Opera North announces its new season for 2024-2025, featuring a raft of shows full of magic, mystery and magnificent music.

The Leeds-based opera company is also finding more ways than ever to make the extraordinary experiences of great opera and music accessible for everyone, including 6pm start times for some performances, more matinee performances, English subtitles at all performances, and sign-interpretation, audio description and touch tours on selected dates.

New to opera ticket schemes are available at all tour venues, encouraging 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 season includes Mozart’s ever popular The Magic Flute, which will tour across the North from September to March. James Brining, Artistic Director and CEO of Leeds Playhouse, returns to direct this perfect opera for newer audiences of all ages, following on from his new production of Lerner and Loewe’s classic musical My Fair Lady, a collaboration between Opera North and Leeds Playhouse in May-June 2024.

A 90-minute version of The Magic Flute, The Magic Flute Lite will also tour in February and March 2025, offering the same production quality in a compact format, especially suitable for families, schools and anyone who may enjoy a shorter performance experience in the daytime.

Further productions in the year include revivals of Benjamin Britten’s beguiling take on Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, directed by Martin Duncan, and Gilbert and Sullivan’s hilariously inventive Gothic parody, Ruddigore, in a production by Jo Davies which was hailed as an instant classic in its first run. There will be an additional Relaxed and Dementia-friendly performance of Ruddigore in Leeds at 2pm on Wednesday 30 October, offering a comfortable and supportive environment where the audience is more able to move around during the performance if needed, with more lighting in the auditorium.

January 2025 sees Opera North taking on Kurt Weill and Alan Jay Lerner’s 1948 musical Love Life. An influential hit on Broadway when it first opened, it paved the way for many innovations in American musical theatre. Leading Weill expert and previous Opera North Head of Music James Holmes will conduct Weill’s score for a limited run of three unique performances in Leeds, directed by Matthew Eberhardt (Street Scene). Opera North is working with the Kurt Weill Foundation towards creating a full recording at these performances of a work which has never received a definitive cast recording.

A new production of Richard Wagner’s tempestuous music drama The Flying Dutchman will be directed by Annabel Arden and conducted by Garry Walker and will tour to theatres across the North in February and March 2025.

The season concludes with the next of Opera North’s highly regarded dramatic concert stagings, which has seen the company presenting some of the largest scale operas in concert halls across the country, placing the orchestra and chorus centre-stage. Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra, with its music of dark-hued grandeur and excitement, promises to be an unmissable event. Performances begin at St George’s Hall, Bradford, during the city’s UK City of Culture 2025 celebrations, and then visit concert halls in Liverpool, Gateshead, Nottingham and Hull before a final performance at London’s Royal Festival Hall.

Pictured above Samantha Hay as Queen of the Night in Opera North’s 2019 production of the Magic Flute. Picture by Alastair Muir

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