABO draws on its philosophy of merging ancient Bantu traditions and memories with visions of futuristic dreams, connecting with his audience through music, storytelling, and multisensory, immersive experiences.

Listen with THABO

Afro-futuristic family fun

Ladies of Midnight Blue lead A Love Revolution on Saturday 23 March at 3pm. Audiences are invited to join their mission to change the world; journeying through imagined realms of time, space and music, exploring ancestral symbols and proverbs from West Africa, Jamaica and Dominican Republic. All ages can discover the wisdom these offer for living a life full of joy, while bringing about positive change in the world.

Hannabiell Sanders and Yilis del Carmen Suriel create captivating rhythms against a backdrop of vibrant projections. Hannabiell describes the unifying power of their performance in the latest episode of our Artistic Futures podcast: “we try to make waves and transform this world through our music, bringing joy, love, compassion and happiness to people”.

Join the revolution

Ladies of Midnight Blue, Hannabiell Sanders and Yilis del Carmen Suriel

Relaxed Sunday folk songs

Next up, Leeds’ own Maddie Morris is joined by guitarist and singer George Sansome for a relaxed concert on Sunday 24 March at 3pm, showcasing contemporary folk music from around Yorkshire. Maddie’s music combines exceptional vocal talent with activism and storytelling, exploring themes of identity and LGBTQ+ inclusivity.

Audience inclusion is also at the heart of the concert, with its informal, dementia-friendly setting designed to ensure everyone feels welcome and comfortable. Before the show, audience members are invited to join a short touch tour, where they can handle the musicians’ instruments and become more familiar with (and comfortable in) the venue space.

See Maddie in concert

Maddie Morris and George Sansome

A healing Sound Bath

The weekend closes on Sunday 24 March at 6.30pm with a restorative Sound Bath led by Opera North harpist Céline Saout, with breathwork by trombonist Blair Sinclair. The session (which is currently sold out) begins with a series of calming breathing techniques designed to help participants reach a meditative state, before the healing frequencies of the harp, Himalayan singing bowls, gong and quartz crystal bowls wash over them.

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Céline Saout, Orchestra of Opera North harpist


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