The Orchestra of Opera North

The Orchestra of Opera North holds a unique place amongst British orchestras. Universally praised by audiences and critics alike, the Orchestra is 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. An important relationship with Leeds International Concert Season sees the Orchestra performing regular concerts of major symphonic repertoire, a series of gala concerts, and combining with the region’s choral societies. It is also the resident Orchestra for the Leeds Conductors Competition.

The Orchestra has developed a groundbreaking collaboration with Kirklees Cultural Services running the concert series in Huddersfield and Dewsbury Town Halls. This work which has also forged new relationships with groups across the Kirklees area including performing ensembles and educational institutions was nominated for the 2006 Royal Philharmonic Society Awards.

A strong commitment to educational and community projects is a feature of the work of the musicians, collectively and also in collaboration with Opera North Education. There are a number of fine chamber ensembles within the Orchestra, including Arcturus, The Café Band, Mirage, Music Serenade and Yorkshire Classic Brass, all of whom give regular concerts throughout the region and further afield. Many of the players are outstanding teachers with several holding professorships at the Royal Northern College of Music and at Universities within the region.

The Orchestra has received international recognition for its recordings, with releases on ASV, Chandos, Collins Classics, Deutsche Grammophon, EMI, Hyperion and Nimbus. A close relationship with Naxos has 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 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 current Music Director, Richard Farnes.

Outside the region, the Orchestra has toured abroad both with the whole Company – Opera North was the first foreign company to visit Barcelona’s rebuilt Teatro del Liceu; in December 2004 it took part in the Monaco Dance Forum, July 2005 saw its first visit to the prestigious Ravenna Festival, and in August this year the Company will visit the Bregenz Festival for the first time – and independently in concert (Contemporary Music Festivals in Vienna and Strasbourg) and in this country has regularly performed in London (Sadler’s Wells, the BBC Proms, South Bank and at the Hampton Court Festival).

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The Orchestra of Opera North