Young people in collaboration with Cambridge Youth Opera, worked in small groups with mentors for six weeks to produce their own work, based on any aspect of opera that interested them, before presenting to everyone in a final workshop. Each group produced vignettes, a personal and moving response to the pandemic, exploring the different reactions to lockdown and individuals' unique stories.
Everything Stopped Score by Cambridge Youth OperaArts Council England
These talented young composers and writers are aged between 14 and 18 years old. When combined, their vignettes reflect the journey from the beginning of lockdown, through the darkest days of the pandemic, and ending on a note of hope with the final piece.
Overture by Annie Qosja.
Vignettes of Lockdown: Overture by Annie - Cambridge Youth OperaArts Council England
At last, my sign
Performed by Rachel.
At last, my sign by Lyrics by Annie, Music by Garrett, Performed by Rachel - Cambridge Youth OperaArts Council England
Performed by Sarah.
On Pause by Lyrics by Sarah, Music by Anna, Performed by Sarah - Cambridge Youth OperaArts Council England
Performed by Rachel and Sarah.
The Moon by Lyrics by Garrett, Music by Rachel, Performed by Rachel and Sarah - Cambridge Youth OperaArts Council England
Performed by Anna.
Hospital by Lyrics by Garrett, Music by Garrett, Performed by Anna - Cambridge Youth OperaArts Council England
Performed by Garrett and Isabella.
Meet Again by Lyrics by Garrett, Music by Garrett, Performed by Garrett and Isabella - Cambridge Youth OperaArts Council England
One group of young people, aged 11-13, narrated a dance piece, telling the inspiring story of a young phoenix who discovers courage. The group developed the story line, musical motifs, choreography and designs, some of which you can see displayed here.
The Phoenix by Story by Catherine, Narrated and sung by Catherine and Tove, Musical motifs by Sebastian and Yahel, Choreography and Dance by Alex, Design by Tove - Cambridge Youth OperaArts Council England
One group set out to introduce a new genre: the Zopera! In a family Zoom call reimagined, a cast of recognisable characters interact on a family call at the height of lockdown. The words and music were all conceived and created by young people aged 12-15.
The Zopera by Written and composed in collaboration by Anna, Joanna, Rianna and Scarlett - Cambridge Youth OperaArts Council England
Peter and the Bear
Some young people came up with their own opera ideas such as Peter and the Bear. They created a story line for the production, a piece of music, and even a set design. On the next slide, one of the participants, Quinn, explains how Peter and the Bear was created.
"This opera began with a game where we asked each member (age 11 – 13) to say a word to create ridiculous sentences. Ours were, spaghetti; Peter; a bear; a wizard; and a river! Our main themes were trust and honesty, subjects we all felt strongly about. To have created an Opera has been thrilling - I can’t wait to write our next one!"
Set design: Peter and the Bear by Quinn - Cambridge Youth OperaArts Council England
Peter and the Bear Libretto plan by Created in a collaboration between Morenike, Quinn, Rufus, Vadim and Zac - Cambridge Youth OperaArts Council England
Another group, aged 13-17, focused on direction and design and created a concept, set and costume designs for a production of Don Giovanni. Set in 1950s Hollywood, in a world of powerful producers and the women they exploited and discarded.
Design for Don Giovanni's Hollywood Mansion by Georgia - Cambridge Youth OperaArts Council England
Storyboard for the final scene of Don Giovanni by Fleur - Cambridge Youth OperaArts Council England
Poppy and Georgia designed costumes for the production. Below they describe their inspirations and creative process.
“Donna Elvira retains the appearance of power, cunning/worldliness, sophistication. She is like Bette Davis or Joan Crawford. I thought of her as a less extreme version of Norma Desmond (Sunset Boulevard).”
- Poppy and Georgia
Character and costume concepts: Donna Elvira by Poppy, Georgia - Cambridge Youth OperaArts Council England
“The dark red smoking jacket is the key costume piece, as it has a sleazy feel to it, as well as being quite flamboyant. The colour can often symbolize evil and lust, as well as looking very luxurious. This is paired with black tuxedo trousers with satin strips down the sides as this also adds to the smart and expensive feel to the costume.”
Poppy and Georgia
Character and costume concepts: Don Giovanni by Poppy, Georgia - Cambridge Youth OperaArts Council England
Cambridge Youth Opera broadens the creative horizons of young people through opera. They work with young people to create age appropriate productions to the highest possible standard. Activities include everything that goes to make up an opera, onstage and backstage. You don’t need to know anything about opera to join, but what you find out might surprise you! Open for everybody. No charge for participation.