Opera North Projects

Hy Brasil

The isle is full of noises

Hy Brasil is a mysterious, enchanted island, hidden in fog somewhere off the coast of Ireland. It reveals itself to human eye and ear just one day every seven years. This specially commissioned work by sound artist Chris Watson (BBC TV’s award-winning Frozen Planet), brings that day on Hy Brasil to life in an immersive sound installation.

Hy Brasil is composed of compelling wildlife sounds from around the world, drawing visitors deep into the haunting song of seals and the awe-inspiring shrieks of thousands of Manx shearwaters. With glorious ambi-sonic sound and beautiful lighting, this lighting this installation, running on a 30 minute loop, takes visitors on a unique four stage journey into the strange and magical world of Hy Brasil.

A sound installation by Chris Watson

Lighting design by Tim Skelly

Spatial sound design and installation software programming by Tony Myatt

Produced by Opera North Projects

Supported by the Opera North Future Fund, The Emerald Foundation and Esmée Fairbairn Foundation
Audio equipment supported by Pro Audio


Chris Watson is one of the world's leading recorders of wildlife and natural phenomena. As a sound artist he edits his field recordings into a filmic narrative for albums and installations.  He was a founding member of the influential Sheffield based experimental music group Cabaret Voltaire during the 1970’s and early 1980’s. His sound recording career began in 1981 when he joined Tyne Tees Television. Since then he has developed a particular and passionate interest in recording the wildlife sounds of animals, habitats and atmospheres from around the world.

His television work includes many programmes in the David Attenborough ‘Life’ and the BBC series ‘Frozen Planet’ which won him a BAFTA Award for ‘Best Factual Sound’ (2012).

His broadcasting work has made him a familiar presence on Radio 4 and his music is regularly featured on the BBC Radio 3 programme ‘Late Junction’.  In 2000 he received an Award Of Distinction for his CD ‘Outside The Circle Of Fire’ in the Digital Musics section of the Prix Ars Electronica by ORF in Linz, Austria.

Your reaction

'In the world of wildlife sound recording, Chris Watson is the daddy’ The Guardian

‘A beautiful self-contained vacation from the rush and unrest of Leeds, and the show provides a wild sense of escapism rarely presented in the heart of such a busy city’ Corridor8

‘Completely immersive - as a sound recordist beginner, I will take great inspiration from this experience’ Attendee

‘My daughter loved the space and let her imagination run wild- loved the cushions and stars. The sounds made her pretend the animals were around. Good fun!’ Attendee

‘I like it, I like the noises and the dot to dot puzzles and the crossword and the lights and the chairs and the cushions. Mum says – who knew limpets were so noisy! Brilliant.’ Attendee aged 4


Howard Assembly Room, Leeds

28th February to 15th March

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Phone: +44 (0)113 243 9999
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46 New Briggate, Leeds, LS1 6NU

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