Steel city opera looks to the future as new – and youthful – voices are raised

Despina: Emma Magenty
Despina: Emma Magenty
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THE stock market may be in meltdown and the streets of the capital reduced to ashes by match-wielding looters but there’s always opera.

And next Thursday marks the first performance of Sheffield’s newest company.

Director: Gavin Magenty

Director: Gavin Magenty

Steel Opera comprises young professional singers who felt that it was time to bring more opera to the region and “into the 21st century”.

They aim to reflect their youthfulness via their choice of inaugural production, namely Mozart’s highly comic opera Cosi Fan Tutte, to be performed at the Library Theatre on Thursday and Friday.

An amusing piece about a wager that threatens the relationship of two couples, their version will be set in modern day America and sung in English.

According to acclaimed director Gavin Magenty it is intended to seem like a ‘sitcom’. Steel Opera will be accompanied by piano and string quartet.

“Steel Opera is newly formed and is Sheffield’s only professional opera company,” says Emma Magenty, who will play Despina at the Tudor Square venue.

“The company began as a group of young professional musicians living in Sheffield. Most members met and became friends while studying music at the University of Sheffield.”

Sheffield-born musical director Gavin Usher professionally conducts various orchestras and societies around the city while pianist Ewan Gilford, originally from Dore, now studies at the Royal Northern College of Music and has recently been working with Opera North.

“Steel Opera’s main aim is to make opera more accessible to the audiences of today,” says Emma. “We have chosen a comic opera to perform and Gavin Magenty is making it more relevant to modern audiences by setting it in the style of an American sitcom.” 

Performances will begin at 7.30pm. Tickets, priced £9 (£8 concessions) available from 0114 2694958.