Join OperaUpClose and a movement of our supporters across the globe, to bring high quality music to everyone in the UK. 67% of people in the UK give to charity; we’re asking you to join them and support this campaign.
You and all of us at OperaUpClose know that that opera is life affirming and can even be life changing. Out-dated stereotypes (horned helmets anyone?) and its cost mean that the vast majority of people in our society don’t ever experience live opera.
They miss out on that shared experience of being in an audience; they don’t get that hairs-on-the-back-of-your-neck thrill a human being can generate using just their unamplified voice; they don’t feel the rollercoaster of emotions that these great, musical stories convey. Millions of children don’t experience the huge brain developmental leaps made by engaging in classical music (https://www.brighthorizons.com/family-resources/e-family-news/2010-music-and-children-rhythm-meets-child-development), and so don’t see the significant academic effects, the positive behavioural impacts, and greater ability to empathise.
The UK is facing great socio, economic and political challenges, the government is having to make more cuts to social welfare and people are become increasing parochial, inward looking and drawn to more extremist politics. Has it ever been more urgent to bring communities together, to expand horizons and to enable greater empathy for experiences that aren’t our own? This is what our work does.
Our English language opera productions relate specifically to the world in which we live today, showing that these centuries-old stories of human frailty and human greatness still have much to say about how we live and relate to each other. We invite young people into our rehearsals to contribute to the development of our productions, ensuring that our work speaks to the concerns of the next generation of opera-goers. Sometimes we produce radical new versions which challenge the racism or sexism which mars great artistic works of earlier eras, sometimes we simply tell the stories as simply and directly as we can. Always we aim to entertain, challenge and delight.
We take these productions to areas not served by other companies, where the communities would otherwise have no access to live opera. We don’t work in country houses or private gardens, but local, often community-run arts centres, and bring workshops to local schools to make sure that children have free to access music engagement.
We are not regularly funded by the government to do this work. We are only able to continue thanks to the support of a few Trusts and the generosity of our individual supporters. This year we need to secure over £100,000 in donations from people like you and through this campaign we’re hoping to raise £20,000 of that. If you believe in the arts, if you’ve been moved by opera and want someone else to be moved too, if you believe in OperaUpClose’s ability to bring communities together with the shared experience of music, please support this campaign.
With your support, in 2018 OperaUpClose will develop three programmes of work:
We will create two new productions, Donizetti’s Maria Stuarda, in a new English version and orchestration, and Menotti’s Amahl and the Night Visitors for a family and schools’ audience. These productions will open in London and tour the UK in 2018. We will also tour our 2017 new productions, The Magic Flute and Eugene Onegin, throughout the UK, and La Bohème across Denmark. We plan to develop a newly composed opera and to run Flourish, our new commission competition.
Learning and Participation
Amahl and the Night Visitors: The original Amahl walks with a crutch, and is miraculously cured of his disability. We will re-imagine this story so that rather than being ‘cured’ it is Amahl’s attitude towards his disability, and that of those around him, which changes. The production will be developed with creative input from children with disabilities, and will star four young performers (boys and girls) with disabilities, sharing the role of Amahl. The casting will reflect the diversity of our society, and it will be a multi-faith (or none) celebration of kindness and resilience for families and schools with children aged 7-11 to enjoy.
Free tickets and workshops for young people: We are committed to tackling opera’s exclusive reputation by enabling young people from all backgrounds to access and develop their understanding of opera. We will provide free tickets and workshops for a diverse group of young people, including those from disadvantaged backgrounds to our upcoming productions, and create and deliver free to access workshops for young audiences and schools. We will offer young people the opportunity to work with the director, writer, composer and performers of our new production of Maria Stuarda (or, Mary Queen of Scots) on the development of this new English version for contemporary Britain.
Trainee producer and director programmes: We will offer four young opera directors and producers paid training programmes to address a cycle of economic discrimination in the arts leading to a lack of diversity in arts professionals. We actively encourage under-represented groups, those who have not considered a career in the arts or those who have been discouraged by unpaid internships to apply.
We will develop a digital performance capture and live screening programme to bring opera to unconventional venues and new audiences. Target venues include schools, care homes, doctors’ waiting rooms, hospitals, office receptions, community centres and pubs. We will create a platform for our audiences to watch our productions at home, engaging with previously inaccessible audiences. We will create serialised opera performance podcasts, allowing our audiences to listen to our work on the go.
We urge you to get behind our movement.