Switch ON is Opera North’s programme of new indoor performances, outdoor events and digital projects.
If you’re worried about ticket availability, don’t be. Over 14,000 tickets across 40 different venues will be available. 79% of these will be free, pay as you feel or under £15.
Indoor events include double-bill of Handel’s pastoral opera Acis and Galatea and Brecht and Weill’s acerbic ‘sung ballet’, Seven Deadly Sins, which will be performed at Leeds Playhouse from 11th to 21st November.
In December Opera North will open its concert tour of Beethoven’s only opera, Fidelio, at Leeds Town Hall before taking it on tour to other venues in the North. It will be conducted by Mark Wigglesworth and will star a whole host of well known opera names.
A newly devised Whistle Stop Opera: Cinderella offers a relaxed and fun introduction to opera. It will tour to smaller scale venues across the North. The show will star three singers and an accordion, showcasing the music of different composers’ takes on the same fairy tale. This production will tour to venues including the City Varieties and Slung Low at The Holbeck in Leeds, The Lowry, Salford Quays, Rosehill Theatre in Whitehaven, Otley Courthouse and the National Centre for Early Music in York with more to be announced.
The Orchestra of Opera North will also return to Leeds Town Hall as part of the Leeds International Concert Season on 3rd October.
In the run up to Christmas, artist and filmmaker Matthew Robins’ new animation re-interpreting Act III of Puccini’s La bohème will be projected in found spaces in cities across the North. It’s a 20 minute short film featuring a brand new soundtrack recorded by the Orchestra and Chorus of Opera North, including guest soloists. Audiences in Leeds will be able to experience the film projected at the Corn Exchange, on campus at The University of Leeds, and at outdoor locations across Leeds city centre.
Richard Mantle, General Director, Opera North, comments: “Opera North is determined to keep performing and sharing incredible music with communities in our home city of Leeds, in villages, towns and cities across the North, and with audiences digitally beyond geographical limits. There is no doubt in my mind that arts venues are exemplary in providing a safe and secure environment in which to enjoy live performance and we can contribute to enlivening and building back city centres. Although all our current planning is against the unpredictable background of Covid-19, meaning that some venues or dates may shift to reflect changing circumstances, our commitment to sharing great opera and music is unwavering.
“Today’s announcement including the new double-bill of Acis and Galatea & Seven Deadly Sins and Fidelio, completes the line-up for our Switch ON season this Autumn, designed to reintroduce performances safely and innovatively in a wide range of contexts and venues.
“As the furlough scheme comes to an end, we also hope that members of the Orchestra and Chorus of Opera North will be able to give additional small scale performances in as many different venues and spaces as possible, working around the recordings, concerts and operas already announced.
“Beyond Switch ON, we are planning to be back in Leeds Grand Theatre early in the New Year, and hope to announce operatic repertoire for early 2021 very soon. We are working closely with our partners at Leeds Grand Theatre to ensure that we are able to return to the theatre safely and in accordance with social distancing for all audiences, performers, backstage and front of house staff.”
Photograph credited to Tom Arber