Left Bank Opera Festival 2018

22 - 26 August

Following the sell-out success of our 2017 Festival, this year we are turning our attention to opera’s longstanding (and rather contentious) relationship with stories, characters and music from Asia.


Our headline production is



music by Raymond Yiu

libretto by Lee Warren


The Original Chinese Conjuror tells the true story of magician William Robinson who, in his efforts to enliven his act, adopts the persona of a mystical conjuror from China - and keeps his real identity hidden to all but those closest to him. Raymond Yiu’s opera is a hilarious and poignant tale of ambition, masquerade, and - of course - magic!


The production will be directed by Northern Opera Group’s Artistic Director, David Ward, conducted by Lewis Gaston, and designed by George Leigh. The cast includes Rosemary Clifford, Alex Haigh and Keith Pun, with full casting to be announced soon.


Accompanying the production will be a programme of free talks, discussions and events which will further explore Western opera’s fascination with Asia. We are delighted that Raymond Yiu and Lee Warren will be joining us to open the Festival, with full details of our events programme to be announced over the coming weeks. Events will include a family day, featuring magic and art workshops related to the opera, and pre-performance talks on different aspects of opera’s relationship with Asian characters and stories.


We are very pleased to have worked this year with Leeds Arts University on a design competition for our marketing imagery, and to have selected Sophia Watts as our winning designer.


Whether you are an opera enthusiast, or new to the art, we hope that we’ll have something for everyone as part of the 2018 Festival.


Tickets will go on-sale on 22 May with full programming to be announced over the coming weeks.


David Ward “I’ve always been fascinated by the way that composers and writers have taken inspiration from the music and stories of Asia, and the way that those music and stories have been represented through opera. There are some really interesting and successful ways that these have been expressed, but also many examples of where they have been poorly represented, or even scorned, by composers and writers. We want to confront some of these issues in our 2018 Festival, and Raymond Yiu’s opera is a terrific headline act to begin exploring these issues. It’s a really tuneful, funny and entertaining opera, but also asks some serious questions of quite why it is that we have been (and continue to be) fascinated by archetypal notions of ‘the Orient’. We have worked hard to programme a Festival which has something for everyone, and I look forward to announcing more events and operas over the next few weeks!


Lewis Gaston “I’m delighted to be working with Northern Opera on such a great piece of contemporary theatre. Yiu’s opera is full of lyricism, musical colour and wit. It will be a great pleasure working with the company to produce such an entertaining work”.


Learn more about this year's Festival


The Original Chinese Conjuror


Raymond Yiu