19 October 2015 at 5.18pm | 2 Comments
This month, The Royal Opera’s youngest group of singers will take to the stage in Bizet's opera Carmen.
These talented nine-to-13-year-olds are part of the Youth Opera Company and in the upcoming run will sing alongside some of opera's biggest stars, including Bryan Hymel, Jonas Kaufmann and Sonya Yoncheva.
The Youth Opera Company was established in 2010 and currently has over fifty members from across London and the South East of England. Every child in the Company is chosen for their passion and potential to sing and act, and they learn all of their roles without needing to read music.
‘I wanted to join the Youth Opera Company because I thought it would be a great opportunity to take part in something I really enjoyed and also to make friends and meet new people,’ says Freya, one of the young singers involved.
The Company meets every two weeks at the Royal Opera House for a full day of workshops and rehearsals. They work towards one dedicated major performance each Season as part of our Learning and Participation programme, and have the opportunity to audition for main-stage productions with The Royal Opera. The Youth Opera Company holds annual auditions by invitation only, through schools already part of the ROH's ongoing Learning and Participation programme.
Just like the ROH's adult chorus members, the young singers have attended several weeks of studio and stage rehearsals, before embarking on the run of 13 performances.
‘When you’re singing with the Royal Opera House Chorus it makes you want to achieve more because they have such great voices,’ says another young singer, Blaize. ‘It makes you want to do your best when you’re with them. We aspire to sing like them one day.’
Over the last few weeks, the Children's Chorus have been working with the conductor on the music, the director on staging, and language coaches in order to master singing in French lyrics; and they have done all this while keeping on top of their school work.
‘Our coaches teach us quite complex stuff but they teach it in a way that is kid-friendly and fun,’ says Oscar. ‘At first I found learning the French language hard for Carmen because although I’ve done it at school it’s nothing like this. I’m getting used to it now though and through muscle memory, it’s becoming easier.’
Carmen runs 19 Oct-30 Nov 2015. Tickets are still available.
Youth Opera Company is generously supported by Bjarne and Yvonne Rieber.