Opera for Children performed by Children
Since launching the Blackheath Halls Children's Opera project in 2013 we have presented 5 fully and professionally staged operas involving many 100s of local children. In 2017 we commissioned a brand new opera, Paws and Padlocks, from composer Kate Whitley.
The aim of the project is to give children from all backgrounds the opportunity to participate in an opera. They are led by a fully professional team and get to perform alongside professional opera singers and musicians. Each production has been presented four times to a wide and varied family audience. Children performing are from a broad range of schools in the local area and the company also benefits from the involvement of students from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music & Dance.
The Children's Opera has been supported over the years by local philanthropists, Trusts and Foundations, in particular The Hearn Foundation as well as Arts Council England, making these amazing productions possible for the community.
“I loved the bringing together of professionals and amateurs: adults and children: seasoned regulars and novices...I feel privileged that my daughter was a part of it.”
2018 Production: Noye's Fludde | A co-production with The Multi-Story Orchestra
Are you aged 8-16 and love singing and acting or play an instrument? Then this project is for you!
Come and take part in Benjamin Britten’s Noye’s Fludde (Noah’s Flood), the most famous opera written for community performance!
It tells the story of Noah’s family who build an ark big enough to rescue themselves and one pair of every animal on Earth, to escape an apocalyptic flood.
Come and join the children’s chorus, playing the part of all the animals rescued on the ark. Or if you play a string instrument, trumpet, recorder or percussion you can join our orchestra. You don’t need to audition to take part you just need to be enthusiastic and love performing!
You’ll get to work closely with our professional creative team including director Harry Fehr and musical director Christopher Stark and you’ll get to perform alongside renowned opera singers, professional musicians and Trinity Laban students.
Rehearsals: from Saturday 10 March leading to an intensive rehearsal period during the Easter holidays from the evening of Thursday 29 March.
We are also looking for up to 15 adults to perform alongside the children in the chorus and in the orchestra and 8 adult chaperones to sing in the chorus and look after groups of children.
If you are interested in getting involved then you can get in touch with Rose or Laura for more information (email addresses above).
Performances: Friday 6 & Saturday 7 April 2pm & 6pm | The Borough Hall, Greenwich
Director: Harry Fehr
Musical Director: Christopher Stark
Designer: Lizzy Leech
Lighting Designer: Christopher Nairne
2017 Production: Paws and Padlocks
In April last year, we were thrilled to present a newly commissioned children's opera in celebration of the 5th year of this popular community opera programme. Paws and Padlocks has a score by Kate Whitley (co-founder of the Multi-Story Orchestra) and a libretto by Sabrina Mahfouz and tells the story of two children who mistakenly get locked in a zoo at midnight, where they discover talking animals and dastardly plans afoot.
The success of the childrens' opera productions not only rest with the actual singing and acting but also everything else that's needed with a large scale production such as staging, set design, costumes and lighting which are handled with equal care and creativity by those involved each year.
Below is an image of the fantastic set that was designed especially for the Paws and Padlocks performances together with some of the costume sketches
Podcasts about Paws and Padlocks
This year we were lucky enough to commission specially produced podcasts which followed the production from beginning to end including the story of the creation of the opera itself, first auditions, rehearsals and set design and build. You can listen to the the individual podcasts by clicking on the Soundcloud link below.
With huge thanks to the following for their support:
Arts Council England
The Ambache Charitable Trust
The Bernarr Rainbow Trust
The Hyne Trust
Lewisham Main Grants Fund
The Royal Victoria Hall Foundation
The Ralph Vaughan Williams Trust
And the Blackheath Halls Children's Opera Composer's Circle