From the youngest of our Children’s Chorus to our most seasoned orchestral musicians and favourite guest artists, the entire Opera North company comes together this December for a Christmas programme rich in festive flavours of every kind.
Here’s our guide to selecting your seasonal sounds…
1. Merry Little Christmas
Clothworkers Centenary Concert Hall
7 December, 5.00pm
Opera North Children’s Chorus and Young Voices get our celebrations underway in Leeds! A new telling of The Legend of the Christmas Rose is woven through this programme of much-loved and lesser-known Christmas music, together with the young singers’ own stories and feelings about this magical time of year, songs about wintry weather to add to the seasonal atmosphere, and a chance for the audience to get involved with carols for all.
2. The Nutcracker and The Snowman
Huddersfield Town Hall
11 December, 6.00pm
The full Orchestra of Opera North makes its first Christmas contribution to the Kirklees Concert Season: an enchanted world of princes, Sugar Plum Fairies and toy soldiers is brought to life through Tchaikovsky’s twinkling ballet score, hand-drawn illustrations, and narration by former Teletubby and CBeebies favourite Pui Fan Lee. Raymond Briggs’ classic festive animation completes the evening, accompanied live by the Orchestra. A great Christmas event for families!
3. Peter and the Wolf and The Snowman
Leeds Town Hall
22 December, 2.30pm and 4.30pm
Pui Fan Lee returns to the Orchestra to follow in the footsteps of Sir John Gielgud, Leonard Bernstein, David Bowie and Alice Cooper as narrator of Peter and the Wolf. With each character in Prokofiev’s charming tale represented by a different instrument, it’s an ideal introduction to orchestral music. The programme is completed by another outing for The Snowman.
At 2.30pm, this festive double bill is presented in Leeds Town Hall’s first ever Relaxed Performance, open to all and designed to welcome people with an autistic spectrum condition, learning disability, dementia or sensory and communication disorder. A standard performance follows at 4.30pm.
4. Opera North Christmas Concert
Dewsbury Town Hall
12 December, 7.30pm
From wintry medieval minstrels’ songs, through much-loved carols including ‘O Little Town of Bethlehem’ and ‘Hark! The Herald Angels Sing’, to the MGM magic of ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’, this Christmas concert brings festive sounds from down the ages to the historic, holly-decked Town Hall, packed with the Orchestra, Chorus and Youth Chorus of Opera North under the baton of our Music Director designate Garry Walker.
5. Viennese Whirl
Leeds Town Hall, 29 December, 3.00pm
Huddersfield Town Hall, 30 December, 3.00pm
Hull City Hall, 31 December, 3.00pm
After a brief and well-earned break for some festivities of their own, the Orchestra of Opera North hitches up the sleigh again for these traditional New Year celebrations, joined by two old acquaintances. Paul Daniel, Opera North’s former Head of Music, makes a welcome return to the podium, and tenor Gavan Ring sprinkles selections from Lehár and splashes of Neapolitan colour from De Curtis and Tosti in amongst the the sumptuous Strauss waltzes, polkas and marches to usher in the new decade in style.