Opera North Projects

Sit Bach and Enjoy (2010)

Light Night Leeds, October 2010 

A spotlight comes on; a single performer is illuminated, lifts the bow, and begins to play. What do you do?

Not normally a question you ask yourself at a classical music concert, beyond trying not to cough. But, turning traditional ideas of performance space and audience upside-down, this performance installation gives the viewer the power to choose how they interact with musicians without the protective armour of stage, seating and a twenty minute interval. 

Inspired by a desire to take away the ritual of the classical recital and see what happens, the Bachathon is an experiment. Four outstanding musicians play some of J.S. Bach’s most beautiful solo music, whilst audience members decide where to sit, how to listen, and when to leave - while the performers play on.  

Set against a strange but simple landscape of chairs, chaises-longues and stools, the effect is captivating: audiences form natural waves of movement between movements in the music; the law of the jungle is enacted at its most controlled as people pounce on the best armchair; they lie, kiss, play, sleep and above all listen in a hundred different ways, becoming part of the performance.

This piece is durational and lasts approximately five hours with no breaks.

Craig Ogden - Guitar
Matthew Sharp - Cello
Annette Saunders - Harpsichord
Andrew Long -Violin
Tim Skelly – Lighting Design

First performed over five hours to 800 audience members at Opera North, October 2010.

The Artists

Craig Ogden is an Australian born guitarist. Craig’s Classic FM albums The Guitarist and Summertime both shot straight to no.1 in the UK classical chart in summer 2010 and 2011 respectively. Craig Ogden has performed concertos with all of the main UK orchestras plus many abroad and has presented on BBC Radio 3. Craig is also Principal Lecturer in Guitar at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester and Visiting Lecturer at London’s Royal College of Music.

Matthew Sharp has appeared with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, European Camerata and Orchestra of the Swan. Matthew combines these ‘classical’ activities with a pioneering outlook across disciplines. He has launched the Bath and Brighton Festivals and given solo performances at Glastonbury and Latitude.

Annette Saunders studied at the Royal Academy of Music and Royal College of Music winning several awards for solo recitals and opera. She regularly performs with chamber ensembles and singers in the United Kingdom and internationally, including live broadcasts for Classic FM and Radio 3. 

Andrew Long was Assistant Leader of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra from 2003 to 2008. In April 2009 he was appointed Sub-Leader to the Orchestra of Opera North. As a soloist, he has given over 300 recitals, including performances in Norway and Czechoslovakia.

Performance History


Howard Assembly Room, Leeds
Friday 8th October 2010

Get in touch

If you're interested to learn more about any of our initiatives, or would like to get involved, please contact us on...

Phone: +44 (0)113 243 9999
Address: Opera North Grand Theatre,
46 New Briggate, Leeds, LS1 6NU


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