Bedfordshire Youth Opera (BYO) has been running successfully and nurturing talent since 1981, providing one of very few opportunities in the UK for young people aged 14-26 to experience opera. Originally it was funded by the local authority until they withdrew support in 2010, and since then has been managed by The Bedfordshire Music Trust which receives no government funding. Each year a group of young singers and orchestral players work with a professional team over the summer, culminating in five fully staged performances. Productions involve 40-50 singers and orchestral players, a small team of professionals and a large team of volunteers. It is a life-changing experience and now attracts students from both the local area and all over the country. Past performances have included The Magic Flute, Die Fledermaus, Carmen, The Pirates of Penzance, Candide and The Tales of Hoffman to name but a few.
BYO has been an inspiration to singers and audiences alike. It has been the launchpad for the careers of many professional musicians and internationally acclaimed artists. These include Rachel Nicholls, Carolyn Sampson, Simon Bailey, Tyler Clark, Kitty Whately, Donna Lennard, Andrea Tweedale and Rebecca Bottone. We are always indebted to those who come back to coach the present students, generously giving their time for free. Many past members have also gone on to become professional producers and directors, using the skills they developed here to nurture other young talents.
This project provides an excellent platform for young people to develop new skills and an appreciation of music and opera that will be especially important for those planning to further their careers in the arts.
If you have any queries or would like to be kept up to date with news relating to this course, please drop us an email – we will respond to you as soon as we can, and add you to our general mailing list.
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