Leeds Opera Festival 2023 Celebrates Latin American Music and Opera

By Chris Ruel

Leeds Opera Festival has announced its lineup for the 2023 season, taking place from August 19th to September 10th. The 7th edition of the annual festival, produced by Northern Opera Group, will focus on opera and music from Latin America, featuring performances in over 12 venues across Leeds and surrounding areas.

Here’s what is in store for Festival goers.

The UK premiere of Robert Rodriguez’s opera “Frida,” presents a captivating portrayal of the life of renowned artist Frida Kahlo. Directed by Francesca Murray-Fuentes and conducted by Odaline de la Martinez, the cast features Parvathi Subbiah, Jacobo Ochoa, and Julia Merino.

Performance Dates: Aug. 29 – Sept. 2, 2023 at Leeds School of Arts Theatre

There will be a new production of Astor Piazzolla’s tango opera “Maria de Buenos Aires,” featuring dancers from the Northern School of Contemporary Dance. The opera is a heady invocation of life on the streets of Argentina. Carlos Pons Guerra choreographs and directs the show. Natalia Luis-Bassa conducts.

Performance Dates: Aug. 30 – Sept. 2, 2023 at Leeds School of Arts Theatre

A pop-up opera by composer Jose Puello and writer Zodwa Nyoni, will tour across Leeds and the surrounding areas. Developed in partnership with local primary schools, this production incorporates traditional Latin American folk stories and songs, providing a unique cultural experience for young people.

The Festival will also feature talks, workshops, recitals, and performances by Latin American female composers  such as Helen Glaisher Hernandez and Lorena Paz Nieto, a concert by Cuban guitarist Ahmed Dickinson, and and a rare appearance from Spanish pianist Jose Luis Nieto.

In an official statement, Artistic Director David Ward, said, “Latin music is often overlooked on classical stages in the UK (particularly operatic stages), so we’re delighted to be celebrating composers from across the Latin world this Summer. Our UK premiere of “Frida” is a major opportunity for audiences to experience this tremendous piece of music theatre and delve deeper into the life of one of the world’s most iconic artists. With “Maria de Buenos Aires” we’re partnering with a dance conservatoire of international renown and collaborating with talent based and trained in Leeds.“