WNO Youth Opera groups unite digitally

25 September 2020

While we’ve been locked down and staying safe for the past few months, Welsh National Opera has been aiming to keep as busy as possible, with digital performances from home, behind the scenes insights and family activities. We have also been keeping in touch with groups of people that we usually work with in person, and that includes WNO Youth Opera. Currently there are three Youth Opera groups, based in South Wales, North Wales and Birmingham, and we have used the current situation as an opportunity to bring those groups together (virtually) for the first time ever.

The 82 young people, aged between 6 – 18 years, are uniting in a performance of I Shall Not Live In Vain, which is taken from the Emily Dickinson poem ‘If I Can Stop One Heart From Breaking’. The underlying message of the song is helping others who may need your support, which is particularly poignant at the moment. When the South Wales Youth Opera group performed the piece in 2016, the audience was incredibly moved.

The participants started rehearsing at the start of August in their three groups, from their own homes using Zoom, with their regional Youth Opera leaders Dan Perkin and Sian Cameron (South Wales), Jenny Pearson (North Wales) and Suzie Purkis and Abigail Kelly (Birmingham). All of the young singers recorded their own video and audio which was then sent to our fellow Wales Millennium Centre residents, Tŷ Cerdd, who produced the final video.

Youth Opera Producer, Paula Scott, tells us ‘The aim of this project was to offer all Youth Opera participants the opportunity to be part of a new creative learning experience. The participants had an opportunity to meet up and sing (virtually) alongside their friends on a regular basis once again, while working together on a really special project where all members can not only perform together for the first time ever but also be showcased performing on video. They have all worked extremely hard, with the help and support of their families, learning new digital skills and adapting to a new way of learning and recording music/performing from home, which is not easy to achieve.. They should all be extremely proud of what they have achieved through this challenging time.’

WNO Youth Opera autumn term commences in September, with weekly zoom workshop sessions across all 3 regional groups, and the hope that rehearsals will commence in January 2021.

WNO’s Youth, Community and Digital activity is supported by a generous gift from