Leeds Town Hall announces its world-class programme of arts, culture and more to take place in the walls of Leeds’ most iconic building between September and December 2018.
As part of the city-wide commemorations to mark the centenary of the end of World War I, Leeds Town Hall hosts The City Remembers programme. The city’s commemorations include a performance of Britten’s War Requiem by the BBC Philharmonic, Leeds Festival Chorus, City of Glasgow Chorus and the Cantabile Choir (17 Nov). Britten’s choral masterpiece delicately weaves the Latin Mass with nine of Wilfred Owen’s war poems to brutally bare the horror of war through heart-wrenching harmony, melody and orchestration.
Michael Morpurgo narrates his emotionally charged story War Horse (25 Nov), which follows Joey the young farm horse who finds himself taken from the calm of the English countryside and thrust into the terrors of the Western Front’s battlefield. To accompany the author’s narration, the Orchestra of Opera North performs Adrian Sutton’s score – originally composed for the National Theatre’s production – alongside hand drawn visuals to illustrate the tale.
Charlie Ward (30 Oct – 11 Nov) is an immersive and powerful sound installation by Sound&Fury that places audiences in the heart of a makeshift wartime hospital. An unlikely therapy brings solace and comfort to those injured on the battlefield as medical staff arrange for a Chaplin film to be shown to the bed ridden. The flickering images, whirring projector and Chaplin’s perfect comic timing trigger complex emotions and memories as the injured journey into a personal no man’s land.
The second ever performance of Will Todd’s Songs of Love and Battle is paired with Symphony No 3 (Sorrowful Songs) by Górecki for a concert featuring the Orchestra of Opera North (1 Dec). Todd’s micro opera depicts in eight parts the conflicting emotions of war through the words and poems of Maggie Gottlieb. Górecki picks up the themes of loss, heartbreak and separation in arguably one of the most famous pieces from the late twentieth century.
Other events in The City Remembers programme include Kevin Whately and the BBC Big Band who capture the spirit of 1940s songs in Our Finest Hour (27 Sep), Airedale Symphony Orchestra and Leeds Philharmonic Chorus who perform Nimrod, music from Saving Private Ryan and more (21 Oct) and Opera North’s UK premiere production of Silent Night, which follows the true story of the 1914 Christmas truce – when peace spontaneously broke out on the frontline trenches.
The Town Hall continues to welcome the best orchestras, soloists and conductors from across the globe with the 2018/19 Leeds International Orchestral Season. Highlights of the coming months include the BBC Philharmonic (29 Sep) with a programme including Brahms’ Symphony No 1, Vienna Tonkünstler Orchestra (27 Oct) with Beethoven’s beautiful and intense ‘Emperor’ Concerto, and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra (24 Nov) under the baton of Vasily Petrenko.
A rare opportunity to experience classical music in the Town Hall Crypt awaits as Manchester Collective performs Schoenberg’s wild and seductive masterpiece Pierrot Lunaire (22 Nov) in-the-round. The concert is part of a residency from a company the Yorkshire Post described as a "powerful, moving, & extraordinary" addition to the UK music scene.
The coming months also include a huge variety of live music gigs, from indie-rock band alt-J (23 Oct) and jazz singer Madeleine Peyroux (26 Nov) to The Unthanks (21 Dec) who premiere their new Emily Brontë Song Cycle, plus rock band Hawkwind performs a brand new concept show In Search of Utopia with The Blackheart Orchestra (19 Oct). Soul II Soul also celebrate their thirtieth anniversary (26 Oct) with a performance of their most popular hits.
Two top comedians entertain audiences this autumn – Joe Lycett (30 Oct) will tell us about his most recent internet trolling and Ross Noble (13-14 Dec) will dance around the stage, bursting with his amusingly random anecdotes.
Look out also for the free Leeds Lunchtime Organ Music recitals that take place every Monday at 1.05pm (17 Sep – 23 Mar) with City Organist Darius Battiwalla and special guests.
Tickets for the new season are on sale now from the Box Office on 0113 376 0318 or online at leedstownhall.co.uk.