Photo: Members of the Chorus of Opera North in Masque of Might © James Glossop
On Wednesday 7th February 2024 in the Howard Assembly Room we took a deep dive into the findings following the completion of Opera North’s Green Season. The session will be led by Jamie Saye from SAIL (Sustainable Arts in Leeds).

Opera North’s Green Season was a feat of experimentation, creativity and ingenuity, all with the goal of making our productions as green as possible. Guided by the Theatre Green Book, we set out to devise a programme with sustainability at the heart. Our three operas shared scenic elements to create interlinked yet distinctive designs, which enabled Opera North to reduce its use of materials, and all sets, props and costumes were sourced from previous productions or purchased second-hand.

Photo. Richard Burkhard as Ford, Henry Waddington as Falstaff and Kate Royal as Alice Ford with members of the Chorus of Opera North © Richard H Smith

Underlining its commitment to sustainability, Autumn sees Opera North performing its first full sustainable season in an ambitious and progressive programme guided by the Theatre Green Book.
All three operas will share scenic elements to create interlinked yet distinctive designs, enabling Opera North to reduce its use of materials, and all sets, props and costumes will be sourced from previous productions or purchased second-hand. More matinee performances have also been introduced in order to make it easier for audiences to travel on public transport.

Opening the season in September will be a new production of Verdi’s Falstaff, directed by Olivia Fuchs and conducted by Music Director Garry Walker with Henry Waddington in the title role.

The world premiere of a new piece created by Sir David Pountney follows. Masque of Might recycles music by one of the greatest English theatre composers, Henry Purcell, and reimagines the 17th-century form of the masque to create a biting yet humorous contemporary satire, billed as an ‘eco-entertainment’. Baroque specialistHarry Bicket conduct this witty, incisive and fantastical work, which addresses urgently topical themes such as the abuses of a powerful political leader and the gathering climate crisis.

The season completes with Puccini’s La rondine, directed by James Hurley and conducted by Kerem Hasan, with a cast including Galina Averina as Magda, Claire Lees as Lisette, Sébastien Guèze as Ruggero and Elgan Llŷr Thomas as Prunier.

Photo. Elgan Llŷr Thomas as Prunier, Claire Lees as Lisette, Galina Averina as Magda, Sébastien Guèze as Ruggero and the La rondine Company © Tristram Kenton

We asked the questions:
How else were we green?
What roadblocks did we hit along the way?
How successful were we in our ambitions?
Why does opera need to be sustainable?

Elizabeth Simmonds (Communications Manager) and Laura Hart (Production Office Co-ordinator) provided their insights into planning and delivering the season.

80 students across various courses at the University of Leeds were in attendance, bringing insightful and considered question to our panel.

The presentations and discussion were captured by the film team at Opera North, and is an available resource for educational purposes upon request.


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