Bananarama, Johnny Hates Jazz, Midge Ure, and the voice of Five Star, Denise Pearson, have been revealed as special guest artists for the fifth edition of 80s Classical in Millennium Square, Leeds. This event is part of next year’s Summer Series and is scheduled for Saturday, 20th July 2024.

The 80s icons will collaborate with Leeds’s own Orchestra of Opera North to revisit the musically significant decade, elevating their chart-topping hits with the enhanced power of the 50-piece orchestra.

Debuting in Leeds in 2019, 80s Classical brought together pop legends and the symphonic prowess of Opera North’s musicians. The 2024 edition welcomes Bananarama, one of the most influential female groups in music history, to the Millennium Square stage.

Celebrating over four decades of an illustrious career and recently marking their 40th anniversary, the legendary British duo, comprising Sara Dallin and Keren Woodward, has garnered unparalleled global acclaim. With four US Billboard Top 10 hits, including the No. 1 “Venus,” they have released 12 studio albums and sold over 30 million records.

“We are thrilled to be part of such a unique and exciting concert, a fitting continuation of our 40th-anniversary celebrations,” says Sara. Keren adds, “Leeds is a vibrant city to visit and perform in, and we can’t wait to take the stage in the iconic Millennium Square with such a talented array of musicians on what will be a truly magical occasion for everyone.”

Johnny Hates Jazz, icons of sophisti-pop – singer and keyboardist Clark Datchler and multi-instrumentalist and producer Mike Nocito – will make their third appearance after performing in 2019 and 2022. They will revisit hit records including “Shattered Dreams” and “I Don’t Wanna Be A Hero.”

A new addition to the 80s Classical family is Ivor-Novello and Grammy-award winner Midge Ure. The Scottish musician and singer-songwriter, known for his roles in Slik, The Rich Kids, Ultravox, and Band Aid, will join the lineup to perform orchestrated versions of iconic songs, including “Vienna” and “If I Was.”

Denise Pearson, the official voice of British pop group Five Star, will return to the bill after captivating the crowds in 2022 with timeless hits like “System Addict” and “Rain or Shine.”

The 80s Classical ensemble of backing vocalists, Bianca Claxton, Nathan James, and Adetoun Anibi, will return to perform crowd-pleasing favorites including Bonnie Tyler’s ‘Holding Out for a Hero’ and The Jackson’s ‘Can You Feel It.’

Organised by Leeds City Council in partnership with Opera North, the creative team behind 80s Classical includes renowned composer, arranger, and conductor Cliff Masterson, and Musical Director Steve Anderson.

Steve, who has recently been in Las Vegas producing the first ever residency show for Kylie Minogue said:, “We’re absolutely delighted to be able to welcome Bananarama and Midge Ure into the 80s Classical family and we can’t wait for everyone to see them perform for the first time alongside the magnificent Orchestra of Opera North”.

Cliff adds “Everyone knows the iconic songs of such a generation defining era and we are so thrilled and grateful to be trusted with the responsibility of re-imaging such cherished songs. With two brand-new artists performing this year alongside the return of Johnny Hates Jazz and Deniece Pearson, this is set to be yet another epic night of drama and excitement in Leeds not to be missed”.

Phil Boughton, director of orchestra and chorus, Opera North, said: “The fifth year of 80s Classical is shaping up to be an absolute classic building on the success of the previous years. We have built a reputation for the Orchestra of Opera North performing alongside iconic pop acts and so I am thrilled Bananarama and Midge Ure are joining the list of legends to have been part of this joyous night in Leeds. We are delighted to continue our partnership with Leeds City Council and to showcase the range of musical talent as part of the brilliant Summer Series in the heart of our city.”

Councillor Jonathan Pryor, Leeds City Council’s executive member for economy, culture and education said: “We’re thrilled to announce that visitors will be able to experience the unique talents of the Orchestra of Opera North at the heart of the city as they enjoy to some classic 80s hits.

“It’s always exciting to welcome people to Millennium Square to watch musical performances from an eclectic programme of talented artists as part of our annual Summer Series. These performances are always one of the highlights of what is a vibrant calendar of events in Leeds, and I’m sure next summer will be no different.”

Tickets for 80s Classical go on sale from 10 am on Friday, 17th November, via millsqleeds.com (0113 376 0318) and operanorth.co.uk (0113 223 3600). Standing tickets are priced at £36.85, with a limited amount of reserved seating available at £45.65. A VIP/express bar upgrade is available for an additional £11.00.

The event on Saturday, 20th July 2024, set in a specially created outdoor arena on Millennium Square, will open from 6.30 pm, with DJs from 6.45 pm, and the main performances starting from 8.15 pm. A licensed bar and several street food catering concessions will be available on-site, and the venue is fully accessible with a raised viewing platform, disabled toilets, and a Changing Places unit.

Further special guest feature artist announcements will take place over the coming days. For full event, venue ticketing, visitor, and accessibility information visit www.millsqleeds.com.