21 May 7pm & 22 May 3pm, Linbury Studio Theatre

The Royal Opera House’s Youth Opera Company will sing in public for the first time on Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 May at the Royal Opera House. They will perform a specially commissioned new work called Beginners by composer Richard Taylor and librettist Jane Buckler and a newly devised piece that takes you on a dramatic journey through a variety of opera choruses written for young voices. Drowning in Imagination is created by Karen Gillingham and Suzi Zumpe, and arranged by Richard Taylor.

The Youth Opera Company was formed in September 2010 and currently has 39 members aged 9-12 years old, drawn from across London and the South-East. They were selected from an initial group of more than 400 school children through an extensive series of participatory workshops. The Company has been led by co-artistic directors David Stevenson and Karen Gillingham and vocal director Suzi Zumpe, and their performance will be conducted by Steven Moore, a former member of the Royal Opera House’s Jette Parker Young Artists Programme.

This is the first time that the Royal Opera House has had a Youth Opera Company and the aim is to offer young people from a wide variety of backgrounds, who possess untapped potential, the opportunity to discover and develop their talent. The Company is currently rehearsing almost every Saturday and there is a plan for them to perform on the main stage as a children’s chorus in an opera next Season.

Paul Reeve, Director of Education at the Royal Opera House, said:

“All our artists here strive to be the best they can be and that’s what the Youth Opera Company’s about: giving young people the opportunity and support to realise their potential. At every session with them we’re all inspired by their commitment, talent and creativity.”

Yvonne and Bjarne Rieber, supporters of the Youth Opera Company, said:

“As governments around the world cut music and arts education it’s important that children are given a chance to participate. This is why we felt it was so important to support the Youth Opera Company. Through this project we hope that the young people will discover the joys of theatre and music, and become more aware of the wide range of jobs offered in the arts industry. We have visited the workshops on a number of occasions and it is amazing to see how they have developed so well.”


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