Features, in-depth discussions and more from Opera North, the Leeds-based company creating extraordinary experiences, every day.
Simon Armitage and Gavin Bryars on Words and Music
Poet Laureate Simon Armitage and composer Gavin Bryars consider what happens when their respective art forms are brought together.
They discuss the pleasures and perils of crossing between the two disciplines, with excerpts from their work woven throughout, including tracks by Armitage’s post rock/ambient outfit LYR, and Bryars’ influential 1971 work Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet.
Chaired by Dr Kimberly Campanello of the University of Leeds.
Thomas Adès and Operas of Confinement
How do music, plot, staging, action, dance and performance combine to produce meaning for an opera audience?
Taking a close look at Thomas Adès's The Tempest, Professor Edward Venn of the University of Leeds and choreographer and director Aletta Collins – who choreographed the opera's premiere in 2004 – explore the conversation between different elements in opera.
They also consider notions of confinement and restricted movement in all three of Adès's operas.
The Making of As You Are
Follow cellist and composer Abel Selaocoe and his collaborators through the rehearsal and recording of As You Are, his soundwalk for Leeds, which opened in December 2020.
Western symphonic music meets traditions from across Africa in this major new Opera North commission, experienced through headphones on a 40-minute walk through central Leeds.
Abel reveals how he brought the piece together with his creative team, and his hope that music can open up a space for contemplation and refuge.
Dead 'n' Wake: Reset and Come Again
Turntablist and sound artist Nicole Raymond (DJ NikNak) and poet and playwright Khadijah Ibrahiim uncover the deep roots of reggae, dub and sound system music in religion, ritual and culture.
Woven through their discussion are some classic songs, versions and dub plates from the Pressure Sounds catalogue, and excerpts from their collaboration for Opera North's Resonance programme, when Nicole transformed recordings from Khadijah's audio archive, through collage, reverb, delay and scratching.
Alice Zawadzki: My Boy of the Birds
This sound walk, Alice says, is written for “that very special time of day that’s neither nighttime or daytime: that strange, luminous place where the birds are singing and we’re on the precipice of something new.
"I really hope that anybody listening will find beauty and consolation in it.”
Designed be taken with you on headphones, Walking Home is a series of sound walks created during lockdown for BBC Arts and Arts Council England’s Culture in Quarantine programme.
Martin Green: A Place of Crisps and Pianos
“I’d been getting up earlier and earlier and enjoying that special period when it feels like there are very few people awake", says Martin.
"A conversation with my daughter was the starting point; and I’d wanted to collaborate with Laura Jurd [trumpet and tenor horn] for a while. The sound of the sun makes me think of brass”.
Designed be taken with you on headphones, Walking Home is a series of sound walks created during lockdown for BBC Arts and Arts Council England’s Culture in Quarantine