BYO 40th Anniversary Gala Concerts – August 2021

1 September 2021.

We were very excited that after 18 months with very little or no live music taking place anywhere, the BYO 2021 Course was able to take place in Summer 2021. It was a truly wonderful experience for everyone, and despite being tricky to manage safely with Covid lurking in the background, the whole Project 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, which was a magical venue for this.

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 – they tell us BYO gave them so much in their early years that they love to give back into something that is so precious and changes lives.

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 – 34 items in total. These included 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 singing 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 who had great fun. The whole Act and following applause was a sight and sound to behold.

You can see a copy of the Programme here

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