Welcome to Opera Holloway, a registered charity originally setup in 2009 in order to give young artists the opportunity to perform in opera at the early stages of their careers, and to present accessible performances to the public, particularly new audiences.
The last few years have seen the company perform in a variety of venues from barns in Sussex to pubs in Wales. Our educational workshops have taken place in village halls and schools giving children a flavour of what it’s like to stand on stage and be part of an opera. We’re proud to have not only a number of four and five star reviews for our performances, but to have received a number of awards for our work off the stage.
We passionately believe in giving opportunities to musicians in the early stages of their careers. We’re privileged to not only have our stage filled with talented young singers, but in ‘the pit’ too. The ensembles that have accompanied our performances are also been comprised of accomplished players looking to gain more experience in the world of opera.
Each year we aim to bring opera to people who have never seen one before. Sometimes this means performing in venues closer to people’s everyday lives, from a pub in Wales to a riding school in Sussex. By making the productions as accessible as possible, often in English and with a pre-performance talk, it’s great to see so many families in our audiences too.
From the children’s workshops to our joint collaboration with Opera Prelude this year, education is proving just as powerful as performance in getting new audiences interested in opera. In 2013 we raised enough funds to provide bursaries for some children to participate in a 5 day opera workshop that culminated in them performing alongside our main cast in Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel on the London stage. Here’s what one of them had to say:
“Working on Hansel and Gretel was one of the most enjoyable experiences I’ve had so far. It was wonderful to listen to so many beautiful and magical voices, especially as it was something I’d never thought of in such a way before. At first I was nervous and apprehensive about going, but as soon as we’d finished our first hour with the team I was really comfortable being around everyone. The lessons were great and we played lots of games to keep us refreshed and awake, when it got to the end of the day I really didn’t want to go home. I didn’t expect to meet such awesome people there either. I made unexpected friends and learnt new skills and lessons that will help me in the future.”
Olu – Gingerbread Project Participant 2013
Providing a vocally safe environment for singers to rehearse and perform in is key to our work. Sometimes operatic roles demand huge amounts of stamina. An over-intensive rehearsal schedule, or too many consecutive performances can put a singer out of action.
The quality of the performance is paramount to everything we do, and combining these highest musical standards we set ourselves with real on-stage drama takes time, commitment and a love of the genre from all involved.