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We’re delighted to announce our reimagined programme for this year’s Leeds Opera Festival!

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Visiting opera’s past, present and future, the Leeds Opera Festival 2020 will combine live and digital events across five days over the August Bank Holiday weekend, 28 August to 1 September 2020.


Inspired by our Leeds Opera Story project – charting the 300 year history of opera in the city – we’ll be performing the most popular opera in Leeds during the 18th century, Thomas Arne’s ‘Thomas and Sally’. This will be available on-line, and in front of a live audience (subject to government guidance). The production will be directed by John Savournin, conducted by our Artistic Director, David Ward, and with a cast of Beth Moxon, Naomi Rogers, Michael Vincent Jones and Elgan Llyr Thomas.


We'll be performing songs from 18th century English ballad opera in the venues where they were first performed in Leeds - pubs and public spaces across the city!


We’ll be hosting a lunchtime concert, with repertoire from across the 300 year history of opera in Leeds.


There’ll be a host of free digital events, including an international look at the rise of urban opera festivals, and a preview of Lewis Murphy and Laura Attridge’s new opera, ARC23, due to premiere in Leeds next year.


Audiences of all ages can take part with our daily singing ‘workouts’, a music making session for early years and families, and by submitting your ideas for #OperaFuture.


- What do you want opera to be in the future?

- Where do you want to watch it?

- What kinds of stories do you want to see?


Send in all your weird and wonderful ideas, we'll collate them for the Festival, and discuss the best as part of a live Operacast podcast during the Festival.


To close, we’ll announce the programme for our 2021 Leeds Opera Festival, which has been postponed from this Summer.


Available throughout the Festival are our Leeds Opera Story documentaries - telling the stories of three significant operas in Leeds' history - and from 28 August, a full online version of our Leeds Opera Story exhibition will be available to view.


All events are free to attend, however we please ask audiences consider a donation in support of the Festival. You can donate online, or text NOG to 70085 to donate £5!


Additional events will be announced over the coming weeks as government guidance develops.


The marketing imagery for this year's Festival has been designed by Heather Rashbrook, as part of our annual design competition with students from Leeds Arts University and the University of Leeds. Spanning the 300 year history of opera in Leeds, it features four important venues (The Theatre (1771), Leeds Grand Theatre (1878), Leeds Town Hall (1858), The Coliseum, now O2 Academy (1885)) and four key characters (Thomas Arne, Violetta, Brunnhilde, Peter Grimes).


David Ward, Artistic Director – “We took the decision early on in the pandemic to postpone our programme for this year’s Leeds Opera Festival to 2021; however we were determined to be able to bring artists and audiences a Festival in whatever form we could this summer. We’re looking forward to this hybrid live/digital Festival, which we hope will enable many more people locally, nationally and internationally to take part. Across five days, we’ll be looking at the past, present and future of opera, and whilst we all try and plan for an uncertain future, we hope the Festival provides some perspective and hope for our operatic future!”