IT IS visits like the one made by Young Opera Venture to Barnsley in March this year which has helped the fledgling arts company pick up a major industry gong in recognition of its work in taking opera to areas that rarely see it performed live.
Young Opera Venture, the brainchild of Leeds singing teacher Jane Anthony, has been given a major grant by the Opera Awards Foundation at a glittering presentation ceremony at London’s Athenaeum Club in Pall Mall. The Foundation’s Patrons are Spanish tenor Placido Domingo and Italian soprano Mirella Freni.
The award recognises the work done by Young Opera Venture which, in its first 18 months, has undertaken a series of Opera Appetizer concerts across the North of England and the East Midlands and recently completed a first tour of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro.
The not-for-profit company employs singers and musicians in its orchestra who are primarily in their twenties. The idea is to give work to young classical performers fresh out of college as they seek to carve out a career and gain experience.
The grant award will go towards supporting the company’s production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute which will open at Barnsley Civic Theatre before moving onto Consett, Leeds, Wakefield, Middlesbrough, Stamford, Tameside andHuddersfield.
Artistic Director Jane Anthony said: “The Opera Awards Foundation is funded by the International Opera Awards which is the ‘Oscars ceremony’ of the industry and we’re honoured that the work we are doing has been recognised.”
In the past six months the company has performed in places such as Middlesbrough, Barnsley, Wakefield, Doncaster and Stamford in Lincolnshire.
In Huddersfield, it played to a full house of 350 but it was a different story in Bishop Auckland, County Durham where only 15 people turned up. Even so, the show went ahead.
“It’s important that we try and keep opera alive in the provinces,” said Jane. We believe that, in time, we can build audiences in some of these places that haven’t seen live performances of the art form in a generation.”
A spokesman for the Opera Awards Foundation said: “One of the reasons the panel of judges was impressed by Young Opera Venture was because it benefited a lot of people – not just singers and musicians but also audiences.”
“The judges were very impressed by the work being done by Young Opera Venture to show to a wider audience that opera is not stuffy but fun and emotional.”
For more information about Young Opera Venture go to www.yov.org.uk or see the promotional film at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1H73ymU0RKg&feature=youtube