Wednesday, 22 July 2020

Leeds Opera Festival 2020

The Theatre, Leeds - source Leodis.net
The Theatre, Leeds, where Arne's Thomas & Sally was performed in 1771
source Leodis.net
The Leeds Opera Festival had been re-invented for 2020 in the light of the current crisis, and the festival is taking the 300 year history of opera in Leeds as the inspiration for a festival which will mix live and on-line. There is an exhibition at Leeds Kirkgate Market, the Leeds Opera Story which celebrates the history of opera in Leeds, from 24 August to 7 September. The first opera to be performed in Leeds seems to have been Charles Coffey's The Beggar's Wedding, the venue probably being a pub.


The centre-piece will be a performance of Thomas Arne's Thomas and Sally, one of the most popular operas in the city during the 18th century and the first opera to be performed n Leeds' first theatre in 1771. The intention is to have the production on-line and also performed to a live audience (subject to government guidance). John Savournin will direct, with a cast including Beth Moxon, Naomi Rogers, Michael Vincent Jones and Elgan Llyr Thomas, conducted by David Ward, the artistic director of the festival.

Arne's short opera Thomas and Sally was premiered at Covent Garden in 1760, it was originally an after-piece, a short musical performance put on after the main spoken play.

In another nod to history, the popular English form of ballad opera will also be a feature of the festival, performed in pubs and public spaces across the city. And there will be a lunchtime concert featuring opera from the city's 300 year history.

There will also be special digital events, and a preview of Lewis Murphy and Laura Attridge's new opera Arc23 which is due to be premiered in Leeds next year.

Leeds Opera Festival 2020
The festival runs from 28 August to 1 September 2020, full details from the Festival website.

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