Local primary school children in Blackheath Halls summer community opera


Children from two primary schools in Greenwich and Lewisham begin rehearsals in June for the summer’s production of Mozart’s Idomeneo at Blackheath Halls as part of the venue’s active community engagement programme.

It will be the first time that pupils from Mulgrave Primary School, Woolwich and Beecroft Garden Primary School, Brockley have participated in this annual project which aims to introduce audiences of all ages to opera. They will join students from Greenvale School, Lewisham and Charlton Park Academy, two schools who have both been involved with the community opera scheme in previous years. Rehearsals begin on Monday 1 June and the chorus of local children and adults will join vocal students from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance to work with a cast of professional soloists and directors. Performances take place on 14, 15, 17 and 19July in the Great Hall at Blackheath Halls.

This fully-staged production of Idomeneo, one of Mozart’s best-loved operas, includes a cast of over 200 local residents rehearsing and performing alongside professional soloists including Mark Wilde in the title role, Sam Furness as Idamante and Rebecca Bottone is Ilia.

It is the ninth year that Blackheath Halls Opera has embarked upon such an ambitious and inclusive scheme which offers people of all ages, from across the Royal Borough of Greenwich and London Borough of Lewisham, a unique opportunity to take part in high-quality, live music making.  This year’s production isdirected by James Hurley and Musical Director Nicholas Jenkins.

On the opening night of Idomeneo, students from Plumstead Manor and Bonus Pastor Catholic College, Bromley perform their response to Mozart’s Idomeneo in the culmination of a five week composition project run by Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. Under the guidance of Creative Director Joe Townsend and Trinity Laban students, musicians from both schools will perform a new piece which they have created, inspired by the musical and narrative themes within the opera.

Tenor Nicholas Sharratt, who last year performed at Blackheath Halls Opera said: “Community opera doesn’t get better than this.”

Conductor Edward Gardner, patron of Blackheath Halls Opera says: “Standards are high at Blackheath Halls Opera which makes opera truly accessible for participants of all ages in the local community and beyond.  Such projects offer rare opportunities for people to join in with music-making on a large scale and, we hope, help nurture a lifetime’s passion for music in all taking part.”

To book online: www.trinitylaban.ac.uk/blackheath-halls

Picture - 2014 community opera rehearsals of Count D'Ory. Picture credit - Lucia Hrda