Leeds is set to take centre-stage this autumn as Opera North launches its latest season with a series of compelling images to be displayed around its home city and used online. Each of the company’s touring venues will also get a set created especially for them.

The leading UK arts organisation has pictured some of the principal singers from the upcoming season against backdrops featuring instantly recognisable locations across the north of England. These include the Victoria Quarter in Leeds, Old Market Square in Nottingham, the Tyne Bridge in Newcastle, City Hall in Hull, and Salford Quays on the outskirts of Salford. By putting these destinations in the limelight, the company hopes to underline to everyone that opera belongs both to them and to their city.

Other initiatives to make it easier for audiences to come and experience opera wherever they live include a 6pm performance, more matinees, English subtitles at all performances and sign-interpretation, audio description and touch tours on selected dates. New to opera ticket schemes are also available to encourage newcomers to experience opera for the first time, including the Try it ON scheme offering £20 tickets for first-timers, £10 tickets for Under 30s and students, and free tickets for 16- to 20-year-olds.

The company’s latest season, which opens at Leeds Grand Theatre in September, offers magic, mystery and magnificent music in abundance. A revival of The Magic Flute sees James Brining returning to Opera North to direct a production for all ages packed with fantasy, romance and daring. The adventure sees Prince Tamino embarking on a quest to save Pamina, daughter of the Queen of the Night, from the clutches of Sarastro, the Priest of the Sun, with plenty of surprises along the way and Mozart’s breathtaking score underpinning all the action.

The magic continues with A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Benjamin Britten’s take on Shakespeare’s much-loved comedy, featuring a host of well-known characters including Bottom the weaver and the mischievous Puck. Completing the trio is Gilbert and Sullivan’s hilariously inventive Gothic parody, Ruddigore, with a reluctant villain and modest maiden joined by an assortment of amiable ghosts and scary professional bridesmaids. Directed by Jo Davies, the production was hailed as an instant classic in its first run.

In both Leeds and Huddersfield, families will also be able to enjoy The Big Opera Adventure, an interactive show for children from 5-12 years old who are invited to help save a theatre from closure alongside a host of operatic characters. With music from the Orchestra of Opera North, this is a fun and engaging opportunity for all ages to dive into the world of opera.

Tickets for all performances are available from operanorth.co.uk. After opening in Leeds, the operas tour to Newcastle, Nottingham and Salford.

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