Jennifer Johnston as Wellgunde in Das Rheingold (centre)

I am a bit ashamed, as a Northerner (well, Scouser) to admit that before this month, I’ve only ever been to Leeds twice before and I’m not sure it could be said I ‘saw’ anything. Both times were to audition for Opera North and both times I got off the train, got a taxi to the theatre, sang, got back into a cab, returned to the station and went home! This time it’s been very different indeed. For starters, Das Rheingold marks my debut with the Company (which is very exciting) and I, accompanied by my husband and 3-year-old daughter have stayed for almost a month.

We have been determined to explore Yorkshire and Humberside whilst here and so any chance we’ve had, we’ve been off out doing fun things. Well, as ‘fun’ as it can be with an only-just-not-a-toddler in tow. So what have we liked? Pretty much everything! Leeds itself is a lovely city, full of great restaurants, cafes and shops, particularly Harvey Nichols, which has been a regular haunt thanks to the branch of Yo Sushi! on the top floor. We’ve been to the Royal Armouries (fascinating), Tropical World (sweaty but very educational) and Harewood House (loads to do for all ages, and a beautiful stately home to admire) Further afield, we’ve been to Castleford (XScape has a fantastic year-round ski slope and also a bowling alley for the less physically capable!) York (baulked at the Minster entry prices, but we did go to Jorvik which was amazing and liked the outlet mall on the outskirts of town for bargains) Harrogate (difficult to beat Fat Rascals in Betty’s Tea Rooms) Hull (the Deep Submarium was incredible and a brilliant day out for the whole family) and Halifax (EUREKA National Children’s Museum is a brilliant concept, only marred by hordes of school children).

Was there anything we didn’t like? No, not really. All-in-all, this has been a really successful trip and we’re heading home (temporarily) armed with loads of adventures to relay to our nearest and dearest, whilst looking forward to returning in 2 weeks time!


Jennifer Johnston, Wellgunde, Das Rheingold


Remaining Das Rheingold performances:

1 July – Leeds Town Hall

8 Sept – Leeds Town Hall

10 Sept – The Lowry, Salford Quays