Wednesday, 30th September sees the launch of Opera North’s Switch ON Season (ON – Opera North – geddit?) and what better way to kick it off than with a concert from Leeds Town Hall featuring the highlights of recent productions and exclusive previews of forthcoming events which will be broadcast live on-line.
Switch ON: Live from Leeds will be introduced by broadcaster and writer Suzi Klein and feature the members of the Orchestra of Opera North who will perform the second movement of Dvorák’s String Quintet No.2 and accompany the Chorus and soloists including Fflur Wyn, Katie Bird, Tim Nelson, Nicholas Watts, Amy Freston and Elizabeth Llewellyn. The previews will be of works by Handel, Beethoven and Puccini along with excerpts from recent Opera North commissions by Jasdeep Singh Degun and Will Todd.
Katie Bird and Tim Nelson will perform the Act III duet from La bohème a piece which will be included in Matthew Robins’ animated paper-cut film reimagining of the third act which will be projected onto walls and buildings across the North of England in the run-up to Christmas.
There will be an excerpt of the community opera Song of Our Heartland by Will Tod which has been reconstructed in digital form after its scheduled May premiere was cancelled.
I was fortunate enough to be invited to attend the World Premiere of Arya, a sitar concerto by Jasdeep Singh Degun which was amazing but unfortunately the tour fell victim to the pandemic before it could be completed. Part of the work will be performed in chamber form and I can’t wait to see that.
A film of the company’s condensed ‘Whistle Stop’ tour of Hansel and Gretel by Englebert Humperdinck was made at its final date in Halifax and an extract will be included in the programme. It is directed and narrated by John Savournin.
A taster of the forthcoming Connecting Voices season in collaboration with Leeds Playhouse will take the form of a set from MC and theatre-maker Andy ‘Testament’ Brooks and director Aletta Collins
Nicholas Watts, tenor, and Head of Music, David Cowan on piano will perform a song from Schubert’s Die Schöne Müllerin. This was performed brilliantly at the recent socially distanced concert at Leeds Town Hall.
The evening will be closed by Elizabeth Llewellyn leading the Chorus of Opera North in the Easter Hymn from Cavalleria Rusticana which should do the job a treat.
Opera North’s Switch ON: Live from Leeds can be streamed live via OperaVision and the Opera NorthYouTube Channel at 7.00pm on Wednesday, 30th September and on demand thereafter.
As Timothy Leary could have said in the Sixties, but didn’t – Switch ON, Tune in and Chill Out.
For full details of all of Opera North’s events please go to
All photographs provided by Opera North