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Leeds Youth Opera is an acclaimed opera company for 12 to 25 year-olds, based in Leedsmarker, West Yorkshire. The Yorkshire Post newspaper described the group as a '...national cultural treasure...'


Formed in 1971, Leeds Youth Opera (LYO) is one of the few groups in the country specifically designed to cater for young singers. Since its creation, the company has gained a strong reputation for performing rare works, as well as the standard repertoire.Targeted at singers aged 12-25, LYO performs two productions each year, as part of the Leeds Civic Arts Guild - which is based at the Carriageworks theatre in central Leeds.

Noted productions

The UK premieres of Satyagraha and The Voyage by Philip Glass were performed by LYO. In July 2008 the group performed the world staged premiere of Oliver Rudland's 'The Nightingale and the Rose'. July 2009 sees the European Premier of Appomattox by Glass.

The company's 2006 production of Sondheim's Sweeney Todd was described by the BBC as '...excellently performed...'

Current production - European Premiere of Appomattox by Philip Glass

In July 2009 LYO will perform Appomattox by Glass, the first performance outside North America. This powerful and thought provoking work celebrates the first year in office of President Barack Obama.

The end of the American Civil War in 1865 brought freedom for African American slaves and the prospect of their emancipation. However, the assassination of Lincoln and the rise of groups such as the Ku Klux Klan meant that emancipation never came and equality has only now arrived with an African American in the White House.

Starting in the closing stages of the Civil War the final effort is seen as much from the point of view of the wives of the soldiers and politicians. Though too late to be effective, the South finally creates a Black army; but with the fall of Richmond, Robert E. Lee is forced to sign a peace treaty with Ulysses S. Grant in Appomattox.

But while the two military leaders debate the trivialities of the treaty we see the effect of the war over the next one hundred years. Starting with the assassination of Lincoln, followed by lynchings and the indiscriminate murders and persecution of blacks, as well as peace rallies and the voice of Edgar Ray Killen, a preacher who supervised the murder of three civil rights workers in Mississippi.

Selection of past performances

Feb 2009 - I Lombardi (Verdi)

July 2008 - The Nightingale and the Rose (Rudland) and Carmina Burana (Orff)

Feb 2008 - Idomeneo (Mozart)

July 2007 - Der Freisch├╝tz (Weber)

Feb 2007 - The Love for Three Oranges (Prokofiev)

July 2006 - Sweeney Todd (Sondheim)

Feb 2006 - Cinderella (Massenet)

July 2005 - The Magic Flute (Mozart)

Feb 2005 - The Tales of Hoffman (Offenbach)

July 2004 - The Voyage (Glass)

Feb 2004 - The Pearl Fishers (Bizet)

July 2003 - Turandot (Puccini)

Feb 2003 - Merrily We Roll Along (Sondheim)

July 2002 - A Masked Ball (Verdi)

Feb 2002 - Candide (Bernstein)

July 2001 - Peter Grimes (Britten)

Feb 2001 - A Little Night Music (Sondheim)

July 2000 - Carmen (Bizet)

External links


  1. Leeds Civic Arts Guild webpage on LYO
  2. BBC Review of Sweeney Todd

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