I have been sitting on this information for a while now because I was getting pretty depressed having to pass on the news of scheduled performances by various organisations being cancelled or postponed over the past eighteen months. Some have been postponed and then cancelled. With the proposed lifting of restrictions and the vaccine roll-out I now feel much more confident that we have a good chance to get back to normal. It will probably be a ‘new’ normal rather than the ‘old’ normal but we will have to wait and see.

Another reason for holding fire was that the tickets only went on sale in late June and so I thought that, if you are anything like me – heaven forfend, you would make a mental note to buy a ticket when the are released and then forget all about it. The moral: go to the link at the foot of the preview and buy them NOW!

Garry Walker. Photograph by Justin Slee

The programme is varied with traditional works from Bizet, Verdi, Handel and Wagner through to a couple of pieces from Bernstein. We also have the mouthwatering prospect of seeing a true superstar.

Chrystal E Williams. Photograph provided by Opera North

The first cab on the rank is Bizet’s Carmen conducted by Garry Walker in his first production as Opera North’s Music Director. It stars Chrystal E Williams and Antoine Bélanger under the direction of Edward Dick.

Trouble in Tahiti Photograph by Alastair Muir

There follows a double bill of works by Leonard Bernstein; Trouble in Tahiti and West Side Story Symphonic Dances in collaboration with Phoenix Dance Theatre. The conductor is Anthony Hermus.

Femi Elufowoju Jnr. Photograph by Tyler Fayose

Next up is Rigoletto by Verdi, directed by Femi Elufowoju Jnr, in his operatic debut. It is conducted by Garry Walker and stars Eric Greene, Roman Arndt, Jasmine Habersham and last but by no means least, the amazing Sir Willard White. What a way to start a career!

Eric Greene. Photograph by Clive Barda

Opera North’s first environmentally sustainable production, Handel’s Alcina, is the next entry in the programme it is conducted by Laurence Cummings, directed by Tim Albery and stars Máire Flavin and Patrick Terry. This opera has an optional pre-show talk, see the website for details.

Finally we have a concert staging of Wagner’s Parsifal with a cast including Brindley Sherratt and Toby Spence. Richard Farnes conducts.

Toby Spence. Photograph by Richard H Smith

Something for everyone then so follow the link and get your tickets while stocks last. You know it makes sense.


The Howard Assembly Room reopens in October after an £18 million redevelopment. Artists so far confirmed are Courtney Pine, Zoe Rahman, Omar Sosa, Seckou Keita, Leveret and Richard Dawson. I will let you have more details when I get them. I hope I have no reason to sit on the information this time. Enjoy!

Feature photograph provided by Leeds Grand Theatre

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