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Tuesday, 30 October 2018

Opera North's Howard Assembly Room gears up for its 10th anniversary

Pumeza Matshikiza © Simon Fowler, Decca
Pumeza Matshikiza © Simon Fowler, Decca
Next year, Opera North's Howard Assembly Room at the Grand Theatre in Leeds celebrates its 10th anniversary (doesn't time fly). And for the 2018/19 season they have assembled a fine array of chamber music, song and more in anticipatory celebration. The programme runs until March 2019 when the venue will close (temporarily) as part of Opera North's ambitious renovation programme at the Grand Theatre.

Things kick off on 31 October 2018 with South African soprano Pumetza Matshikiza and pianist Simon Lepper in Schumann (Frauenliebe und -leben and songs from Myrthen), Richard Strauss's Four Last Songs and songs from South Africa.

In November, baritone Chrisopher Maltman is accompanied by Joseph Middleton, director of Leeds Lieder, in the first of two recitals produced in collaboration with Leeds Lieder. Maltman and Middleton will be performing music on the subject of war by composers from both sides of the divide in World War One, including music by Butterworth, Gurney, Mahler, Fauré, Ives, Mussorgsky, Schumann, Wolf and Poulenc. The in January, Joseph Middleton returns with soprano Catriona Morison for a programme of Brahms, Schumann and Mahler.

In December there is a chance to hear the current intake of young artists at the National Opera Studio, performing Last Days devised by Tim Albery, a programme marking the centenary of the end of World War One, with music by Berg, Satie, E.E Cummings, Elgar, Butterworth and Gurney, among others, accompanied by members of the orchestra of Opera North.

Other visitors include pianists Piers Lane and Joanna MacGregor, Early Music vocal ensembles The Tallis Scholars, Tenebrae, The Cardinall's Musick, and string quartets Fitzwilliam String Quartet and the Opera North String Quartet. These latter two are performing a special programme on 7 February 2019 to mark the Howard Assembly Room's 10th anniversary.

A new co-production by Opera North and Leeds Playhouse, Not Such Quiet Girls, tells the stories of three women on the front line during World War I. Bringing together an all-female chorus and three female actors, this new musical drama, written by Jessica Walker with musical arrangement by Joseph Atkins. The piece forms a complement to Opera North's performances of Kevin Puts' Silent Night at Leeds Town Hall.

Full details from the Opera North website.

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