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80s Icons return to Leeds for Open-air Symphonic Spectacular! posted 02 Dec 2019

80s Icons return to Leeds for Open-air Symphonic Spectacular!

80s icons Jimmy SomervilleBelinda CarlisleGo West and T’Pau’s Carol Decker have been announced as the stars of the second instalment of 80s Classical, which returns to its spiritual home of Millennium Square, Leeds on Friday 24 July 2020.


Following a joyous reception for the world premiere performance in 2019, the 60-piece Orchestra of Opera North returns to the outdoor venue in the heart of Leeds for another spectacular symphonic reboot of the chart-topping sounds of this momentous decade, joined in person by the original artists.

After wowing the crowds last year, founder and lead vocalist of Bronski Beat and The Communards Jimmy Somerville will return to perform electrifying, orchestrally-enhanced versions of some of his most iconic songs, including Never Can Say GoodbyeDon't Leave Me This Way and Smalltown Boy. “I’m so excited to be returning to Leeds and to be collaborating once again with wonderful Orchestra of Opera North on these truly unique orchestral arrangements of my catalogue”, says Jimmy. “Last year was such a memorable evening and I can’t wait to perform in Millennium Square again”.

Performing her songs for the very first time with an accompanying orchestra, American superstar singer, musician and author Belinda Carlisle is delighted to be joining the bill for next summer’s show. Raised in Southern California, Belinda first gained worldwide fame as the lead singer of The Go-Go’s, the most successful all-female band in history, before going on to a prolific international solo career. With hits including Heaven is a Place on Earth and Leave a Light On set for the symphonic makeover, Belinda said “I am absolutely thrilled to be able to perform some of my best loved songs in front of a 60-piece symphony orchestra and to be involved in such a fresh and exciting event. I always get a great reaction from my fans in the UK and I know this is going to be a really special occasion”.

Anyone of a certain age will remember Richard Gere speeding through the Hollywood Hills in the opening sequence of Pretty Woman, to the sound of Go West’s King of Wishful Thinking. The Brit Award-winning duo, made up of lead vocalist Peter Cox and rhythm guitarist and backup vocalist Richard Drummie, were paid the ultimate accolade when a shot-for-shot remake of the song’s video by Paul Rudd and The Tonight Show’s Jimmy Fallon went viral last year. Peter and Richard will take the stage to perform King of Wishful Thinking and other earworms including top ten smash We Close Our Eyes.

After her outstanding performance at last year’s concert, T’Pau singer and songwriter Carol Decker returns with pure 80s pop gold Heart and Soul and China In Your Hand. A talented ensemble of backing vocalists, Bianca Claxton, Gavin Condor and Adetoun Anibi, will perform an array of crowd-pleasing 80s favourites including Journey’s Don’t Stop Believin’, Toto’s Africa and The Jacksons’ Can You Feel it, amongst many more.


The musical masterminds behind 80s Classical are composer and arranger Cliff Masterson and Musical Director Steve Anderson whose credits include Kylie Minogue, Emeli Sandé and Leona Lewis. “We’re absolutely thrilled to be back at Millennium Square for a second year and sharing the stage with so many brilliant musicians and performers”, says Cliff. “The 80s was such an amazing time for music, and to be able to add a fresh dimension to these iconic songs is incredibly exciting.  We are delighted that both Belinda Carlisle and Go West have now joined the 80s Classical family and if the first instalment is anything to go by, next year’s show promises to be another epic night not to be missed!”

Steve Anderson adds: “It is the most incredible honour to work with such iconic singers who have been pivotal in the soundtracks of so many people’s lives, and to be able to add an epic orchestral score on top of the richness and beauty of the existing electronic elements, which everyone loves. Our latest collaboration with the mighty Orchestra of Opera North is set to be another magical night full of joy, drama and simply the best music in the world.”

Phil Boughton, Director of Orchestra and Chorus, Opera North, comments:

“Building on the success of our previous Millennium Square events, last year’s 80s Classical reached new heights. The atmosphere created by over 4,500 people – not to mention the talent and charisma of the pop icons who took the stage with us  –  made it one of the highlights of our year.

“We are thrilled to be doing it all again next year, and welcoming another legend, Belinda Carlisle. Our ongoing relationship with the show’s producers and Leeds City Council gives Opera North the chance to showcase the incredible versatility of the Orchestra in the amazing venue that is Millennium Square, right in the heart of our home city.”

Tickets for the event go on sale at 10am on Friday 6 December and are priced at £33 (standing) or £39.50 for reserved seating (limited number). Tickets will be available to purchase online at www.millsqleeds.com, by telephone (0113 376 0318) or in person from the City Centre Box Office in Leeds Town Hall. Tickets will also be available from Opera North.

Doors for the event on Friday 24 July 2020 will open from 6.30pm with DJs from 6.45pm and the main performances from 8.15pm. A number of street food catering concessions together with a fully licenced multi-pour festival style bar will be available within the specially created outdoor arena. The venue is also fully accessible with a raised viewing platform, disabled toilets and a Changing Places high dependency unit. Full accessibility information and companion ticket details are available from the venue website or by calling the City Centre Box office.

80s Classical is part of a trio of special outdoor summer classical concerts organised in partnership between Leeds City Council and Opera North, and forming one of the key cultural highlights of the annual Millennium Summer Series programme. Further concert details are to be announced early in the New Year.

For further event programme and venue details ticketing, venue and visitor information visit www.millsqleeds.com