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Opera North Orchestra ensured Zarathustra could still sprach

Conducted from an empty church in Stockholm, 40 members of the Orchestra of Opera North perform Strauss' epic Also Sprach Zarathustra in their living rooms, kitchens and gardens across Yorkshire in a new film, released today.

You can watch it here.

When the Leeds-based company's performances of the piece – famously used for the opening of the 1960s movie 2001: A Space Odyssey – were cancelled as the coronavirus pandemic intensified, two members of the ensemble decided the show must go on.

Daniel Bull (cello) and Lourenço Macedo Sampaio (viola) contacted Swedish conductor Tobias Ringborg, who had been due to conduct the concerts at Huddersfield and Leeds Town Halls.

Tobias filmed himself in a church in Stockholm, conducting a pianist performing the piece so the rest of the orchestra could synchronise their playing.

Daniel, Lourenço and 40 of their colleagues then donned full concert dress and filmed themselves in isolation, performing their parts in time with Tobias' baton.

"We added instrument by instrument until this amazing performance took shape”, said Daniel. “It felt like watching a huge building being constructed, with Tobias’ musical vision as a starting point, much like an actual rehearsal and concert."

Lourenço added: “This project has been incredibly meaningful to me as I have been away from my home country for a long time now, and I don't know when I will be able to visit my family back in Portugal.

"We all make music to connect with one another and with our audiences, and it couldn't feel more empowering to continue doing what we love most in these unprecedented and difficult times.”

More info about Opera North here


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