I know that I am a little late with this but I have purposely waited so as to make sure that the events I am writing about are certain (or as certain as things can be these days) to take place. I am getting quite disheartened at the amount of emails I am receiving from PR people cancelling stuff which people have worked so hard to get off the ground.
Those lovely people at Opera North have been working their socks off to provide some festive cheer and here is a round up of their efforts.
Saturday, 12th December sees the beginning of two events which should give the festive period a kick-start; Fidelio, and As You Are: A Leeds Soundwalk.
Fidelio is Beethoven’s only opera, so he either didn’t like it enough to repeat the experience, or he just wanted to show off by writing something other than his other stuff. Whatever the reason it is considered a masterpiece by those in the know and you can judge for yourself by watching the live stream from Leeds Town Hall at 7.00pm in the comfort of your own living room. If you can’t bear to miss watching a load of ‘celebrities’ you have never heard of prancing around a ballroom then Fidelio will be available for a further seven days. The cost is just £15, a bargain for the most comfortable seat in the house and no corkage charge should you wish to indulge in a bottle of something whilst you watch and listen. Morse would have loved it!
Earlier in the day there is the outdoor event – As You Are: A Leeds Soundwalk – which is a guided tour of everybody’s favourite city. The idea is that you collect a set of suitably sanitised headphones from Victoria Gate Shopping Centre and listen to specially composed music as you meander through town. The music changes as you pass from one section to the next, being triggered by transmitters en route. Your soundtrack is provided by the Chorus and Orchestra of Opera North and has been composed by Anna Mudeka, Simo Lagnawi and Sidiki Dembélé. Although the walks depart at set times with there being a maximum of six people at each, all of whom must comply with the social distancing rules in place at the time, you can take the walk at your own pace (pun intended). It is only 2km and should take about 30-40 minutes. The good bit is that it is on a Pay As You Feel basis but I would suggest that, if your circumstances allow, you err on the generous side. If they don’t then just enjoy and pay with an appreciative smile and word of thanks. See below for booking details.
From Thursday, 17th December until Monday, 4th January, in order to cater for families who are not able to get to a pantomime this year, and those who are, ONDemand is offering a filmed version of Whistle Stop Opera: Cinderella. It is suitable for 5 year-olds and above – so that’s the one for me – and tells the well-known fairy tale using excerpts from classical works based on the story by composers as diverse as Rossini and Rodgers and Hammerstein. This offering will have been road tested by the time you see it as it has been offered to primary schools throughout the North of England. I am sure that their feedback will be a little less restrained than is my normal review.
For older viewers, on the same dates there will be a stream of La Petite Bohème by artist and filmmaker Matthew Robins. This was supposed to be an animated version inspired by Act III of Puccini’s opera projected onto the walls of iconic buildings in the city but that is now not possible so you will have to forego the pleasure of standing in the freezing cold and rain, settling instead for an armchair in front of a roaring fire. The sacrifices we are making for the pandemic!
Opera North realise that it is not only children who enjoy Christmas they have safely entertained residents outside selected care homes with Carols for Care Homes. A recording of these festive favourites has been made by the Chorus and Orchestra of Opera North and is available for care homes to watch online as part of their communal events.
For details of the above performances and how to book, please go to:
All images supplied by Opera North