Batley does Opera

(c) Charlotte Graham/Guzelian

What happens when people get involved in commissioning and creating new work? Something very special that brings a town together.

It’s nearly a year ago since the idea of bringing opera to Batley was first put forward, and on Tuesday 22nd March we were thrilled to present a special show, created through a partnership between Opera North and local choirs, schools and dance schools.

Our partnership with Batley Business Association seeded the idea to bring one of the region’s leading arts companies, to make a new piece of work with local performers. Over just four weeks, The Sarah Taylor School of Dance, The Batley Community Choir, Acorn Youth Theatre, and children from Batley Parish and Carlinghow Princess Royal Junior Schools, rehearsed with professionals from Opera North to create a short opera inspired by Donizetti’s ‘L’elisir d’amore’ (The Elixir of Love).

“You don’t associate Batley with Opera do you? but Batley used to be a very musical town. There was an orchestra, church choirs, amateur dramatics, lots of performances.”

As well as discovering opera – participants have seen how a show is made, learnt how to create and sing the songs – and gained new skills – street dancers have sung love songs, ballet dancers have developed librettos – and all have worked together to market the show, organise photo shoots and sell tickets. Bringing a whole range of folk together in this way, and making connections between groups in the area, has not only added to the creative mix, it’s sowing the seeds for collaborations and partnerships into the future.

(c) Charlotte Graham/Guzelian

(c) Charlotte Graham/Guzelian

We are looking to further develop our partnership with Opera North to create an even bigger event in Spring 2017. If you are a group, business, organisation or individual interested in getting involved please get in touch!

Follow the story of how Batley did Opera on our SceneMakers blog – nominated for this years UK blog awards.