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Project information

British Youth Opera Summer Season 2016

BYO’s Annual Summer Seasons offer coaching, training and mentoring to young singers, musicians, artistic and technical trainees through the process of rehearsing and performing in professionally-staged opera productions.

July 2016 - September 2016

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 singers and other young opera professionals.


    » » January - February: Singers will be selected in a two-stage audition process during (which receives around 400 applicants each year).
    » » March - June: Artistic, technical and production trainees will be selected by a process of interviews and auditions.
    » » July - August: Intensive coaching is provided for all participants for up to 8 hours a day, 6 days a week during rehearsals.
    » September: A week of public performances in a major London theatre (also attended by opera critics, agents and casting agents!).

    What success will look like

    Success will be demonstrated by public performances, reviews in the national press and, most importantly, feedback from participants.

  • Impact


    The long-term success of BYO's activities is demonstrated by the future success of participants.

    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: £134,664

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £41,063 Coaching & Rehearsal rooms Performance and rehearsal venues and facilities
      £31,700 Professional coaching By experienced professional creative and production teams
      £25,580 Accommodation & Welfare Contributions towards singers' and trainees' costs of living
      £22,301 Music Including Orchestra, pianos and performance rights
      £14,020 Production Costs Sets, costumes and props
  • 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 London, 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.

    Dame Felicity Lott DBE

    President of British Youth Opera since 2012, Dame Felicity Lott is one of most renowned and admired sopranos of her generation.

    Stuart Barker

    Director of Training and Productions since 2014, Stuart Barker is an opera director who has been involved in BYO's training activities since 1999.

    Lionel Friend

    Music Director since January 2015, Lionel Friend has over 40 years experience at the highest level of training and conducting at home and abroad.