Opera North in The City Celebrates the 80s

Opera North’s now well established summer orchestral festival takes us back to the 80s this year, with 80s Classical on Friday 26 July.

Music from the 80s will be rearranged and expanded for Opera North’s 60-piece orchestra and vocals will come from the original artists.

The Symphonic Sounds of Back to Basics will move to the next decade and include guest vocalists on Saturday 27 July.

On Sunday 28th,  the Festival closes with a live soundtrack screening of Jurassic Park.

Jimmy Somerville (Bronski Beat and The Communards) debuted his single Smalltown Boy 35 years ago, so this is a chance to enjoy an orchestrated version, along with his Never Can Say Goodbye and Don’t Leave Me This Way.  (Readers of a certain age are already singing these in your head, aren’t you?)  Jimmy said “I’m so excited to be collaborating on these truly unique orchestral arrangements of my catalogue, and bringing them to Leeds this summer”, says Jimmy. “It’s gonna be spectacular!”

Howard Jones, Nik Kershaw, Carol Decker (T’Pau) and Johnny Hates Jazz will join Jimmy, as will some talented backing vocalists to keep those 80s favourites flowing.

Composer and arranger Cliff Masterson and Musical Director Steve Anderson (Kylie Minogue, Emeli Sandé and Leona Lewis) are looking forward to the Festival:

All Photographs by Tom Arber. Provided by Opera North.

“We’re absolutely thrilled to be back at Millennium Square and sharing the stage with so many brilliant musicians and performers”, says Cliff. “The 80s was such an amazing time for music, and to be able to add a fresh dimension to these iconic songs is incredibly exciting.  This is the first UK show to combine a symphony orchestra with multiple original artists from a musical decade brimming with nostalgia, and it promises to be a night to remember!”

Steve Anderson adds: “It is the most incredible honour to work with such iconic singers who have been pivotal in the soundtracks of so many people’s lives, and to be able to add an epic orchestral score on top of the richness and beauty of the existing electronic elements which everyone loves. Our continuing collaboration with the mighty Orchestra of Opera North is set to be a magical night full of joy, drama and simply the best music in the world.”

Back to Basics offers a new way to experience clubbing, with orchestrally-enhanced dance anthems from the 90s performed in Millennium Square’s stunning open-air arena.  The line-up will be revealed soon.

Still in the 90s, Jurassic Park will be screened on the final day of the Festival.  Last year’s screening of Brassed Off sold out and there’s every reason to expect a repeat this year.  

Phil Boughton, Director of Orchestra and Chorus, Opera North, comments:

“As we prepare to bring back Opera North in the City for the third year running, we’re delighted that our Millennium Square residency is already thought of as a Leeds summer fixture. It’s certainly a highlight of the year for our Orchestra, who revel in the electric atmosphere, the collaborations with artists from the worlds of pop and dance music – and the chance to showcase their incredible versatility in the open air in the heart of our home city.

It is hugely important that Opera North takes music out of our traditional settings to engage with different communities and audiences and this series does just that.”


Friday 26 July, DJ sets from 6.45pm, live performance from 8.15pm

Box office: 0844 848 2720 / 0113 376 0318
Online: www.operanorth.co.uk / www.millsqleeds.com


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