Opera North Projects Manager Jo Nockels on preparations for Light Night, taking place across Leeds on Friday 7 October.

Light Night is now just four nights away and there is a hive of activity around the preparation of the installation ‘O Let me Weep,’ that will be taking place in the Howard Assembly Room. Light Night is a unique opportunity to throw open the doors of the venue to hundreds of people over the course of a few hours and offer them a glimpse into a new world, this year the enchanted wood of the opera The Fairy Queen.

Large hanging frames for the installation are currently being made, ready to be rigged in the roof this Friday. The dress maker has been fitting the extraordinary dress to singer Claire Bradshaw, images of forests and clouds will be projected onto the dress as they will with the hanging screens.

Whilst I say there is a hive of activity, the hive is not really here at Opera North just yet. The frames are in workshops in the basement, the dress has been designed and fitted at the singer’s house, the projections are being developed to run on sophisticated video software and the musicians don’t arrive until Thursday night for their rehearsal. It’s the moment of greatest tension in developing any new production: will it feel how we expect? How will everything work? Will everyone turn up?

My favourite part of Light Night projects is the reaction and interaction from the audience. During O Let me Weep, people will be able wander in and out of the room, so becoming part of the piece. Meandering through the ‘forest’ of screens, you automically become somewhere between an observer and a protagonist in the drama, perhaps encountering Titania herself, feeling the power of her voice, and this extraordinary moment in the opera. In the story of The Fairy Queen, this is when Titania wakes and realises that her husband has humiliated her and that her marriage is over. We wanted to explore what happens when you repeat that moment again and again, when you get stuck in that moment and that emotion.

Jo Nockels
Opera North Projects Manager


O Let me Weep takes place in the Howard Assembly Room as part of Light Night in Leeds on Friday 7th October. It is a free, five hour video installation with performance by mezzo-soprano Claire Bradshaw, guitarist Craig Ogden and oboist Hazel Cropper. Entrance is from 5pm-10pm and visiters can come and go at will.