SOMETHING FOR ALL THE FAMILY FROM OPERA NORTH
Opera North is preparing to spread Christmas cheer in Leeds and the surrounding area with a packed month of orchestral and choral spectaculars, live soundtracks, seasonal world music, pop-up performances and festive fun for all the family.
The Orchestra of Opera North will be giving Santa run for his money in the weeks leading up to the festive season. On 9 December, they join forces with Leeds Festival Chorus for Festive Box of Delights at Leeds Town Hall, a programme of classical favourites with a seasonal flavour, plus stunning orchestral and choral excerpts from Mascagni’s Cavalleriarusticana, a highlight of Opera North’s Autumn season.
Then it’s on to Huddersfield Town Hall for The Snowman and Cinderella, accompanying Raymond Briggs’ cherished animation on the big screen with Howard Blake’s enchanting score. Narrator John Savournin opens the evening with Prokofiev’s Cinderella Suite, full of mystery and atmosphere and accompanied by spellbinding illustrations. For hometown audiences, the double bill is reprised at Leeds Town Hall on 17 December.
Following a break for some festivities of their own, the Orchestra ventures out to Hull Town Hall on 29 December for Viennese Whirl, a traditional musical trip through a glittering bygone world of waltzes, polkas, marches and song, and the perfect way to celebrate Opera North’s return to full-scale performance in the city this year. The following day they take the programme to Huddersfield Town Hall, ending up at Leeds Town Hall on New Year’s Eve. Soprano Jeni Bern makes a welcome return for all three dates, and conductor Justin Brown makes his Opera North debut.
With the Howard Assembly Room’s Victorian interior candlelit and festooned with decorations, the Christmas programme at Opera North’s chamber venue has become a fixture for Leeds audiences looking for a festive experience with a difference.Romanian singer OanaCǎtǎlinaChiţu opens the season on 1 December with a special programme of tango and songs sung by her country’s national diva, Maria Tănase, her rich, smoky voice accompanied by the evocative sounds of the cimbalom.
Christmas pieces from the classical canon and around the world will be performed by a specially assembled chamber group led by violinist David Le Page in matinee and early evening concerts Wishing on Stars on 16 December. The evening concert will open with a half-hour performance of classic festive pieces by the Christmas Chorus, an after-work vocal workshop run by Opera North’s Education department over the preceding ten weeks. For younger audiences and their families, Babushka and the Russian Dolloffers atmospheric folk tales, live music and aChristmas decorations workshop on 18 December.
On 5 December, over 100 children from Windmill and Low Road Primary Schools will gather under the dome at Trinity Leeds for the traditional Opera North Festive Fanfare, a freehalf hour concert of Christmas hymns interspersed with rousing brass band music from 2.30pm.
Opera North’s Young Voices will open their festivities at a Christmas Choir-a-thon in Leeds Trinity at 11am on 9 December.They join 15 other choirs singing for Christmas shoppers for a total of 16 hours across Friday and Saturday in aid of the St Vincent de Paul Society, supporting those in poverty in Leeds and the surrounding area.
For more information and to book tickets for any Opera North performances, visit operanorth.co.uk or contact Box Office on 0844 848 2720.