The Orchestra of Opera North holds a unique place amongst British orchestras as the only ensemble in the country to have a year-round dual role in the opera house and concert hall. The Orchestra plays a significant part in the major concert series of the region, appearing with numerous international guest conductors and soloists.
Important relationships with Leeds International Concert Season and Leeds Town Hall see the Orchestra performing regular concerts of major symphonic repertoire, gala concerts, and collaborating with the region’s choral societies. It is also the resident orchestra for the Leeds Conductors Competition.
Since the turn of the century, Opera North has worked with Kirklees Council in a ground-breaking partnership to curate the Kirklees Concert Season based in Huddersfield and Dewsbury Town Halls. As a result, new relationships have been formed with groups across the Kirklees area, including performing ensembles and educational institutions. In collaboration with Opera North Education, the Orchestra has a strong commitment to educational and community projects, increasing accessibility and encouraging new audiences and the musicians of tomorrow.
The Orchestra has received international recognition for its recordings; a close relationship with Naxos produced a series of highly acclaimed recordings of William Walton’s orchestral music conducted by former Opera North Music Director Paul Daniel, and works by Bliss, Delius, Lambert and Vaughan Williams conducted by the Orchestra’s founder conductor David Lloyd-Jones. In the operatic field, Opera North has made several important recordings, including for Chandos, Walton’s Troilus and Cressida conducted by Richard Hickox, which won the prestigious Gramophone Award for best opera recording, Nabucco conducted by David Parry, Bartók’s Duke Bluebeard’s Castle and Verdi’s Don Carlos, conducted by the Company’s former Music Director, Richard Farnes.
The Orchestra also recorded a complete cycle of Beethoven piano concertos with Howard Shelley as soloist/director for Chandos. Most recently its recording of Elgar’s Caractacus with Huddersfield Choral Society and Martyn Brabbins for Hyperion found widespread praise. The Orchestra received universal acclaim for the Company’s signature concert staging of six cycles of Wagner’s complete Ring in 2016, which it followed with equally successful performances of Turandot (2017), Salome (2018) and, last summer, a new concert staging of Verdi’s Egyptian epic Aida.
* Indicates Opera North Company member for 25 years or more