Welcome to York Opera
York Opera is York’s leading amateur opera company. Each year we produce a number of operas, operettas and concerts, including some for charity. Our singers are from all over Yorkshire, and are occasionally even recruited internationally!
We sing for pleasure – of ourselves and our audiences – and to critical acclaim. Recent reviews have commented on both the quality of the performances and the enjoyment given to our audiences (see our past productions page).
We have recently had an article about the company and Nabucco published on the York Mix website.
Our Current Production
In April 2016 we will be performing a collection of staged opera extracts Tales of Disguise and Deception, in a style similar to April 2014's Tales of Love. This will be at the Guildhall in York on 27-29th April.
The operas featured will be Verdi's Falstaff, Donizetti's L'Elisir d'Amore, Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro, and Gilbert & Sullivan's Princess Ida. Rehearsals will start on 14th January at Lidgett Grove Methodist Church under the musical direction of Steve Griffiths.
There are many solo opportunities, and audition information is available here. Auditions are planned for Monday 1st and Wednesday 3rd February. There is also plenty of work for the chorus.
Sir Donald Barron RIP
On 1st January the sad news came that one of York Opera's longest-standing and most influential supporters, Sir Donald Barron, had died on 30th December 2015 at the age of 94. Along with holding many other positions of responsibility, he was one of the founders of the University of York, chairman of Rowntree-Mackintosh (forerunner to Nestle) and later chairman of the Midland Bank. He was thus a business leader of national and international repute. At the same time, Donald loved his adopted home city of York. He was intensely and happily committed to the development and sustainment of a whole range of practical, cultural and educational activities locally. As part of this commitment, along with his wife Gillian, he was a keen audience member at virtually every production and every performance that the company presented. His connections with us go back a long way, almost to our beginnings. As our former president, who withdrew from the position when his work nationally made greater demands on his time away from York, he then honoured us by remaining a loyal and generous vice-president. I also remember both Gillian and Donald thoroughly enjoying some of our after-show parties in the Stanley’s home in Fenwick’s Lane, Fulford, when I was chairman. His advice at around that period was also willingly given and certainly most appreciated whenever it was sought; for example when we were considering the move into the York Theatre Royal for the first time. As a fine and honourable man and a loyal friend to many, Donald will be long remembered but also sorely missed by all who knew him. I have written to Gillian expressing York Opera’s sincerest condolences.
In December we performed:
Amahl and the Night Visitors (Gian Carlo Menotti) – one night in Judea, a disabled shepherd boy-turned-beggar and his mother are visited by three strangers. They are the Three Kings, and they are on their way to Bethlehem to visit the Christ Child, who has just been born.
The First Nowell – a nativity play by Vaughan Williams, incorporating arrangements of many traditional English carols.
Photos from the Dress rehearsal can be found here.
Some of the soloists and ensemble members from An Operatic Grand Tour.
In the autumn we performed An Operatic Grand Tour, a concert touring around the countries of Europe.
A review of the concert has been published by York Press and is available www.yorkpress.co.uk.
In May 2015 we returned to the Joseph Rowntree Theatre for Johann Strauss II's ever-popular operetta Die Fledermaus. With Derek Chivers joining us again as Musical Director, and Lucy Thomson-Smith as Stage Director, this was an enchanting evening's entertainment.
A review of the production has been published by York Press and is available here.
We are pleased that Sir Thomas Allen is the patron of York Opera. You can read all about this distinguished singer here.