South Yorkshire students bring opera into modern age

Young Opera Venture teaching students from Barnsley College at The Civic Theatre in Barnsley.
Young Opera Venture teaching students from Barnsley College at The Civic Theatre in Barnsley.
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HITTING the high and low notes were a group of South Yorkshire students.

Young people studying music at Barnsley College swapped microphones and instruments for songsheets for a masterclass in the art of opera.

Young opera Venture teaching students from Barnsley College at The Civic Theatre in Barnsley

Young opera Venture teaching students from Barnsley College at The Civic Theatre in Barnsley

The grand surroundings of the Barnsley Civic Theatre provided the backdrop for the workshop, conducted by seasoned professional Jane Anthony.

Leeds-based Jane founded the not-for-profit organisation Young Opera Venture, which nurtures the next generations of stars and builds new audiences.

It was stomachs in, chests out as company members showed the students what it takes to make a good soprano or tenor.

Jane said: “I think they really enjoyed it and they a good go at singing a couple of arias. Young people can be so open to trying new stuff.

“These students really let themselves go and I hope it’s given them some new thoughts and ideas of the range of music that’s out there.”

Young Opera Venture made the stop-off as part of a Yorkshire-wide tour.

Company members take opera to places that rarely get to see it.

The aim is to introduce the artform to the younger generations, in a bid to keep the appetite for opera alive.

Young Opera Venture also works with colleges to give help to graduates often struggle to develop sustainable careers in classical music.

Student Hannah Coles, aged 17, of Rawmarsh, Rotherham said: “I have never done opera before.

“It was full-on but really good.

“I was a bit under pressure and a bit nervous.

“When I watched the professionals, I liked how they acted and their diction was amazing.”

Classmate Danny Smart, 16, of Hoyland, Barnsley, said: “It was a really great new experience.

“It’s important to look at different kinds of music and drama.

“I’ll definitely go and watch one in the future.”

Joe Boswell, 17, of Worsbrough Dale, Barnsley said: “It’s enlightening stuff – like vocal gymnastics.”