Leeds-based opera company Opera North has confirmed that all performances up to at least the end of April have been cancelled. The company and the Leeds Playhouse have also decided to postpone their co-production of A Little Night Music (Sondheim, 1973).

The new production of Sondheim’s popular musical was set to open on 9 May and run to 6 June. Opera North said in a statement: “Our immediate priority is the health and safety of our audiences, artists and staff, and although we hope to be able to mount the production in a future season at this point we cannot confirm when this will be.”

Opera North is looking at new ways to make its work available to audiences. You can watch the company’s acclaimed staging of Wagner’s epic masterpiece The Ring Cycle online, in full, for free. 2020: An Isolation Odyssey, a recording of the iconic opening of Strauss’s tone poem ‘Also Sprach Zarathustra’ (1896), featured 40 musicians filming themselves playing while in isolation. 

Richard Mantle, general director of Opera North, commented: “This is undoubtedly a time of great challenge for Opera North and our peers, but we are determined to respond with creativity and resilience. We will honour the contracts of all guest artists to the end of our current main stage opera season and those of guest orchestral players until the end of April.

“We are working with our many education and community partners to ascertain what work can still be delivered in those settings, and will focus our creativity and core resources on finding new ways of using music and opera to enhance people’s lives. In these uncertain times it feels more important than ever that we use music to connect with each other.”

The company is hoping that its 2020-21 season – scheduled to start in September – will go ahead as planned. It has also set up a donation page for anyone who wishes to support the company



Members of the Orchestra of Opera North filmed themselves performing the opening of Stauss’s ‘Also Sprach Zarathustra’ while in isolation to be streamed online via YouTube (Justin Slee).