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Opera North

This is about the British organisation; for the unrelated American one, see Opera North (U.S.A.).
exterior of a neo-classical theatre
The Grand Theatre, Leeds, home of Opera North

Opera North is an English opera company based in Leeds. The company's home theatre is the Leeds Grand Theatre, but it also presents regular seasons in several other cities, at the Theatre Royal, Nottingham, the Lowry Centre, Salford Quays and the Theatre Royal, Newcastle. It has also visited Sadler's Wells Theatre and the Barbican Centre in London and, less regularly, the Bradford Alhambra,ière)

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In 2011, the company performed The Portrait by Mieczysław Weinberg and initiated an annual series of semi-staged concert performances of the four operas in Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen by performing Das Rheingold in Leeds Town Hall. Beached, a community opera by composer Harvey Brough with a libretto by Lee Hall co-commissioned by Opera North and the sea-side resort of Bridlington premiered on 15 July 2011.

At the request of the Bridlington primary school whose 300 children performed in the opera, the company asked for the removal of an explicit reference to a gay character's sexuality from one of the scenes. Hall initially refused, and the opera was withdrawn.[4] However, following negotiations the matter was resolved when the character's contentious line "Of course I'm queer" was changed to "Of course I'm gay".[5]

World premieres

Opera North has given world premières of the following operas: Rebecca by Wilfred Josephs (1983), Caritas by Robert Saxton (1991), Baa, Baa, Black Sheep by Michael Berkeley (1993), Playing Away by Benedict Mason (1994), The Nightingale's to Blame by Simon Holt (1998), Jonathan Dove's The Adventures of Pinocchio (2007) and Swanhunter (2009), and Skin Deep by David Sawer and Armando Iannucci (2009). In July 2009, Opera North premièred Prima Donna, a new opera by Rufus Wainwright, at the Manchester International Festival.[3]

Musical theatre

Opera North has also given performances of musical theatre works. The first was Jerome Kern's Show Boat (in collaboration with the Royal Shakespeare Company) in 1989, and productions of Gershwin's Of Thee I Sing and Sondheim's Sweeney Todd followed in 1998. Latterly, the works of Kurt Weill have become something of a speciality, with productions of Love Life (1996), One Touch of Venus and The Seven Deadly Sins in 2004 and Arms and the Cow in 2006. In 2009, Let 'Em Eat Cake, the sequel to Of Thee I Sing, was produced, and in 2012 Rodgers and Hammerstein's Carousel was performed in Leeds, Salford and London..

Electronic music

Opera North has worked extensively with electronic composer Mira Calix, commissioning Dead Wedding (for the Manchester International Festival 2007) Onibus (2008) and the installation Chorus (2009) for the opening of the Howard Assembly Rooms with visual artist UVA.


  • Winner of the TMA Theatre Award for Outstanding Achievement in Opera 2007 (for Peter Grimes, directed by Phyllida Lloyd),[4] and in 2004
  • Winner of the Royal Philharmonic Society Award for Opera & Music Theatre 2007 (for Peter Grimes)[5] and in 2005
  • Winner of the South Bank Show Award for Opera 2007 (for Peter Grimes)[6] and 2005 (for its Eight Little Greats season of one-act operas)[7]
  • Winner of the Manchester Evening News Theatre Awards for Opera 2004
  • Winner of the Audiences Yorkshire Award for Best Overall Marketing and Audience Development Campaign 2004



External links

  • Official site

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