New Year, New Leeds
11 January 2016
Listen, Watch, Do: Awaken Your Senses in Leeds
Happy New Year from Leeds, with love… and just a touch of rain! The ‘Jewel of the North’ may have seen more water than King Triton’s palace over the festive season, but it hasn’t dampened our spirits. January sees us ringing in the New Year by wringing out our curtains and opening doors once more to our wonderful visitors. The flood has given us good reason to put our New Year’s resolutions into action, so it’s out with the old and in with the new. We hope you’ll join us in trying something new yourself when you visit Leeds in 2016.
Listen: Give Your Ears a Treat
If you’re anything like us, your Christmas money has already vanished and the thought of an evening out seems unlikely. Well, you are mistaken. January marks the opening of the Leeds International Concert Season, where talented musicians from around the globe play some of the world’s most iconic classical music… from Brahms to Bach, Schubert to Schumann, there is something for every musical pallet. But if you don’t know your Prokofiev from your Puccini, then this is a brilliant way to try something different and, most of it, is free! You’ll take in some of the North’s most beautiful music venues – the historic Leeds Town Hall or contemporary Leeds College of Music – and enjoy a range of stunning classical pieces between 6th January and 4th June.
Visitors of an operatic liking (or even those who just like to sing into their hairbrush in the bathroom mirror) are also in luck this winter – Leeds plays host to a range of theatrical spectacles from the Opera North. Cosi fan tutte is Mozart’s tale of deception, love, infidelity and lust and is an excellent introduction to opera. Not only does the storyline imitate our well-loved, modern soap operas, but the music is sung in English. For those who love Italian (food or music) the English subtitled Andrea Chenier opera may be right up your street. This story follows a real-life French poet during the dangerous French Revolution… it’s not quite Les Miserables but just as dramatic. Tickets for both operas (£15 - £68) are available from The Grand Theatre and Opera House. If classical isn’t for you, then there are plenty of other options available at this stunning venue this season including, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, Blood Brothers or Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
Watch: A Sight for Sore Eyes
It’s time to switch off the TV and delete the Christmas Specials from your Sky Box. 2016 in Leeds is all about getting out and about, seeing some incredible things with your own eyes. Yorkshire is famous for its varied artwork – the brooding skies, industrial landscapes and rural backdrops have given local artists inspiration for hundreds of years. Take a trip to Cartwright Hall Art Gallery, only a 40 minute drive from 42 The Calls, for one of their fascinating exhibitions this winter. From December 2015 – 10th April 2016, visitors can enjoy the 100 Leading Ladies exhibition, a photographic project by award-winning photographer Nancy Honey which celebrates women better than the Spice Girls ever did. It explores leading female figures in Britain and is the first time the exhibition has travelled outside London. This is an amazing chance to catch some progressive, inspiring portraits of fashion designers, politicians and writers.
Meanwhile, in celebration of the newly-released Star Wars film, visitors can enjoy new exhibition, The Fans Awaken, between December 2015 and January 2016 at the National Media Museum. It showcases fan art from a galaxy far, far away (as well as closer to home) and is a great trip down memory lane: the artistic force is certainly strong with these ones. If Sci-Fi isn’t really your thing, feast your eyes on the Revelations: Experiments in Photography exhibition until 3rd February, which charts the history of photography and how the 19th century pioneers of the camera still influence how we capture images today. Both exhibitions are free and the permanent galleries, themed around television, technology, animation and film, are also well worth a visit.
Do: Skate up a Storm
If you’d rather get active and create a performance of your own in 2016, then Leeds Ice Cube may be just what you need. From 22nd January to 21st February, Leeds undergoes a wintry transformation as 500m sq. of real ice is laid on Millennium Square, an easy 10 minute stroll from 42 The Calls. Get your pulse racing in the outdoors for this magical skating experience, gliding around to chart hits from Ice Cube’s official media partner, Capital FM. Not only can you enjoy the ice, but also a snowslide (think Cool Runnings), the North Pole starflyer, ice-side café plus other rides and attractions… get your skates on and head down soon!