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Project information

British Youth Opera 26th Annual Summer Season

BYO’s 26th Annual Summer Season in 2013 will offer coaching, training and mentoring to more than 100 young singers, musicians, artistic and technical trainees throughout the process of rehearsing and producing two professionally-staged operas.

January 2013 - September 2013

Charity information: British Youth Opera

British Youth Opera logo
  • Need


    Opera is a particularly demanding artform, requiring expertise and experience in many disciplines and rigorous artistic standards. Talented young individuals therefore need careful training and coaching if they are to realise their potential and excel in this challenging field. The transition between formal education (for example, at music colleges) and a professional opera career can be a difficult one, with very few opportunities to gain experience in supportive environments.


    Our training programmes provide participants with invaluable experience of working in a professional opera company beyond their usual previous background of undergraduate music education and postgraduate opera courses and productions. Essential to these programmes is the provision of sufficient time, resources and guidance to allow them to experience a supportive, stimulating and professional environment before entering a profession in which the pressures on performers can be intense.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Provide coaching and training for more than 100 participants in two new opera productions.


    » Singers will be selected in a two-stage audition process during January and February 2013 (which receives around 450 applicants annually).
    » Artistic and technical trainees will be selected by a process of interviews and auditions between March and June 2013.
    » Coaching for all participants will be provided during rehearsals for two fully-staged operas during in July and August 2013.
    » A week of performances will take place in the Peacock Theatre, London, in September 2013.

    What success will look like

    As well as offering invaluable experience, BYO's productions are attended by over 200 members of the press and opera professions, acting as a stepping stone for participants.

  • Impact


    Former BYO participants fill every corner of operatic life in this country, with former participants including English National Opera's Music Director Edward Gardner (BYO Assistant Conductor 1998), 1995 Cardiff Singer of the World Katarina Karnéus (BYO understudy 1990 and principal 1993), and hundreds of other singers, musicians, artistic and technical opera professionals.


    The main risk to any opera production is illness or injury of singers or the production team. BYO Summer Seasons deal with this risk by including coaching for full understudy casts, creative and technical teams, including singers, conductors, directors, designers, lighting designers, wardrobe assistants and stage management.


    BYO's donors will receive advance information on repertoire and casting, plus updates during the Summer Season, and in some cases the opportunity to meet the participants during rehearsals and after performances.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £301,500

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £62,000 Professional coaching By experienced professional creative and production teams
      £56,500 Accommodation and welfare Contributions towards singers' and trainees' costs of living
      £56,500 Coaching facilities Performance and rehearsal venues and facilities
      £56,500 Music Including orchestra, pianos and music
      £44,500 Production Sets, costumes and props
      £25,500 Technical Team Professional venue, lighting and technical team

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Arts Council England (National Portfolio Funding) £43,349 Guaranteed
    Trusts and Foundations £93,000 Conditional
    The Big Give Christmas Challenge £60,000 Conditional
    Other donors and sponsors £56,000 Conditional
    Fundraising events £51,500 Conditional
    Box office income £41,000 Conditional
  • Background


    Auditions take place in London, Birmingham, Cardiff, Glasgow and Manchester. Coaching and rehearsals take place in various locations in London, including facilities provided by BYO's main sponsor, London South Bank University. Performances take place in Sadler's Wells' Peacock Theatre, in association with Britain's leading orchestral academy for young professional musicians, Southbank Sinfonia.


    The main beneficiaries of BYO’s activities are the participants: young singers, musicians, conductors, directors, designers, repetiteurs, stage managers, lighting designers and wardrobe assistants. The secondary beneficiaries of BYO’s Summer Season are its audiences. The public performances at the end of the Summer Season are attended by more than 2,500 people and tickets are priced at low levels compared with other professional opera companies.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    British Youth Opera was founded in 1987 to provide professional rehearsal and performance opportunities for emerging singers, musicians and technical trainees on the threshold of their careers. It is now regarded as one of the country’s foremost opera training companies and works to provide the very best professional development for its participants. In addition to the Summer Season, BYO also runs annual programmes of workshops, masterclasses and performances for young singers.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    HRH The Prince Of Wales

    Patron of British Youth Opera since 2000.

    Sir Thomas Allen CBE

    President of British Youth Opera since 2001, Thomas Allen is one of most renowned and admired baritones of his generation.

    Peter Robinson

    Artistic Director since 2006, Peter Robinson conducts major opera companies around the world and coaches young singers in the UK's conservatoires.

    Ivan Rockey

    Executive Director since 2009, Ivan Rockey has 16 years' experience of management and fundraising for national and international arts organisations.

BYO's production of Le nozze di Figaro, 2011