Like many performing arts organisations we were stopped from running the course in 2020 due to the Covid pandemic but after 18 months with very little or no live music taking place anywhere, the BYO course was able to take place in summer 2021 and it was a fabulous success!
Since it was BYO’s 40th anniversary, together with uncertainties of Covid, as an alternative to the usual single opera production with 5 performances, we chose to rehearse and perform four celebration gala concerts at St. Andrew’s Church in Bedford in late August. This was a magical venue for this event and the-concerts were fully staged and costumed, showcasing the amazing talent that BYO students have to offer.
Our students were privileged once again to receive invaluable voice coaching from Rachel Nichols, Kitty Whately and Julia Fraser who generously gave their time free of charge. The concerts were fully staged and costumed, showcasing the amazing talent that BYO students have to offer. We featured numbers from all the operas which have been performed over the last 40 years, including guest appearances from world-renowned alumni Rachel Nichols, Carolyn Sampson and Donna Lennard.
The programme was hugely varied with pieces ranging from operas by Purcell, Handel and Mozart, to Offenbach, Bizet, Gilbert & Sullivan and Kurt Weil right through to the more modern Britten, Bernstein and Sondheim. The students also dazzled the audiences with a circus act from The Bartered Bride by Smetana, complete with a band of instruments played by students and adults.
Take a look through our gala programme to find out more about the history of Bedfordshire Youth Opera, our singers, our team and our alumni.