The Orchestra of Opera North will return to Millennium Square, Leeds for another long weekend this summer, joined by Jimmy Somerville, Nik Kershaw, Howard Jones and more for 80s Classical on Friday 26 July, and special guest vocalists for the third instalment of The Symphonic Sounds of Back to Basics on Saturday 27 July, with a live soundtrack screening of Jurassic Park to close the festival on Sunday 28 July.
Part of Leeds City Council’s summer programme on Millennium Square, the third Opera North in the City festival gets underway with 80s Classical, featuring the sounds of the musically momentous decade specially revamped, expanded and rearranged for Opera North’s 60-piece orchestra with vocals from the original artists.
Founder and lead vocalist of Bronski Beat and The Communards, solo star and icon of the LGBT rights movement Jimmy Somerville will mark the 35th anniversary of his era-defining debut single Smalltown Boy by joining the Orchestra for a newly orchestrated version, plus follow-up hits Never Can Say Goodbye, Don’t Leave Me This Way and more. “I’m so excited to be collaborating on these truly unique orchestral arrangements of my catalogue, and bringing them to Leeds this summer”, says Jimmy. “It’s gonna be spectacular!”
Jimmy is joined on the bill by synth-pop superstars Howard Jones (New Song; What is Love) and Nik Kershaw (Wouldn’t It Be Good; I Won’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me), pure pop gold with T’Pau singer and songwriter Carol Decker (Heart and Soul; China In Your Hand), and sophisti-pop from Johnny Hates Jazz (Shattered Dreams, Turn Back the Clock). A talented ensemble of backing vocalists will step up to perform more 80s favourites.
The musical masterminds behind the 80s Classical and Back to Basics concerts, composer and arranger Cliff Masterson and Musical Director Steve Anderson’s credits include Kylie Minogue, Emeli Sandé and Leona Lewis. “We’re absolutely thrilled to be back at Millennium Square and sharing the stage with so many brilliant musicians and performers”, says Cliff. “The 80s was such an amazing time for music, and to be able to add a fresh dimension to these iconic songs is incredibly exciting. This is the first UK show to combine a symphony orchestra with multiple original artists from a musical decade brimming with nostalgia, and it promises to be a night to remember!”