A fifteen-minute opera is coming to a venue near you

Published: Wednesday 6th December 2017 by Courtney Farrow

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Hull Urban Opera is a brand new operatic collective, striving to make the art more accessible.

Six bite-size festive shows will take place at various venues this week to introduce audiences across Hull to their work.

We caught up with its Artistic Director, Russell Plows, to find out more.

Hull Urban Opera is fairly young, can you tell us about some of the exciting work you’ll be performing in the months to come?

Hull Urban Opera is going to be about producing operas that people might not necessarily know. We want to showcase new work and collaborate with particular groups in Hull so that the pieces are deeply rooted in the community.

We also want to take opera away from traditional venues, using spaces where new audiences can easily access the performances.

For example, in the new year we’re looking to do Medea, a piece about a wedding that causes a lot of problems, and eventually a murder. We’re hoping to do this inside a church – maybe Hull Minster. Meanwhile, we would place Julietta, an opera about a man who chooses to fall asleep forever to live in his dreams, in a dormitory.

We are inviting people into spaces where there are no expectations, to create a general excitement and buzz around the work.

Will the performances this week reflect this?

Definitely. This is a taster session to give people a flavour of what is to come. We are hosting six 15-minute operas at three venues: Holy Apostles Church, Trinity Methodist Church and The Brain Jar.

The piece is modern, but not particularly difficult. It’s based on a three-page ghost story by Rosemary Timperley. It’s a tale of the unexpected. Rather than spooky, I would say it’s about something impossible happening. Two people meet and a sweet, heartwarming thing happens.

We thought the idea of a ghost story at Christmas was quite appealing. Each venue is quite sympathetic to the piece as it only involves two people and a chair. We chose places where new audiences might go. The Brain Jar is sure to attract a younger crowd and the two churches will capture local communities and families.

Do you think opera is for everyone?

No, I don’t. Why should everyone like everything? There will be people out there who have seen really good opera, but it just didn’t do it for them.

The key thing we want to address is the fact that there are many people out there who may really love opera, but never thought to try it, or didn’t have the chance to. Hull Urban Opera makes opera accessible and affordable.

At the end of the day, we all started somewhere. Many people I know can remember the specific piece that transformed their lives and first got them into opera.

You can catch the shows every evening at various venues until Friday 8 December. For more information, please visit the Hull 2017 website. Meanwhile, find out more about Hull Urban Opera.

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Published: Wednesday 6th December 2017 by Courtney Farrow

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