Photograph © Tom Arber

This winter, White Cloth Gallery in Leeds hosts Behind the Curtain, an exhibition of new photography exposing the hidden world behind-the-scenes at one of the UK’s major opera companies.

Yorkshire-based photographer Tom Arber spent a week in residence with Opera North in September 2014, as the company prepared for a new production of Verdi’s La traviata.

Granted full backstage access for the project, Tom’s images lovingly detail the final stage rehearsals in the run up to opening night, giving a glimpse of rarely seen moments on and off stage, in dressing rooms and backstage corridors, from principal opera singers to costume dressers and stage technicians.

Tom Arber has been working in photography since starting out taking shots of bands while running a recording studio in Leeds. Originally from Norwich, he has been based in West Yorkshire for over ten years. A self-taught photographer, he specializes in observational photography and has recently worked with a wide range of clients including Opera North, the Howard Assembly Room, English Heritage and Hepworth Wakefield.

Opening on Wednesday 26 November, Behind the Curtain is exhibited at White Cloth Gallery until 1 February 2015.

Tom Arber, photographer, comments: "This project has been a fantastic challenge and experience - spending a week with Opera North in stage rehearsals and backstage was just phenomenal. Apart from how much I was able to shoot, just spending so much time capturing the power of the performances and seeing the show come together on stage was truly amazing.

“So many people are involved behind-the-scenes and such a vast amount of hard work goes into creating the show that the audience sees. I think the images I was able to capture show these vastly different worlds - the glamour and excitement of live opera on stage and also the intricate workings behind the curtain in such a dynamic company."

Dominic Gray, Projects Director, Opera North, comments: "We are thrilled to have been able to work so closely with Tom on this project and to be creating an exhibition of his photography at White Cloth Gallery. Tom has captured some remarkable images of Opera North on- and off-stage, which for me go right to the heart of what this company is all about – the depth and vibrancy of the creative energy which puts performances on stage night after night. These images depict more of the backstage life of Opera North than has been seen publicly before.”

More photographs here ...

Behind the Curtain
An exhibition by Tom Arber and Opera North
Wed 26 November 2014 – Sun 1 February 2015
White Cloth Gallery
24-26 Aire Street, Leeds, LS1 4HT
Opening hours: Mon-Tues: 12-9pm, Wed-Sat: 12-11pm
Free entrance