Opera North has announced Professor Edward Venn of the School of Music, University of Leeds, as its new Academic in Residence. He will spend a year at the Company bringing together diverse voices from the performing arts and academia for a series of discussions, events and an exhibition focusing on race, ethics and representation in operatic storytelling.

Part of the innovative DARE collaboration between the opera company and the University, Professor Venn’s programme of activity begins this Thursday 6 October with a webinar, Telling Operatic Stories: Race, Ethics and Authenticity, as part of Leeds Arts and Humanities Research Institute’s Sadler Series.

Open to all and including a public Q&A, the Zoom event will shape the course of five further seminars in the Series examining opera’s often unedifying historical attitudes to non-western or minority cultures, and exploring Opera North productions past, present and future. Embedded in the Company’s rehearsals and day-to-day activity, Professor Venn hopes to bring theory and practice together to look at how the industry can move forward to give its stages to “other voices, telling other stories”.

Opera North’s groundbreaking new Orpheus will be the subject of Professor Venn’s second event, an in-person workshop in the Howard Opera Centre, Leeds on Friday 21 October. Guests including co-Music Director and Opera North Artist in Residence Jasdeep Singh Degun will convene to examine creative collaborations between different musical traditions, with a pre-recorded contribution from Indian-born, Australian-based Carnatic singer Charulatha Mani. For further information and free booking, visit the Opera North website.