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Beautifully Illustrated New Study of Opera North Launched at Yorkshire Event

New book is published by Emerald detailing the history and inner workings of the opera company

United Kingdom, 29 October 2014 – Last night (28 October), saw the launch event of Emerald Group Publishing’s latest addition to the books portfolio, Opera North: Historical and Dramaturgical Perspectives on Opera Studies. The event, attended by Dr Keith Howard OBE, Founder and Group Board Chairman of Emerald and Patron of Opera North, and author Dr Kara McKechnie from the University of Leeds, along with invited guests, was celebrated at the Howard Assembly Room, Opera North. 

A universal reference for opera scholars, opera workers and opera lovers, this work explores issues relating to the production of opera through history, ethnography and production analysis. Opera North, based in Leeds, West Yorkshire, is presented through a historical lens within the UK operatic landscape, drawing on extensive archives and interview material. The book is beautifully illustrated with photographs from Opera North’s 35 year history. The workplace behaviour of an opera company is explored in its rehearsal and performance spaces, and the production cycle from first music rehearsal to first night is traced through detailed observation and photographic records.

The fully illustrated study is the result of more than four years of detailed research and close observation of Opera North. It delves deep into the Company's past, from its roots in 1978, when George Lascelles, then Earl of Harewood, founded the organisation, originally named English National Opera North, as the first large-scale lyric opera company in the north.

Dr Kara McKechnie, commented: “It has been an intense and inspiring four years of research, thanks to the generous support, openness and artistic excellence of everyone at Opera North. The book is compiled from extensive and varied archive resources, in-depth conversations with key staff past and present and detailed observation of the company’s production processes. 

“With its interdisciplinary research agenda, the study also aims to cater for audiences beyond the academic sphere, such as Friends, Patrons and audiences of Opera North, experts in their own right, as well as readers involved in the opera industry. It aims to reflect Opera North’s principle that opera is for everyone.”

Richard Mantle, General Director of Opera North, concluded “I am immensely pleased to celebrate the publication of Dr Kara McKechnie’s study of Opera North, a fascinating exploration of this company’s history and work. Over the past four years while researching this book, Kara has become part of the Opera North family – a closeness which has truly enabled her to capture the spirit and ethos of who we are as a company, and a real insight into the artistic work which we produce for our audiences.”

Opera North: Historical and Dramaturgical Perspectives on Opera Studies, by Dr Kara McKechnie, available to order online via Emerald Books:

To read excerpts from the book, view the table of contents and access the synopsis, visit

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About Emerald Publishing:
Nurturing fresh thinking that makes an impact

Emerald Publishing was founded in 1967 to champion new ideas that would advance the research and practice of business and management. Today, we continue to nurture fresh thinking in applied fields where we feel we can make a real difference, now also including health and social care, education and engineering. We publish over 300 journals, more than 2,500 books and over 1,500 case studies, via our dedicated research platform


Natasha Hartley
Content Communications Executive
Emerald Publishing Limited
Phone: +44 (0) 1274 785046