Mighty Oaks Academy (2016)
In August 2016, our Learning & Participation team collaborated with Buckinghamshire Learning Trust Music on a week-long residency. Following workshops at Easter, our Youth Company of 44 singers linked up with 19 young players from BLMT to perform two contemporary opera works. The pieces by John Barber and Roxanna Panufnik were featured on the main stage at Wormsley for an invited audience on Friday 5 August.
The residency brought together young people from different backgrounds, giving them a high-quality experience that nurtered and fostered talent, and developed singing, dramatic and orchestral skills. The students had the opportunity to work with professional directors, vocal coaches and conductors.
Originally written for the Royal Opera House's Youth Opera Company, Mighty Oaks Academy is a 12-minute mini-opera composed by John Barber, with words by Denton Chikura.
Silver Birch Song - the opening chorus from the Roxanna Panufnik's opera Silver Birch - was also semi-staged as a taster for the People's Opera. Many performers on this project went on to perform in Silver Birch in Garsington Opera's 2017 Season, in which they appeared alongside professional artists.
In September 2016 the Youth Company was invited to perform Mighty Oaks Academy in the Out Loud Festival organised by the Royal Opera House, as part of a showcase featuring performances from the ROH and Glyndebourne Youth Companies.
The creative team was formed of Karen Gillingham (Director), Suzi Zumpe (Vocal Director) and Karin Hendrickson (Conductor).