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Youth Opera Company

The Watchers in the Wings

Our first digital opera made by young people for young people

The Royal Opera House’s Youth Opera Company is proud to present a newly commissioned four-minute opera by successful children’s author Steven Butler and award-winning composer John Barber.

Starring 47 children aged between nine and 13 years old, performing alongside British Tenor Paul Curievici, this opera, filmed on location at the Royal Opera House, tells the story of a group of schoolchildren who find themselves whisked away on an adventure through the building, with a little help from a mysterious and enigmatic Tour Guide.

This commission aims to reach the hearts of a younger audiences and showcase the versatility of the art form through a vibrant, lively performance on a digital platform.

More about the Youth Opera Company:

The Royal Opera House’s Youth Opera Company is a 50-strong group of diverse, talented children aged nine-to-13-years-old. Members come from across Greater London and from a wide variety of backgrounds. What they have in common is real potential as singers and actors; potential that they discover and develop through being part of the Company. They generally meet once a fortnight, at the Royal Opera House, for a full day of workshops and rehearsals.

How did it start?

Youth Opera Company was established in 2010, following an extensive series of workshops involving over 400 children; they had discovered a passion for singing through school projects run by the Royal Opera House and other organizations with a commitment to learning and participation. The aim was – and remains – to keep our recruitment base as broad as possible and to give opportunities to everyone, irrespective of whether they have previous experience of opera or not.

Who can join the Company?

We hold annual auditions for the Youth Opera Company, which are by invitation only. We invite children to audition through Music Hubs and key partner organizations. This enables us to work with children with outstanding potential who have established an interest in singing through existing projects, but who do not necessarily have access to ongoing provision at an advanced level.

Please do not send speculative applications as we are unable to consider them.

What does the Company perform?

The Youth Opera Company works on at least one major performance project of its own each season.  In addition to this, some members of the Youth Opera Company also take part in productions with The Royal Opera.

We recently asked a few members of the Company to tell us about their experiences.

“I really enjoyed working on the film Watchers in the Wings as it was so different to anything I have done before. During most scenes we had to repeat things many times, whereas on stage you only get one chance to get it right.”
Emily, aged 11 (Current YOC Member)

“When you’re singing with the Royal Opera House Chorus it makes you want to achieve more because they have such great voices,’. ‘It makes you want to do your best when you’re with them. We aspire to sing like them one day.”
Blaize, aged 14 (YOC Graduate 2015)

Create and Sing Carmen

Create and Sing Carmen will be launching nationally in 2017. Find out more.

If you have any queries about the Youth Opera Company, contact us at
Please note that auditions for the Youth Opera Company are by invitation only.

Youth Opera Company is generously supported by Bjarne and Yvonne Rieber