Lockdown Aria

Storytelling is at the very heart of the English National Opera. This summer they called upon young people across the country to help create a new aria.

By Arts Council England

So, what is an aria?

An aria is when a single character shares their inner emotional world and thoughts with the audience in a song. 

Using the starting point, The Way I See It, English National Opera challenged young people to make their very own aria.

Photo by Nahiyan by NahiyanArts Council England

"Lockdown Aria" by Kieron

"Although life in lockdown is very much a shared experience, each individual's perspective during this unprecedented time will differ. Drawing on a rich tapestry of lockdown arias, I created a poetic response weaving together common themes and experiences."

Lockdown Aria by KieronArts Council England

"The Way I See It" by Namih

"My piece is aimed to calm those who are afraid, to encourage people to take some distance and see the bigger picture, to show that there is a better future, painted at our will and that each one of us is important individually (but united, an unbreakable force)."

The Way I See It by NamihArts Council England

"Human" by Naomi

"Despite the horrors, this time has given us the chance to reflect, learn and congregate to promote compassion. These positive responses to a global crisis demonstrate the resilience of the human spirit, and highlights our need for contact, social time and tenderness."

Human by NaomiArts Council England

"Spots and Stripes" by Louis

Louis's work explores the internal struggle lockdown has forced us into. The subject is depicted with greasy hair, acne and crooked teeth showing how this struggle manifested itself externally, whilst a nauseating green dominates the space.  

Spots and Stripes by LouisArts Council England

"Two Metre Chats" by Anna

"My piece focuses on how lockdown impacted young people with divorced parents and the silent pain suffered by not being able to hug and come close to each other, furthermore it explores the feelings involved when those parents are clinically at risk. My family called these two metre chats."

1, Anna, 2020-08-30, From the collection of: Arts Council England
3, Anna, 2020-08-30, From the collection of: Arts Council England
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4, Anna, 2020-08-30, From the collection of: Arts Council England
5, Anna, 2020-08-30, From the collection of: Arts Council England
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"Talking to the Walls" by Charli

"During lockdown, I wrote "Fallen," a biopic musical partly about Isaac Newton, who self-isolated during the plague of 1666. We both found solace in our isolation, 300 years apart. Newton reportedly ended up 'talking to the walls' during his isolation."

Talking to the Walls by CharliArts Council England

"The Fall of the Leaves" by Eliana

"Leaves falling represent many things: those who have lost their job, students who lost valuable time in lessons and spending time with friends or family members. I chose to represent the idea of loss with leaves - as they grow back with time and sunlight."

The Fall of the Leaves by ElainaArts Council England

"Hindsight is 2020" by Zabrina

1, Zabrina, 2020-08-30, From the collection of: Arts Council England
2, Zabrina, 2020-08-30, From the collection of: Arts Council England
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"This year, more than ever before, I felt the necessity of taking the reins of my own experience. Routine and stability were disrupted; foundational regulations dismantled. For a brief moment, being alive seemed of sole importance. This is a reminder, not to play around with the time we have left. This poem exists on my phone as a reminder. A promise to live life and feast to the fullest; not knowing how to grow until I do."

5 by ZabrinaArts Council England

3, Zabrina, 2020-08-30, From the collection of: Arts Council England
4, Zabrina, 2020-08-30, From the collection of: Arts Council England
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"What Do You Think?" by Sebastian

"Whilst many things were on hold, many things were also growing. Big events like Black Lives Matter have changed our world and forced us to rethink fairness and equality. It has made me think about how we now have a chance and duty to improve our world for all." 

What Do You Think by SebastianArts Council England

"The Way I See It" by Mary-Ellen

"For this aria, I was inspired by the positive changes I see coming out of this period of crisis."

The Way I See It by Mary-EllenArts Council England

"Utopia" by Kaspar

"I created this moodboard to express how I’ve experienced lockdown and to explore how people have changed and morphed into something different because of the situation. These images show tomatoes that are twisted, weird and don’t look like normal, but are different and unique. They change and adapt to the situation. This is my interpretation of lockdown: that even through difficult times everyone is adapting to the situation that they are put in, to become a better version of themselves."

Utopia by KasparArts Council England

"The Light of Hope Tomorrow" by Nahiyan

"These turbulent times are filled with pain, loss and sorrow, which we cannot push aside. However, that darkness should not eclipse the adaptability and resolve that our generation has shown. The way I see it, we are paving the way for the light to shine tomorrow."

The Light of Hope Tomorrow by NahiyanArts Council England

Credits: Story

English National Opera is the national opera company dedicated to one simple aim: making opera for everyone. We sing in English to be as accessible to the widest possible audience, as well as offering tickets for as little as ten pounds (or for free if you are under 18). We create opera that feels different, more theatrical and creatively daring, and we’ve been doing this to an internationally recognised standard since being founded in 1931.
We are determined to open up the genre: nearly half of our audiences in the 2018/19 season were first-time bookers and this season more than 10% of our bookings have been by under 30s. Our learning and participation programme, ENO Baylis, provides a range of opportunities for schools, young people and communities to access the arts and develop their creativity, reaching more than 20,000 people a year in London and nationally.
ENO is about opera for everyone.

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The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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