Making music with Birmingham Opera Company
Young people living at our supported housing project The Foyer got the chance to work with professional singers in an innovative workshop aimed at introducing opera to local communities.
Residents undertook breathing and singing exercises and performed in Birmingham Opera Company’s latest production, Wake. For most of them - as well as their appreciative audience - it was their first experience of opera.
Participant Gemma said: “It is something different. Once I got into it, I found it really entertaining. I think I am going to get involved. I come from a family of people who wished they got the chance to be in a musical.”
Another resident, Allen, was among the audience and added: “I have never seen anyone sing like that live. It had a good vibe; I would be interested in seeing it on the big stage.”
One of our support workers Nabeel Tariq joined in the harmonies and enthused: “It was the first time I have done anything like this. It was very powerful and a good way of expressing yourself.”
The Birmingham Opera Company has had a strong community engagement role for more than 20 years and regularly runs sessions in community groups with the aim of making opera accessible to as many people as possible.
Company singer Lizzy Craig explained: “We do outreach work to all kinds of community groups. Opera is a great way to meet people as it’s a real bonding experience.”
The Foyer offers up to 80 16-25 years olds a range of housing-related services to enable them to move towards independent living.
Michelle Rafferty, Team Leader at The Foyer, volunteers with the opera company and said: “We like to bring something different in for our customers to experience. Not many of them will have come across opera before, so even if they just overheard it that’s really good.
“We always want something happening at The Foyer to keep people energised.”
See Birmingham Opera Company for more information about its work and its new production Wake which gets its world premiere on March 14.