We’ve only just found out about Young Opera Venture – a not-for-profit opera company in Leeds – but it seems to be something very much up the Two Moors Festival’s street.
Designed to take first-rate productions to venues that have very little access to this art form and give would-be opera stars their first taste of the profession, the organisation was set up a few years ago by John Longstaff and Jane Anthony, previously conductor and director of opera performance at Leeds College of Music, who put on very successful productions each year in a small venue and with an even smaller budget.
Performances of the company (which counts Dame Felicity Lott as its patron) have thus far included The Marriage of Figaro in Barnsley, Huddersfield and Middlesborough, while future plans include a short pop-up opera, education projects and a new full-length production.
“The enthusiasm from theatre managers and local authority arts programmers for what we are trying to do – bringing opera to audiences who have previously had little access – has been quite inspirational. There is a clear recognition of the value of this enterprise and a willingness to support it. Likewise the enthusiasm of young performers has been a delight!” Jane Anthony said.
You all know how keen we are here at the festival to support young and emerging talent, and make sure that classical music reaches far-flung corners of the UK, so finding out about others with the same aim always brings a smile to our faces. We’ll be keeping an eye on Young Opera Venture, that’s for sure!
- The opera companies that charge young singers to audition (artsjournal.com)
- The Endurance Test of Opera Performance (wqxr.org)