Opera North announce details of Hull 2017 programme

Opera North have announced more information about their plans for Hull 2017, with a varied programme of events to celebrate UK City of Culture.

The Yorkshire-based national opera company will celebrate 2017 here in Hull with a rich programme, including large-scale opera at the redeveloped Hull New Theatre, an intimate sound installation for the Humber Bridge and a year-long residency at a Hull primary school.

Here are just a few of the Hull 2017 highlights from Opera North.

The Little Greats

This season of one-act operas will be performed at Hull New Theatre in Autumn 2017, offering a chance to see rarely performed pieces alongside well-known short operas. Performed as part of a double-bill, The Little Greats season will take up residency at the reopened Hull New Theatre in this accessible season of operas that pack all the explosive power and energy of a full opera into a shorter form.

Cavalleria rusticana / Pagliacci
Hull New Theatre – Thu 26 Oct, 7.15pm

Trouble in Tahiti / Trial by Jury
Hull New Theatre – Fri 27 Oct, 7.15pm

L’enfant et les sortilèges
Hull New Theatre – Sat 28 Oct, 2.15pm

Cavalleria rusticana / Pagliacci
Hull New Theatre – Sat 28 Oct, 7.15pm

The Height of the Reeds

An intimate sound installation created for the Humber Bridge, The Height of the Reeds features the Chorus and Orchestra of Opera North. This adventure in sound has been composed by Norwegian trumpeter and contemporary jazz musician Arve Henriksen, electronic musician Jan Bang and guitarist Eivind Aarset. The installation can be heard through headphones during a walk across the bridge’s 2,200-metre span. It combines music with field recordings made at the Humber Bridge by Hull-based sound artist Jez Riley French.


This commission, a new work for voice and chamber ensemble by Gavin Bryars, will premiere at the Grade I listed Church of St Germain in Winestead. The village, southeast of Hull, was the birthplace of metaphysical poet Andrew Marvell and will be a unique spot to hear this piece for the first time. The commission will then go on to be performed as part of the PRS Foundation New Music Biennial, with performances in Hull and then at London’s Southbank Centre.

Turandot at Hull City Hall

Opera North’s full-scale dramatic concert performance of Puccini’s final opera Turandot will head to Hull City Hall in May 2017. Set in ancient Beijing, the Princess Turandot promises to marry the prince who can solve three riddles. Any who fail are put to death. Expect high drama from this timeless classic, featuring one of the most famous arias of them all – ’Nessun dorma’.

Hull City Hall – Tues 9 May, 7.30pm

Opera North’s education work in Hull

A group of primary school children in the heart of Hull will have the opportunity to learn musical skills during Hull 2017. Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 pupils at Adelaide Primary School on the Thornton Estate will work closely with Opera North, exploring and reflecting on their daily lives through music. Older children will work with conductor and composer Michael Betteridge, while younger pupils will learn about expressive movement with music practitioner Alison Wise. The project will reach its crescendo with a performance of the pupils’ own compositions alongside musicians from the Chorus and Orchestra of Opera North.

Built on the success of the Opera North Singing School community residency that has been running for the past three years at Bude Park Primary School on the Bransholme Estate in Hull, the project has been funded by Hull 2017’s No Limits learning programme.

Jacqui Cameron, Opera North Head of Education said:

“We are very much looking forward to spending a year with Adelaide Primary School, embedding music into the life of the school and its pupils. As our composer, Michael Betteridge, is currently studying for a PhD at University of Hull, we are hoping to involve some the undergraduates from there, as well as the children’s parents and the wider community.

“We will also be taking pupils from both Adelaide Primary School and Bude Park Primary School to the Humber Bridge so that they can experience Opera North’s sound installation, The Height of the Reeds, which is being created along this iconic Hull landmark as part of the city’s cultural celebrations.”

Further plans to introduce families, schools and community groups to opera during the City of Culture year include:

The Big Sing: 200 schoolchildren will learn a selection of songs before performing alongside the Orchestra of Opera North.

Performances of Whistle Stop Hansel and Gretel will take opera off the stage and into a range of community settings. The show condenses Engelbert Humperdinck’s operatic version of the fairy tale into a short thirty-minute interactive performance of music and storytelling.

Little Singers music and singing workshops for 0-4 year olds and their parents/carers will be held at The Deep.