BBC premiere for Opera North and Leeds Playhouse production with rapper Testament

An Opera North and Leeds Playhouse production featuring acclaimed rapper and playwright Testament will make its television premiere on the BBC this spring.

Friday, 9th April 2021, 11:45 am

Inspired by the Ancient Greek myth, Orpheus in the Record Shop sees Testament fuse spoken word and beatboxing with a cinematic score performed by members of the Orchestra and Chorus of Opera North.

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The resulting performance fills Leeds Playhouse’s Quarry Theatre with Orpheus’s dreams, his reminiscences and his struggle for redemption.

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Testament in a scene from Orpheus in the Record Shop which will be broadcast on BBC Four later this month.

Originally directed and designed for the stage by Aletta Collins, it was the main new commission for the Connecting Voices partnership between the opera company and theatre.

It has now been filmed for broadcast on BBC Four and BBC iPlayer this spring as part of #BBCLightsUp - a season of plays for BBC TV and radio, produced in partnership with theatres across the UK and continuing BBC Arts’ Culture in Quarantine initiative.

The filmed version, directed by James Brining and Alex Ramseyer-Bache, will receive its premiere on BBC Four on Wednesday April 21.

Two Opera North concerts recorded during the winter lockdown will also be broadcast on BBC Radio 3 this spring.

Richard Farnes, Opera North’s former music director, returns to the company to conduct the Orchestra of Opera North in a concert featuring Sibelius’ Pelléas and Mélisande Suite,

Janáček’s Katya Kabanova Suite and Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel Suite, airing on Wednesday April 28.

A broadcast of Orfeo ed Euridice will follow on Saturday May 1, with Laurence Cummings conducting and cast including Paula Murrihy as Orfeo, Fflur Wyn as Euridice and Daisy

Brown as Amore.

An accompanying film following the recording process in real time will be available to stream on Opera North’s ONDemand player.

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