Kevin Puts (2011) | UK Premiere
Inspired by a true story, as depicted in the 2005 film Joyeux Noël, Silent Night tells the story of the 1914 Christmas truce, when peace spontaneously broke out between French, German and Scottish troops in the trenches during the First World War.
Lyrical, cinematic and expressive, the Pulitzer Prize-winning score by American composer Kevin Puts is combined with a multilingual libretto by Mark Campbell to create a richly textured, deeply affecting contemporary work.
German opera singer Nikolaus Sprink, now a soldier, is ordered to perform for the Crown Prince Wilhelm, behind the front line on Christmas Eve, 1914. Back at the front later that night, upon hearing some of the Scottish soldiers singing, Sprink responds with a rousing song, and raises a Christmas tree above the bunker. Yet the moment of hope and humanity that follows proves to be only a brief respite from the futility and horror of the War.
Conducted by Nicholas Kok and directed by Tim Albery, the British premiere production of Silent Night will be staged at Leeds Town Hall, as part of a series of events in Leeds marking the centenary of the end of the First World War.
Supported by generous gifts from The Liz and Terry Bramall Foundation, The Holbeck Charitable Trust and the Opera North Future Fund.
Approximately 2 hours 30 minutes
Sung in English, German and French with English titles
The glorious sound of The Tallis Scholars lifts up the Howard Assembly Room at Christmas time, with a programme of sacred early music for the festive period, including masses by Palestrina, Byrd’s This day Christ was born and Lullaby as well as Josquin’s Ave Maria.
The ensemble creates a purity of sound which allows every detail of the musical lines to be heard. Under the direction of Peter Philips, The Tallis Scholars have gone from strength to strength.
Through recordings and more than two thousand concerts they have established themselves throughout the world as the leading exponents of Renaissance sacred music.
The rock stars of Renaissance vocal music
New York Times
|Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina||Hodie Christus natus est|
|Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina||Missa Hodie Christus natus est (Kyrie and Gloria)|
|Josquin des Prez||Ave Maria|
|Ludwig Senfl||Ave Maria|
|Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina||Missa Hodie Christus natus est (Credo, Sanctus and Agnus dei)|
|William Byrd||This day Christ was born|
|Hieronymus Praetorius||Magnificat V (shorter with In dulci jubilo embedded)|
See out the old year and welcome in the new with a celebratory concert from Yorkshire’s symphony orchestra; the Orchestra of Opera North.
This Viennese-inspired afternoon programme includes a glittering collection of much-loved music, including the ever-popular Blue Danube, and will see the Orchestra waltz, polka and march you into the New Year with style! A sparkling musical journey through some of the finest music from the Strauss family, as well as other classical masterpieces from the giants of the Austrian music scene is a must for your diary and a wonderful addition to your New Year festivities.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1791)
The Magic Flute is a story about the trials of life: growing up, finding your way in the world, and learning to love.
Adventure jostles with fantasy, comedy with drama, and Mozart sets it all to a score full of miraculous music. Popular songs are mixed with stirring choruses, arias of heart-melting beauty with dazzling vocal pyrotechnics.
Enter an enchanted world and join Prince Tamino on his quest to rescue Pamina, daughter of the Queen of the Night, held captive by Sarastro, the Priest of the Sun. Tamino is accompanied by Papageno, a bird-catcher, who is also on a quest – to find himself a wife, his Papagena. But their mission soon becomes a journey of discovery, for nothing – not even Day and Night – is quite as it first appears.
The Magic Flute is a delight for audiences of all ages. This new production by James Brining – who directed the acclaimed West Yorkshire Playhouse / Opera North co-production of Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods in 2016 – is sure to boost its reputation as the ideal introduction to opera for everyone.
Approximately 2 hours 45 minutes
Sung in English
Leoš Janáček (1921)
Janáček took his inspiration for Katya Kabanova from several sources: a Russian play, The Storm; his admiration for Puccini’s Madama Butterfly; and above all, his own unrequited love for a married woman.
Katya is a woman with a gentle soul and a passionate nature, drowning in a narrow-minded small-town society. She is married to Tichon, a weak man entirely under the thumb of his nightmare of a mother. Katya has caught the eye of the romantic Boris, and when her husband leaves on a business trip, temptation proves impossible to resist. Katya and Boris embark on a passionate affair, spending every night together. But when her husband returns, a storm breaks in Katya’s heart and mind. Overwhelmed by a sense of guilt, she feels compelled to confess her sin.
In Katya Kabanova, Janáček created one of opera’s authentic masterpieces, charting his heroine’s tragedy with profound compassion in wildly beautiful music that crackles with tension and barely suppressed eroticism.
Tim Albery's atmospheric, highly-charged production is led by one of the country's most distinguished conductors, Sian Edwards, making her Opera North debut.
Approximately 1 hours 45 minutes (with no interval)
Sung in English with English titles
|Sat 9 Feb||6.30 – 7.00pm||Book now|
|Thu 21 Feb||6.30 – 7.00pm||Book now|
|Wed 27 Feb||6.30 – 7.00pm||Book now|
This double-bill of modernist and experimental works offer very different reflections on the decline of an old world order and the beginning of the new.
The Rite of Spring
Igor Stravinsky (1913)
For the first time, Opera North collaborates with Leeds-based, internationally-renowned Phoenix Dance Theatre in a new production of a work that revolutionized 20th-century music and dance.
The premiere of The Rite of Spring in Paris on 29 May 1913 was a succès de scandale. Stravinsky wrote in a letter home that ‘things got as far as fighting’, whilst the impresario Serge Diaghilev claimed that the audience’s ritotous reaction to the music and – especially – to Nijinsky’s choreography was ‘exactly what I wanted’.
Structured in two parts, ‘The Adoration of the Earth’ and ‘The Sacrifice’, the ballet draws on Russian folklore to conjure up a world of primitive religious ceremony, ancestor worship and ritual sacrifice. Whereas conventional ballet aspired to free dancers from gravity, Nijinsky’s choreography and Stravinsky’s music rooted them in the earth.
Stravinsky wedded the shifting metres of Russian folk music to a modernist harmonic language, with stamping bass-lines and off-the-beat accents generating a pulverizing rhythmic energy.
Frequently heard in the concert hall, The Rite of Spring sounds eternally modern. This new production returns the ballet to its true home in the theatre.
Co-Production with Phoenix Dance Theatre
Giacomo Puccini (1918)
Gianni Schicchi is a bitterly sardonic comedy played out around the death-bed of a rich man. The scheming relatives who vie for a chunk of his fortune are all too recognizable types, revealing the greed and avarice which lie just below the thin veneer of their family loyalties.
Puccini’s only outright comedy is based on an episode in Dante’s Inferno, and Christopher Alden’s wickedly satirical production frames the action in the early Renaissance, when medieval cobwebs were blown away by radically new ways of thinking. At the same time, the chic modern Italian costumes are a sly nod in the direction of the ageless themes which Puccini exploits to brilliantly farcical effect – after all, those scheming relatives may bear an uncanny resemblance to our own family members!
With its vivid characterization and the spontaneity of its musical invention, Gianni Schicchi is a comic masterpiece in miniature, and features one of Puccini’s bestloved arias, ‘O mio babbino caro’.
Approximately 2 hours 10 minutes
Gianni Schicchi is sung in Italian with English titles
|Sat 23 Feb||6.00 – 6.45pm||Book now|
|Thu 28 Feb||6.30 – 7.00pm||Book now|
|Sat 2 Mar||6.30 – 7.00pm||Book now|
Giuseppe Verdi (1874) | Concert Staging
Commissioned to create a grand opera to inaugurate the new opera house in Cairo, Verdi responded by creating a historical fantasy of Egypt on a tragic theme.
Yet for all its scenes of spectacle, such as the famous triumphal march, at the heart of Aida is a web of intimate personal relationships between people caught in the crossfire of international conflict.
Egypt is at war with Ethiopia. Aida, daughter of the Ethiopian king, has been captured by the Egyptians. Secretly, she loves an Egyptian general, Radamès, and he returns her love. When Radamès is selected to lead a renewed assault against the enemy, Aida is forced to choose between betraying her country and betraying her heart.
The leading characters in Aida are as conflicted as the war-torn world they inhabit, and for the doomed lovers, Radamès and Aida, Verdi reserved some of his finest arias – his ‘Celeste Aida’ and her ‘O patria mia’ for example.
This new concert staging of Aida is by Annabel Arden, whose award-winning production of Turandot for Opera North electrified audiences in 2017.
Approximately 2 hours 50 minutes
Sung in Italian with English titles