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Creating a world-class home for opera in Leeds

We recently completed the redevelopment of Opera North’s Grade II* listed headquarters to provide a world-class facility featuring new studios and recreational spaces as part of their wider scheme, Music Works.

Representatives from Opera North joined us at the brand-new facility situated on New Briggate and Harrison Street right in the centre of Leeds, to celebrate the redevelopment of the Howard Opera Centre.

As a high-profile Grade II* listed asset, a key challenge in the project was reinstating many of the historical features from George Corson’s original 1870s design, including the striking stone and brickwork arches to the exterior. We also had to thoroughly understand the building and its history, detailed intrusive surveys across the premise provided us with a clearer picture.

Representatives from Opera North joined us at the brand-new facility in Leeds
The new world-class home for opera opened in Autumn 2021

The completed project has created an exceptional new Education Studio, a revamped Box Office, additional rehearsal spaces including a room for the Orchestra and Chorus, and a suite of music coaching rooms.

We have also completed the refurbishment of the Howard Assembly Room which now features a fully accessible entrance and atrium, with a modern restaurant and bar replacing a row of vacant shop units to the previous frontage.

Opera North staff and audiences have been enjoying the new facilities since autumn 2021 when the Company opened its season with a critically-acclaimed production of Carmen. Open days have also been held to give the local community an opportunity to see behind the scenes and to experience the new building at first hand.

Tony Shaw, Managing Director said: “We are very proud to deliver these new world-class facilities for Opera North. Working on a Grade II* listed asset is complex and challenging but we have worked very closely with the client and all teams involved to ensure the successful delivery of facilities which can be enjoyed and celebrated for many years.”

We are delighted to have been able to open this fantastic home for thrilling music and artistic excellence in the heart of Leeds where people of all ages can connect with each other and with Opera North. Named in recognition the late Dr Keith Howard OBE, it stands as a testament not only to his generosity but also to the skill of the team from Henry Boot who have turned our vision into a reality.

Richard Mantle OBE, General Director, Opera North