Opera North will host a specially programmed season of films and digital events, the Leeds-based company has announced.

Following the success of Opera North’s live-streamed productions of Weill’s The Seven Deadly Sins (1933) and Beethoven’s Fidelio (1805), both filmed behind closed doors during lockdown, three further projects have been reconfigured as digital projects in response to Covid-19 restrictions. Fidelio will also remain online until 4 January 2021.

Whistle Stop Opera: Cinderella is a light-hearted introduction to opera for children aged 5 and over. It uses music from different composers’ takes on the original rags-to-riches fairytale to create an alternative to a family trip to the theatre. A 40-minute film of the production will be available for families to watch.

The video will also be shared for free with primary schools, children’s hospitals, hospices and care settings until the end of January. Additional learning resources will be available for schools, including a song to learn and sing when watching and a wand to make before the show.

Matthew Robins’s 20-minute animation La petite bohème is a unique retelling of Act III of La bohème (1896) that captures the emotion and humour of Puccini’s classic opera. It features a newly recorded soundtrack by the Orchestra and Chorus of Opera North and four soloists, Katie Bird (Mimì), Thomas Atkins (Rodolfo), Timothy Nelson (Marcello) and James Kryshak (Musetto), conducted by Matthew Kofi Waldren.

Song of Our Heartland, a Northern Heartlands community opera devised and performed by residents of Co Durham with Opera North, will be available to watch online. The new opera was written by Durham-born composer Will Todd, with a storyline by Caroline Clegg and libretto by Emma Jenkins.

It was originally due to premiere at Locomotion in Shildon, Co Durham, in May 2021. When it became clear that this would no longer be possible, the decision was taken to digitise the project, recording all the different elements separately before piecing them together to create the final version. The resulting hour-long film will be available for free.

Jacqui Cameron, education director at Opera North, commented: “Despite all the challenges we encountered due to the pandemic, we were determined that Song of Our Heartland, an inspirational community opera created by the people of Co Durham to reflect their history, heritage and aspirations, would come to fruition. It is a testament to the hard work and creativity of all those involved that we were able to create the resulting film in such a short space of time under such unusual circumstances.”

All digital productions are available until 4 January 2021. Access to Whistle Stop Opera: Cinderella and La petite bohème costs £4.99. All three can be seen at Opera North’s website



La petite bohème, animated by Matthew Robins, will be available on demand until 4 January 2021.