Opera Training for Singers in the UK:
How should it evolve to meet the changing needs of the profession?
A report commissioned by the National Opera Studio
In December 2015, the National Opera Studio (NOS) commissioned a report into Opera Training in the UK, a project funded by Arts Council England and Help Musicians UK. We felt it was important to take an extensive look at the entire ecology of opera talent development, particularly with regard to singers, and to ask how we, as well as other UK-based opera training organisations, could adapt to meet the future needs of our changing profession. We wanted to look at how the training sector could evolve and act as a catalyst for change, and to explore how the NOS and other opera training grounds can best deliver the pool of talent that the profession needs, both for opera companies in the UK and for the benefit of exporting British and UK-trained talent abroad.
Graham Devlin Associates were engaged to write the report, and we are grateful to them for the way in which they carried out their research and for the deep consideration and commitment they showed to this subject. As well as making numerous specific recommendations, the report presents the opportunity for our sector to respond together to some of the major themes that affect training today.
On 12 September 2016 the NOS brought many of the contributors to this report together for a discussion based on the findings in order to chart a way forward and lead to collaborative action. Over 80 people came to this event, representing a wide range of voices: senior staff of all the major UK opera companies and conservatoires, funders, other opera training organisations, artistic and executive heads of many mid-and small-scale opera companies, agents, directors, composers, singing teachers, conductors and, of course, singers. The afternoon was about debate, ideas and commitment to action, and has already inspired numerous conversations at a number of levels. We intend to hold further forums in coming months to take these actions further, and to engage others within the sector.
We would like to thank all contributors to the report and those who responded to our online survey, which forms part of the report’s appendix. We are aware that there are still many people who we did not manage to consult, and we hope that this report will provide a springboard for wider discussion and action.
It is the right time for those who care about the future of opera – both its stewardship and its evolution – to be working together; asking what we can all do – together and as individuals – to shore up our future and ensure its ongoing resilience, relevance and success.
National Opera Studio
National Opera Studio
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