Friday 7 June 2019

A lively new concert season for the orchestra of Opera North

Conductor Ruth Reinhardt makes her UK debut with the orchestra of Opera North (Photo Harrison Linsey)
Conductor Ruth Reinhardt makes her UK debut with the
orchestra of Opera North (Photo Harrison Linsey)
As well as accompanying Opera North's performances the Orchestra of Opera North has a lively existence out of the pit, and the company has just announced details of the 2019/20 concert season which the orchestra is giving in partnership with Kirklees Council. At a time when local authorities are cutting back on provision for the arts it is heartening to see that Opera North and Kirklees Council's partnership is now in its 17th year.

The concert season in Huddersfield Town Hall (with some concerts in Leeds Town Hall and one in Dewsbury Town Hall) will feature the UK debut of German-born USA-based conductor Ruth Reinhardt who is joined by pianist Marc-Andre Hamelin for Beethoven's Emperor Concerto, along with music by Webern and Schubert, Latvian violinist Kristïne Balanas in Korngold's Violin Concerto alongside Max Steiner's music from the film Casablanca and Prokofiev, and the premiere of Arya a new concerto for sitar and orchestra by Jasdeep Singh Degun, alongside music by Turkish composer Ulvi Cemal Erkin and Sibelius, conducted by Harish Shankar. The concerto follows a residency project undertaken by Jasdeep Singh Degun as part of Opera North annual Resonance programme for musicians and composers from BAME backgrounds.

There is opera too, with a concert performance of Bartok's Bluebeard's Castle with Christopher Purves and Karen Cargill, conducted by Anthony Krauss. And lighter items too, a G&S evening, a Viennese waltz evening and Raymond Briggs' animated film The Snowman with Howard Blake's music performed live.

The company is starting a new residency for women conductors, in recognition of the fact that talented female conductors are less likely to find their way into opera than men. 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.

The first participant is Sonia Ben-Santamaria (whose name will be familiar to regular readers of this blog, and she will be conducting two performances of Opera Holland Park's Un ballo in Maschera later this month.

Full details of the concert season from the Opera North website.

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