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  • The Orchestra of Opera North announces concert cates for 2019-20

    • Sian Edwards conducts a concert performance of Bartòk’s one-act opera Bluebeard’s Castle with Christopher Purves and Karen Cargill at Huddersfield (28 Nov) and Leeds (30 Nov) Town Halls
    • World premiere of Arya, Jasdeep Singh Degun’s new concerto for sitar and orchestra
    • A UK debut for German conductor Ruth Reinhardt conducting Beethoven’s ‘Emperor’ and a Company debut for Latvian violinist Kristïne Balanas in Korngold’s Violin Concerto
    • Sonia Ben-Santamaria is announced as the first participant in Opera North’s new residency scheme for female conductors

    Announced today, the 2019-20 Kirklees Concert Season will mark the 17th year of a unique partnership between Opera North and Kirklees Council, and the first step on the journey towards the district’s Year of Music 2023. Concerts by the Orchestra of Opera North return to Huddersfield Town Hall, with programmes ranging from a one-act opera, symphonic rarities and the world premiere of a new concerto for sitar and orchestra, to popular classics and film music.

    One of today’s most exciting young talents, the German-born, US-based conductor Ruth Reinhardt makes her UK debut, opening the Orchestral Season at Huddersfield on 19 September with three brilliant showpieces: Webern’s Passacaglia, Schubert’s Symphony No. 5 and Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5 ‘Emperor’, with Canadian pianist Marc-André Hamelin joining the ensemble for the virtuosic solo.

    Bass-baritone Christopher Purves returns to Opera North for a concert performance of Bartòk’s one-act opera Bluebeard’s Castle on 28 November, opposite renowned mezzo-soprano Karen Cargill as the Duke’s wife Judith. Following her triumphant Company debut conducting Janáček’s Katya Kabanova earlier this year, Sian Edwards returns to the podium for the concert, which opens with the Czech composer’s blazing late Sinfonietta. Bluebeard’s Castle is repeated in Leeds Town Hall, the venue for Opera North’s recent acclaimed concert stagings of Aida, Salome and Turandot, on 30 November.

    A new concerto for sitar and orchestra, Arya, by the composer Jasdeep Singh Degun, will premiere at Huddersfield Town Hall on 23 February 2020, with the Orchestra of Opera North conducted by Harish Shankar. The commission follows a residency project undertaken by Jasdeep Singh Degun as part of Opera North annual Resonance programme for musicians and composers from BAME backgrounds, supported by the PRS Foundation. The premiere, which will feature in a concert including works by the Turkish composer Ulvi Cemal Erkin and Sibelius’s Symphony No. 7, will be followed by a concert tour.

    Opera North’s Christmas Concert unites the Company’s Orchestra, Chorus and Youth Chorus for seasonal orchestral selections and much-loved hymns in Dewsbury Town Hall on 12 December, led by conductor Garry Walker. The Orchestra’s festive programme at Huddersfield includes The Nutcracker and The Snowman (11 December), and the New Year Viennese Whirl on 30 December features the Opera North debut of Gavan Ring as a tenor, following performances as a baritone in the Company’s Magic Flute, The Barber of Seville and more.

    Additional highlights of the 2019-20 season include rising star violinist Kristïne Balanas performing Korngold’s Violin Concerto, in a programme conducted by Ben Palmer which also includes works by Steiner, Prokofiev, and Stravinsky’s The Firebird (23 January 2020), and Tobias Ringborg returning to the company to conduct Strauss’ gigantic tone-poem Also Sprach Zarathustra and Rachmaninov’s 3rd (26 March 2020 in Huddersfield/ 28 March 2020 in Leeds).

    The symphonic programme is complemented by a series of lunchtime recitals by members of the Orchestra of Opera North, as part of the Kirklees Concert Season. Subscription packages for Kirklees Concert Season are available to book now, and single tickets can be booked from Tuesday 25 June. For more information and to book tickets for all Opera North events, contact Box Office on 0113 2233600 or visit operanorth.co.uk

    New residency scheme for women conductors

    A new residency scheme for women conductors has been launched by Opera North, in recognition that talented female conductors are less likely to find a way into opera than their male counterparts.

    The residency, aimed at female conductors who have shown extraordinary potential and who are at the start of promising careers in opera, is spread across a full opera season, and will include observing opera rehearsals, being mentored by Opera North’s Music staff and guest conductors, and engaging with the Company’s Education and outreach programmes. Enabled by the Harewood Young Artists Fund, the scheme will launch in the 2019-2020 season, which includes productions of core operatic repertoire such as La bohème and The Marriage of Figaro, alongside lesser known works including Martinů’s The Greek Passion.

    The first participant is French conductor, Sonia Ben-Santamaria. Sonia was a young trainee repetiteur at the English National Opera and the National Opera Studio, London after graduating from the Royal Academy of Music and the Conservatoire National de Toulouse, France, and was the first female conductor associated as a link artist to the Royal Opera House Jette Parker Young Artist Programme. She makes her UK opera conducting debut at Opera Holland Park this June, with two performances of Un ballo in maschera.

    The residency is seen as a first stage of engagement, with Opera North continuing to build an on-going relationship with the successful participant after the initial ten weeks. The programme will be responsively designed each year to develop the skills of each participant, and will include conducting opportunities in rehearsals, acting as part of Opera North’s Music staff, coaching singers, and working closely with guest conductors on a range of operas within the season.

    Richard Mantle, General Director, Opera North, said:

    “Conducting is a key area within the classical music industry which historically has been dominated by men. We hope that this residency opportunity can help to address the gender imbalance in conducting by encouraging more female musicians to see opera as a viable career path, and to ensure that Opera North and the wider opera industry is drawing on the widest range of professional conducting talent now and in the future. We look forward greatly to welcoming Sonia Ben-Santamaria into the Company as our first Associate Assistant Conductor.

    “We have been delighted in recent months to work with some of the most talented women conductors currently working in the industry, including Jessica Cottis and Sian Edwards, who returns to Opera North this Autumn to conduct Bluebeard’s Castle in concert. Following Dalia Stasevska’s UK debut as part of the Orchestra of Opera North’s concert season in 2018 and her return earlier this year, we are also delighted to bring another young conductor to the UK for the first time, as Ruth Reinhardt opens our 2019-20 concert season, with a programme of Webern, Schubert and Beethoven.”


    Box Office: 0113 2233600 or operanorth.co.uk

    Orchestra of Opera North: The Emperor

    Thursday 19 September, 7.30pm, Huddersfield Town Hall

    Conducted by Ruth Reinhardt, a trio of brilliant orchestral showpieces opens the season: Webern’s thrilling Passacaglia, Schubert’s Symphony No. 5 and Beethoven’s virtuoso Piano Concerto No. 5 ‘Emperor’, with Marc-André Hamelin as soloist.

    Orchestra of Opera North: A Feast of Gilbert and Sullivan

    Sunday 6 October, 4.30pm, Huddersfield Town Hall

    Anthony Kraus conducts guest singers and the full Orchestra of Opera North for extracts from HMS Pinafore, The Pirates of Penzance, Patience, Iolanthe, The Mikado, The Yeomen of the Guard, and many more.

    Orchestra of Opera North: Bluebeard’s Castle

    Thursday 28 November, 7.30pm, Huddersfield Town Hall

    Saturday 30 November, 7.30pm, Leeds Town Hall

    Opera North’s concert staging of Bartòk’s one-act opera features the great British bass-baritone Christopher Purves in the title role, with award-winning Scottish mezzo-soprano Karen Cargill as Bluebeard’s wife Judith, conducted by Sian Edwards.

    Orchestra of Opera North: The Nutcracker and The Snowman

    Wednesday 11 December, 6.00pm, Huddersfield Town Hall

    The enchanting tale of Tchaikovsky’s ballet score is told through music, hand-drawn illustrations and narration from CBeebies favourite Pui Fan Lee. Raymond Briggs’ classic festive animation completes the evening, screened with live soundtrack.

    Opera North Christmas Concert

    Thursday 12 December, 7.30pm, Dewsbury Town Hall

    Opera North’s festive celebration brings together the Company’s Orchestra, Chorus and Youth Chorus for seasonal orchestral selections and beloved hymns. A selection of carols by Andrew Carter mark the Yorkshire composer’s centenary year. Garry Walker returns to conduct.

    Orchestra of Opera North: Viennese Whirl

    Monday 30 December, 3.00pm, Huddersfield Town Hall

    Inspired by Vienna’s traditional New Year celebrations, a glittering programme of waltzes, polkas and song by the Strauss family and others. Gavan Ring joins the Orchestra for his Opera North debut as a tenor, conducted by James Lowe.

    Orchestra of Opera North: The Firebird

    Thursday 23 January, 7.30pm, Huddersfield Town Hall

    Rising star Kristïne Balanas performs Korngold’s Violin Concerto, at the heart of a programme of drama, romance and legend, including Max Steiner’s Casablanca Suite, Prokofiev’s Winter Bonfire and Stravinsky’s Firebird.

    Orchestra of Opera North: Arya                                                            WORLD PREMIERE

    Sunday 23 February, 4.30pm, Huddersfield Town Hall

    Jasdeep Singh Degun joins the Orchestra of Opera North for the premiere of Arya, his new concerto for sitar and orchestra. Harish Shankar conducts a programme which also includes Erkin’s Köçekçe Suite and Sibelius’ Swan of Tuonela and Symphony No. 7.

    Orchestra of Opera North: A Space Odyssey

    Thursday 26 March, 7.30pm, Huddersfield Town Hall

    Saturday 28 March, 7.30pm, Leeds Town Hall

    Familiar from Kubrick’s unforgettable 2001: A Space Odyssey, Strauss’ gigantic tone poem Also Sprach Zarathustra delves deep into the question of humanity’s place in the universe. Rachmaninov’s tender Vocalise and his Symphony No. 3 complete a concert conducted by Tobias Ringborg.

    Information and performance listings for Opera North’s 2019-20 main stage season, including The Greek Passion, Giulio Cesare, La bohème, Street Scene, The Marriage of Figaro, and The Turn of the Screw, is also available from the Press Office and at operanorth.co.uk