Opera North Collection

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 206 MS 1901
  • Dates of Creation
      1978 - 2015
  • Language of Material
      English German Italian
  • Physical Description
      134 boxes; flyers; photographs; posters; programmes; typescript papers; leaflets; placard; stickers; magnetic tape; envelopes; CDs; bookmarks; photocopies; facsimile; magazine; telegram; postcards; cards

Scope and Content

The collection covers the musical activities of Opera North for over forty years from 1978. The company was established in 1977 as English National Opera North.

The collection contains material relating to opera and musicals staged by the company such as production folders, photographs and press reviews of performances. There is promotional material including an extensive run of programmes and some listings, flyers and posters. The collection contains a small amount of material generated by the administrative activities of Opera North.

Administrative / Biographical History

Opera North is England's national opera company in the North and one of Europe's leading arts organisations. Based at Leeds Grand Theatre and it regularly performs in Salford, Newcastle, Belfast and Nottingham. The company also tours around Europe to cities which include Prague and Barcelona. Its orchestra, the Orchestra of Opera North, frequently performs and records independently.

Opera North was founded in 1977 as English National Opera North (ENO North). The company was established in response to a demand for more opera productions in English provincial cities. An offshoot of English National Opera, it was set up in Leeds.

ENO North's first performance was Saint-Saëns' 'Samson and Delilah' on 15 November 1978. David Lloyd-Jones was the founding Music Director from 1978-1991. From the beginning the company toured in England and Wales including seasons in London. In 1981 it adopted the name Opera North and cut its official links with English National Opera.

The company stages over 220 performances annually. Its performances over the years have encompassed world premieres, for example, 'Rebecca' by Wilfred Josephs (1983) and 'Baa, baa, black sheep' by Michael Berkeley (1993). It champions lesser known operas which are rarely seen in the United Kingdom including 'King Priam' by Michael Tippett (1991) and 'La voix humaine' by Poulenc (2006). Since 1989 the company has also performed musical theatre works such as 'Love Life' by Kurt Weill (1996) and 'Carousel' by Rodgers and Hammerstein (2012).

Access Information

This collection is subject to various access conditions. Please see individual catalogue descriptions for further details on access.

Material in this collection is in copyright. Photocopies or digital images can only be supplied by the Library for research or private study within the terms of copyright legislation. It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain the copyright holder's permission to reproduce for any other purpose. Guidance is available on tracing copyright status and ownership.

The University of Leeds respects the rights of copyright holders and their representatives. The University endeavours to ensure that all content hosted on the Special Collections website is compliant with UK Copyright law. View the Special Collections takedown policy


Donated by Opera North in 2014. An accrual was received in 2015.