Leeds Lieder festival debuts at Leeds Town Hall this weekend

The Leeds Lieder festival is making its Leeds Town Hall debut this weekend - with 20 events across four days.

Saturday, 19th June 2021, 4:45 am
Joseph Middleton, director of the Leeds Lieder Festival (photo: James Hardisty)

The Leeds Lieder festival is making its Leeds Town Hall debut this weekend - with 20 events across four days.

Festival director Joseph Middleton has devised a Covid-secure festival celebrating the multifaceted art of song.

His artistic vision is for song recitals to continue to remain relevant, and hopes for the event to be a demonstration of an art form open to everyone.

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There will be an array of different events across the weekend - ranging from lunchtime concerts, young artists, standard song gigs and spoken word in acted out drama.

There will also be pre concert talks, masterclasses for young people and internationally renowned stars, including Dame Felicity Lott and Sir Thomas Allen.

One of the main events takes place tomorrow (Sunday) evening with a concert that “no one will have ever been to something like before”.

Mr Middleton told the YEP: “Sunday’s big evening concert is going to be split into two halves.

“Usually someone will say what they will sing and play months and months beforehand but this time they’re not going to announce it - like a pop gig.

“Audiences don’t know what they’re coming to hear but songs will be sung by Carolyn Sampson, Roderick Williams and myself.

“There will be a world premier of a new piece by Hannah Kendall which is all about gender in song.

“We want those who are coming to watch to feel a part of it so we will have young artists with handheld microphones running round Leeds Town Hall asking audiences what they want to hear.”

Mr Middleton said that Leeds Lieder is important to Leeds because it is the only place outside of London and Oxford in the UK that puts on this number of song gigs.

He said: “A group of friends who used to work at Opera North were fed up with having to get a train down south if they wanted to hear a famous singer.

“They were in a pub and thought why don’t we fundraise and get someone to come to Leeds instead.

“It began in 2004 and it’s grown from that.”

Leeds Town Hall has Covid-safe measures in place including socially distant audiences, masks, and thorough cleaning.