I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Keranjeet Kaur Virdee, the CEO and Artistic Director of South Asian Arts for an article I wrote for Welcome to Leeds. When I arrived she asked me if I would like to accompany her to Opera North’s rehearsal room where they were having the first run-through of a joint collaboration, Orpheus. Guess what I replied.

This is the first time a full opera has been staged with members of both SAA and Opera North, although I did go to Howard Assembly Room in June to see a short presentation by two of the stars of the production, Ashnaa Sasikaran and Nicholas Watts, called A Tale of Orpheus and Eurydice. If I was enchanted then, I was totally mesmerised by the full ensemble. Hearing professional singers giving their all in such an intimate space was incredible and to witness the way in which the work will comprise of early western musical instruments and Asian ones from the same era was fascinating.

I will be going to the Leeds Grand Theatre for the ‘real thing’ on Friday so won’t delve too deeply as I need something new to write when I do my review. I can safely say that the merger is likely to produce something well worth watching so thought that it would be fun to share some photographs of the rehearsal with you. Naturally, I was not allowed to snap away so these were provided by the official photographer, Tom Arber, which are almost as good as mine would have been!

Orpheus is at Leeds Grand Theatre on various dates between Friday, 14th October and Saturday, 22nd October, 2022 after which it is on tour to Newcastle, Nottingham and Salford Quays. Please go to https://www.operanorth.co.uk/whats-on/orpheus/ to book your tickets, which start at £15.

To see my article at Welcome to Leeds click on Stan About Town: South Asian Arts – Welcome to Leeds

R.N. Prakash and Jasdeep Singh Degun
Nicholas Watts as Orpheus and Yarlinie Thanabalasingam as Hope.
Sanchita Pal (Nymph) with Dean Robinson (Pluto), Chandra Chakraborty (Proserpine) and Kezia Bienek (Messenger).

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