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Arhive - Dorset Opera Summer 2012
Having been firmly secured on the opera map for the past 38 years, the world's foremost residential opera summer school returns this July with an exciting line-up of Verdi's Il Trovatore, accompanied by a double bill consisting of Puccini's Suor Angelica and the UK Stage premiere of Lord Berner's Le Carrosse du Saint-Sacrement. We got in touch with Dorset Opera recently to find out more about their highly acclaimed festival and the work that they do with and for young and aspiring opera singers:
StudentSinger: When directing the two week summer programme, what do you hope young singers who participate in the course will gain from working intensively on productions, with the assistance of experienced opera professionals?
DorsetOpera: Every year we ask participants on the course about their experiences and what they value. Many think that the ability to work closely with international opera singers and producers is an experience they are unlikely to be able to replicate until possibly their final year at music school studying opera. This view is confirmed by the older students. Last year for instance young singers had the chance of working on a production with amongst others Ian Storey who has recently sung at La Scala and the Metropolitan Opera.
SS: There is so much for young singers to learn from simply observing a more experienced and developed singer (and indeed conductors and directors). Is this something that you encourage during the course at Dorset Opera?
DO: This is very much encouraged but it is not just the facility to observe experienced singers but the fact that the chorus master is a top class professional. They also have the chance to see professional directors and conductors at work. Again, many have an international reputation and have conducted in many opera houses. No other opera course for young singers offers this range of experience and exposure to top class talent. On occasions a soloist may give the whole chorus a short masterclass.
SS: What is it that you look out for in young singers on the course that would make you want to hear/see more of what they can do as a performer?
DO: We offer singers the opportunity for an audition with the Artistic Director and Chorus Master who are able to give young singers advice on how to proceed if they wish to become professional.
SS: Do you think that enough is done to educate singers in how to prepare for the extremely tough and competitive environment of the opera world? Or is this simply to be accepted as part of the challenge in forging a successful career in opera?
DO: We think it is important that young singers do understand the challenges in making a career in opera. The course gives the opportunity to meet professionals and gain an understanding of what it has taken for them to reach the position they now hold in the opera world.
SS: In opera today, companies and opera houses globally are frequently introducing methods of reaching out to a wider audience and attempting to quash the mindset that opera is an elitist art form. Do you agree with this approach and do you think these efforts are having the desired effect? In what way does Dorset Opera work to reach out to a wider audience and particularly engage a younger generation? (Do you have thoughts on what more could be done to keep opera interesting and thriving for future generations?)
DO: At Dorset Opera we are very conscious of an obligation to reach as wide an audience as possible. Unfortunately as we do not get any significant public subsidy our ability to do this by way of reduced seat prices is severely hampered. We do invite schools and young people to attend a dress rehearsal and we often have a children’s chorus which introduces the children to opera at a young age. When funding allows we have also run Opera Education days at local schools with the full assistance of the school’s music department.
SS: What do you hope singers will take away from the intensive two week course with Dorset Opera?
DO: People will take different things away from the course but fundamentally we hope that they will enjoy it. The course is not just about singing but also about making new friends and enjoying the magnificent surroundings of Bryanston. Many course members tell us that they found the course to be a life changing experience and many come back to us for several years until employment or other pressures mean they can no longer do so.
The Dorset Opera Summer School has now taken place for 2012. To contact Dorset Opera directly, and for further information on the 2013 course (which will run during the last two weeks of July 2013) simply submit your details via this link: https://www.formstack.com/forms/?1168674-8VLNfHr9nh
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