Leeds Kirkgate Market

24 August to

7 September 2020

This Summer, 250 years of operatic history in Leeds will come to life as part of a new exhibition and website – the Leeds Opera Story.

Curated by Northern Opera Group as part of the Leeds Opera Festival 2020.



The Leeds Opera Story is an exhibition and website that will uncover the hidden history of opera in the city – starting with the first operas to have been performed in Leeds during the 18th Century.

It will explore the singers, conductors and companies who first brought opera to Leeds, how tastes in opera have changed over time, and the forgotten theatres across the city which first hosted performances.

The exhibition will be open at Kirkgate Market from 24 August to 7 September and will be free to attend. Our website – leedsoperastory.co.uk – will launch in full later this year, and will be host to fascinating archive material, as well as photos, videos and audio recordings of opera in the city.


We’re looking for a team of volunteers to take part in the project. Activities will include interviewing people who’ve played a significant role in the operatic life of Leeds, exploring archive materials housed with our partners (including Leeds Museums and the West Yorkshire Archive Service), and supporting the curation of the final exhibition.

Please contact Louise Garner ([email protected]) to express your interest.


Do you have stories about your own experience of opera in Leeds that you’d like to share? We want to hear not only from artists, but from audiences who’ve experienced the changing face (and sound!) of opera over time. Do you have archive materials, programmes, recordings, that might be useful for the project?

Please contact David Ward ([email protected]) to discuss.

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