Opera North and Leeds City Council have announced more details of their return to Millennium Square next summer.
With an eclectic mix of operatic and classical greats, orchestral club anthems and a special live screening of the classic British film Brassed Off in all its grit and glory, accompanied by Grimethorpe Colliery Band and the Orchestra of Opera North.
For the second year running the Opera North in the City festival will feature as part of the Millennium Square Summer Series with a long weekend of music in the heart of Leeds.
On Saturday 28 July, the Orchestra of Opera North will perform a sparkling programme of favourite operatic arias and orchestral showpieces in A Classic Summer’s Evening. They will be joined by acclaimed Mexican tenor Rafael Rojas, an Opera North favourite who is no stranger to the city centre, having stunned shoppers in Trinity Leeds with a surprise rendition of Puccini’s Nessun Dorma last summer. Rojas’s charisma and rich, burnished voice have thrilled Leeds audiences in Puccini’s The Girl of the Golden West and Turandot, and in the heroic title role of Giordano’s Andrea Chénier, and he is due to sing the lead role in Verdi’s Un ballo in maschera in the Company’s forthcoming Fatal Passions season.
A very special screening of Brassed Off will close Opera North in the City on Sunday 29 July with a heartwarming celebration of Yorkshire pluck. The much-loved 1996 film, starring Ewan McGregor, Tara Fitzgerald, Pete Postlethwaite and Stephen Tompkinson, follows the struggles of a colliery band after the closure of their pit. The story is loosely based on Grimethorpe’s own: in 1992, just five days before the Band was due to compete in the national championships at the Royal Albert Hall, Grimethorpe Colliery was earmarked for closure. They battled on to triumph at the contest, and celebrated their centenary in 2017 with a blue plaque unveiled at their rehearsal room for BBC Music Day. Their story came full circle with the first ever performance of Brassed Off Live at the Royal Albert Hall in the summer.
The real-life stars of the film, Grimethorpe Colliery Band recorded the original soundtrack, with new compositions by Trevor Jones alongside brass band staples like the Florentiner March and arrangements of classical gems. The Orchestra of Opera North will begin the afternoon in Millennium Square with a programme of those much-loved tunes in rousing, fully orchestrated form, including Rossini’s William Tell Overture and of course, Rodrigo’s “Concierto d’Orange Juice”. For the first time ever in Yorkshire and by special arrangement with the Royal Albert Hall, Grimethorpe Colliery Band will then take the stage to accompany the film, joined by members of the Orchestra.
Following this summer’s unforgettable collaboration between Dave Beer’s legendary club and Yorkshire’s resident symphony orchestra, The Symphonic Sounds of Back to Basics will kick off the weekend festival on Friday 27 July, promising more huge dancefloor classics revamped, retooled and performed live by the 50-piece Orchestra of Opera North and special guest vocalists.
Phil Boughton, Director of Orchestra and Chorus, Opera North, comments: “We’re thrilled to be returning to Millennium Square next year following a sensational debut this summer. It’s always a huge buzz for our musicians to get out of the orchestra pit and into the open air in front of their home crowd.
“This second Opera North in the City festival will showcase their incredible versatility as they move from contemporary club music, through big-hitting symphonic and operatic greats, to a moving celebration of Yorkshire’s brass band tradition, joined by the legendary Grimethorpe Colliery Band.”
Councillor Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council, added: “This is another superb addition to the exciting and eclectic programme on Millennium Square, and we’re always very proud to bring such a diverse and talented line-up of performances and events to the heart of the city centre each year.
“The Square is a truly unique venue and there is always a fantastic atmosphere whenever we have live acts there, entertaining the crowds in the open air.”
To enhance the festival atmosphere, Leeds City Council will be laying on an expanded selection of food and drink for all three dates. Tickets for Opera North in the City 2018 are on sale now, with £30 Early Bird tickets for The Symphonic Sounds of Back to Basics available until the end of January. Tickets (all seated) for A Classic Summer’s Evening and Brassed Off Live are priced from £21 to £27, or half price for ages 16 and under, with VIP tickets at £45.
Bookings can be made through Opera North Box Office on 0844 848 2727 / operanorth.co.uk, or at City Centre Box Office: 0113 3760318 / www.millsqleeds.com
Friday 27 July, DJs from 6.30pm, live concert from 8pm: The Symphonic Sounds of Back to Basics with the Orchestra of Opera NorthPart of Leeds Millennium Square Summer SeriesTwo of Leeds’ musical institutions return to the heart of the city for a spectacular night of dance anthems, reworked and performed live by Yorkshire’s own symphony orchestra with special guest vocalists. Suitable for ages 14+. Under 16s to be accompanied by an adult.
Millennium Square, Calverley Street, Leeds LS1 1UR. Tickets: £30.00 Early Bird (available until Jan 31 2018)/ £27 concessions. Box office: 0844 848 2720 / 0113 376 0318 Online: www.operanorth.co.uk / www.millsqleeds.com
Saturday 28 July, 7pm: A Classic Summer’s Evening with the Orchestra of Opera NorthPart of Leeds Millennium Square Summer Series.
The Orchestra of Opera North presents a glorious open-air evening of orchestral blockbusters and big-hitting arias in the heart of Leeds. Joined by Opera North favourite, Mexican tenor Rafael Rojas, Yorkshire’s own symphony orchestra performs selections from its vast repertoire and its upcoming season at Leeds Grand Theatre.
Millennium Square, Calverley Street, Leeds LS1 1UR. Tickets: £21 to £27 / Concessions 10% off / Children aged 16 and under half price / VIP tickets £45. Box office: 0844 848 2720 / 0113 376 0318 Online: www.operanorth.co.uk / www.millsqleeds.com
Sunday 29 July, 5pm: Brassed Off Live with Grimethorpe Colliery Band and the Orchestra of Opera NorthPart of Leeds Millennium Square Summer Series.
Dir. Mark Herman, UK/US 1996, 107 mins, Cert. 15: The true stars of the 1996 classic, Grimethorpe Colliery Band perform the film’s soundtrack live for the first time in Yorkshire. The concert opens with a programme of the classical greats featured in the film, including Rossini’s William Tell Overture and Rodrigo’s “Concierto d’Orange Juice”, performed by the Orchestra of Opera North. Grimethorpe Colliery Band will then take the stage, joined by members of the Orchestra, to accompany the film live on the big screen.
Millennium Square, Calverley Street, Leeds LS1 1UR. Tickets: £21 to £27 / Concessions 10% off / VIP tickets £45Box office: 0844 848 2720 / 0113 376 0318 Online: www.operanorth.co.uk / www.millsqleeds.com
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The Orchestra of Opera NorthThe acclaimed Orchestra of Opera North is Yorkshire’s own symphony orchestra, based in Leeds and touring across the country. It stands alone in its ability to perform as both an opera and a concert orchestra and its fresh and enthusiastic approach allows great versatility in its performance capabilities. Summer 2016 saw the Orchestra of Opera North performing six complete cycles of Wagner’s monumental Der Ring des Nibelungen across the country, as well as Mahler’s huge Symphony no 8 at Leeds Town Hall. In 2017 a staging of Puccini’s Turandot won critical acclaim, and in April 2018 the Company’s latest concert staging, Strauss’s intense Salome, opens in Leeds, followed by a national tour.
Millennium Square Summer Series: Programmed by Leeds City Council, the annual Millennium Square Summer Series returns for a fourth year in July and August 2018, serving up a jam-packed programme of outdoor concerts, film screenings, community festivals and much more. Further details to be announced at www.millsqleeds.com